5 Steps to Improve Patient Scheduling

Appointment scheduling on mobile device

As a healthcare provider, you know that scheduling patients is critical to your business but time-consuming for your staff. This challenge is compounded when your practice involves multiple offices, communities, or types of care. When scheduling hits snags, your team devotes even more time to setting up appointments. Everyone works harder, operations break down, and ultimately, you’re left with less ability to provide patients the care and service they deserve.

On the flip side, when scheduling runs smoothly across your entire practice, your team is more productive (and less likely to burn out), your practice is more successful, and, most importantly, your patients get the high-quality experience they come to you for.

So what’s the key to success? Scheduling software. If you have complex scheduling requirements or need to scale scheduling as you expand, you’ll benefit from the right technology to streamline appointments and increase network efficiency. Here are five steps you can take to level up scheduling at your practice.

1. Simplify scheduling for your patients

A common perception of healthcare offices is that they’re hard to reach, often subjecting patients to long hold or callback times. The result? Patients can become frustrated and even look for alternative providers, which means lost business for that practice.

When the tools to book an appointment at your multi-location office are in your clients’ hands, there’s far less need for staff to support during the scheduling process. The most effective technology helps patients book and manage their own appointments online. That frees up your team to focus on optimizing daily operations and gives patients the service they expect during visits.

Acuity Scheduling’s Enterprise plan integrates with your website so new and returning patients get an on-brand booking experience. They can easily view provider availability, book at their convenience, and receive email and text appointment notifications and reminders.

And when it comes time to pay, Acuity’s secure transactions, no-show protection, and flexible billing ensure that your office gets paid and your patients have payment options.

2. Collect important client info prior to their visit

It can be difficult to stay on schedule with appointments packed tightly into each day. One or two late patients, in-person new patient forms, or other circumstances can have a domino effect on the entire day’s schedule, causing longer wait times, rescheduling, and unhappy patients.

Fortunately, you can avoid these pitfalls by proactively gathering patient info during the scheduling process. Doing so keeps the in-office flow moving smoothly and saves the time required to fill out in-person forms.

The biggest benefits: patients get the care they need faster when they arrive and practitioners bank time to spend on unexpected (read: inevitable) delays. Win-win.

Booking software that provides customizable intake forms (like Acuity Scheduling’s Enterprise plan) helps you gather critical patient info before they even walk in your doors, including medical history, current medications and symptoms, allergies, and more. And all that patient data is conveniently stored in a single dashboard. Plus, it’s all HIPAA-compliant, so you and your patients know their privacy is protected.

3. Coordinate all your locations

Is your practice part of a larger healthcare provider with multiple locations, care types, and specialists? Scheduling software helps you cross-coordinate appointments so patients can book with the appropriate office and get optimized care. It also gives you access to all the calendars across locations and providers, which means all offices in your network can support each other and keep daily operations moving.

Say a patient needs to see a specialist at another location in your network. Scheduling software helps you view availability at other offices and offer appointment options for that patient in real time. In addition, if all providers at the patient’s nearest location are booked out, you can coordinate with the next closest locations to find alternatives and keep that patient from scheduling outside your network.

Acuity Scheduling’s Enterprise platform features a convenient dashboard that gives you visibility into all your network calendars and availability. Plus, with Acuity, it’s possible to add unlimited new calendars as your organization expands. Set staff permissions, customize availability settings, and even access reports that provide clear appointment metrics across locations.

If your network has unique scheduling needs and uses various tech to support operations, Acuity’s developer tools and APIs give you the power to create custom applications and sync unlimited calendars with existing systems.

4. Maintain HIPAA compliance

HIPAA (Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is one of the most important aspects of running a successful healthcare practice in the U.S. HIPAA’s strict requirements and potential government penalties for non-compliance mean you need a specialized system to safeguard sensitive patient info at every step of the scheduling process.

Acuity is HIPAA compliant, so you and your patients can be assured that while they’re enjoying a best-in-class booking experience, their data is safe.

5. Identify improvement opportunities with powerful metrics

If your health network features multiple locations and providers, you’re sitting on a trove of appointment data that can help you level up your practice. Access to those insights can help you pinpoint your most efficient providers and optimize day-to-day operations. You can leverage data to cross-collaborate among locations, share best practices, and bring all locations up to the same standard.

To do that, you need a scheduling platform with the capability to harness data across all your locations and turn it into actionable analytics. Acuity Scheduling’s Enterprise software puts organization-wide metrics in your hands with just a few clicks, giving you the ability to identify trends to improve the patient scheduling experience for both your clients and your team.

Scheduling software that works harder for you

With scheduling software that simplifies booking for your patients and staff, you’ll streamline your daily operations and create more time to give clients the best experience. Whether gathering important (and secure) client info pre-visit, syncing locations so every patient gets timely care, or leveraging data to identify improvement opportunities, you need a powerful platform that streamlines scheduling for your entire network.

Acuity does all that and more. Contact us today about our Enterprise scheduling software, or explore our other plans to see what’s right for you.


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