Scheduling is one of the simplest and most basic steps in the healthcare revenue cycle. But it is not any less important. As the first context of contact with the patient, it strongly affects the entire experience that a patient has with your healthcare service. A 2017 study by the University of Utah reports that 39% of patients surveyed considered scheduling a timely doctor appointment as the most important expectation they have from a healthcare service. That is not quite surprising when you consider the results of another study. In this one, more than 30 % of the patients under the study with an urgent medical problem reported that they were not able to schedule appointments on time.
So as a healthcare provider, the first constructive step towards enhancing the quality of care you provide and streamlining your revenue cycle is to improve your patient scheduling process. But how can you do that? Here are six ways that will surely make your scheduling process run as smoothly as a well-oiled machine!
1. Confirm appointments by text or email
When a patient misses his/her appointment, it is not only the patient who suffers the consequence but the physician’s office too. With staff having little time to recall patients from the waiting list, the precious time that the physician could have utilized to see a patient is lost in inactivity. This translates to a loss of revenue and goodwill. Confirming appointments through automated reminder calls and emails is a proven method to reduce the number of no-shows and late arrivals.
2. Enable Patients to Self-Schedule
Another way technology can help you prevent scheduling problems and save you time and money is by allowing scheduling through patient portals. Giving patients the flexibility of scheduling or rescheduling their appointments at a time convenient to them makes it more probable that they are on time.
3. Factor in urgent care requirements while scheduling appointments.
Whether you are using your staff or using scheduling software, factor in priorities while scheduling appointments. The time and attention that each patient needs differ according to their specific problems. Sometimes all a patient needs is a clarification that can be given through a phone consultation. A well-trained staff can assess the priority during the scheduling and allot appointments so that a patient needing urgent care is given an immediate slot.
4. Leverage the potential of data analytics
Data analytics has opened up unique solutions for problems in every industry and specialization and it could be very well explored for rectifying hitches in Patient scheduling too. Data from scheduling software or manual forms could be used to analyze trends and find out the reasons behind your practice’s scheduling inefficiencies.
5. Maintain a patient waiting list
No matter how organized your practice is and how well you make schedules, you cannot avoid last-minute cancellations and delays. A readily accessible waiting list can help you quickly notify everyone on the list about the open slot. This saves time that you spend on calling and helps you keep the patient flow steady.
6. Use an Automated Patient Recall System
Ensuring that your patients return for follow-ups and regular check-ups is an important part of your scheduling process. Automating this process ensures optimal utilization of your time, and contributes to better care and higher patient satisfaction
Efficiency in billing starts with efficiency in scheduling. A professional RCM service provider keeps in pace with the latest in billing software and technology and is better placed to heighten the efficiency of your scheduling process. If you are looking out for an RCM partner who ably supports you in all your revenue cycle functions including patient scheduling, reach out to us. Experienced teams at Rannsolve will ensure that your schedules are fuller, your revenues are more consistent and most of all, that your patients are more satisfied!