Be Efficient: 9 Ways to Improve Patient Scheduling

Clearstep Media
Clearstep Team

Better patient scheduling leads to satisfied patients, streamlined workflows, and a reduced administrative burden for your staff.

Without an efficient patient scheduling system, day-to-day tasks become a waste of time and resources, disrupting clinical workflows.

The solution?

Optimizing your patient scheduling and staff’s productivity can reduce patient wait times, no-shows, and cancellations, bringing your organization more revenue-generating patients and less hassle.

Related: Tips to Improve Patient Flow

9 Ways to Improve Patient Scheduling, Today

While there’s no fool-proof way to achieve the perfect scheduling balance, there are some ways to improve your patient scheduling:

Collect Data to Define Trends and Look for Opportunities

One of the best ways to find potential problems and inefficiencies in your patient scheduling system is to collect data and analyze trends. Doing so can help you discover gaps that are causing bottlenecks, workflow issues in your scheduling, etc.

Using scheduling software that generates reports for your organization can give you a better look at what’s working (and what’s not) in your scheduling processes.

You can look at these reports to identify trends that are contributing to your patients’ no-shows and cancellations to make any necessary adjustments, reducing those negative events.

Use a Self-Scheduling System

It’s essential for healthcare organizations to let their patients conveniently schedule appointments through user-friendly portals and apps. It makes your scheduling process easier, frees up staff from administrative services, and increases patient satisfaction.

Appointment scheduling software easily integrates with our Smart Care Routing™ products. Patient-consumers can conveniently check their symptoms, receive recommendations for the best next steps for care and then search for and schedule appointments online from anywhere without worrying about phone calls or long wait times.

Self-scheduling systems can integrate into your current tech stack to automate clinical workflows, schedule follow-ups, cancel and reschedule appointments, and more to reduce your staff’s admin work.

Establish a Waiting List to Replace Cancellations

Because cancellations and no-shows are inevitable, healthcare organizations need to find ways to reduce their negative impact. One solution is to create a waiting list of patients who would like to get in as soon as possible so they can fill any spots that suddenly become available.

You can either send messages to the patients on your waitlist to notify them of the available time and ask them if they want to schedule for that slot, or you can use a third-party service to manage your scheduling and waitlist.

Both options can free up your staff’s time and help reduce the number of unscheduled time slots.

Send Broadcast Messages

Using broadcast messages within your healthcare organization can save your staff hours of their time while helping reduce scheduling issues with your patients.

For example, if a situation occurs and you need to cancel or reschedule multiple patient appointments, you can send broadcast messages to everyone affected instead of calling each one individually.

Or if your patients might experience delays getting to their appointments (inclement weather, road construction, etc.), you can also send messages to let them know it might take longer than usual for them to arrive at your facility.

Related: Online Appointment Scheduling: Benefits for Health Systems

Use a Referral Appointment System

When your medical facility receives referral after referral, your staff gets stuck with the task of calling each of those patients individually, negatively impacting your bottom line and their productivity.

You can improve this aspect of your patient scheduling process by using a system to automatically send messages to confirm appointments with those referred patients.

These systems can also send automated appointment reminders, reducing no-shows and improving your communication by freeing time for your staff to focus on patient care rather than admin work.

Organize and Prioritize Appointments

Best practices dictate that healthcare facilities should prioritize their patient schedules by factors like the level of care they need and how long they’ll have to visit with their provider.

Online patient scheduling allows you to create forms for your patients to fill out and provide information about why they’re booking an appointment. This information gives your staff a better idea of what they will require so that they can organize and prioritize patients more efficiently.

It also allows your organization to resolve more simple diagnoses without needing to create an appointment.

Establish an Automated Reminder System

No-shows aren’t uncommon, and they can have negative impacts on your healthcare organization. By establishing an automated reminder system to text or call patients prior to their appointments, you can reduce the number of people who miss their appointment.

You can also set up these systems to allow patients to cancel or reschedule by responding directly to the reminder.

You should include your rescheduling and cancellation policies in these reminders to ensure your patients understand what will happen if they miss their appointment without giving notice during a specific time.

Automate Routine Responses

Addressing every patient’s query is essential; however, the front desk staff should be able to answer the most common questions without involving the providers.

By using advanced patient scheduling systems, it’s easy to send automated responses to routine questions, like confirming, canceling, and rescheduling appointments.

These automated responses let your patients get immediate answers to easy questions, improving their experience while enhancing the efficiency of your staff.

Use AI-Enabled Technology

Using AI healthcare technology like Clearstep can save your staff a significant amount of time and improve your patient’s overall experience.

This allows your patients to check their symptoms, see their options, compare providers, and book their appointment from anywhere without burdening your staff.

From their first symptom to scheduling their appointment, follow-ups, and remote monitoring, AI-enabled solutions are one of the best ways for healthcare organizations to improve their patient scheduling practices.

Related: Steps to Get More Patients

Implement Better Patient Scheduling With Clearstep

There’s a reason why leading healthcare institutions trust our Smart Care Routing™ solutions:

  • Reduce your staff burden and burnout
  • Cut down on unnecessary admin tasks by 50%
  • Increase online booking by 10x
  • Integrate with your existing databases: EMR, scheduling, inventory, facility, provider, etc.
  • Answer simple patient questions and send automated responses with AI chat
  • Personalize the experience for each patient

Finding the perfect balance between providing the best quality of care and optimizing your team’s productivity can be challenging—but it can be easier with Clearstep.

Ready to start improving your patient scheduling today? Book your personalized demo to see how we can help.

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