Patients waiting in a doctor office because of appointment reminders and waitlist software

7 Best Practices for Patient Scheduling

Whether you're working in a busy hospital or running a small private practice, an effective scheduling system is important for patient and provider satisfaction alike. A well-run schedule allows each patient to feel heard, without healthcare providers burning out. A poorly managed one can leave clients feeling neglected or dissatisfied, while healthcare providers barely have time to catch their breath. In this article, learn about some of the best practices that can make patient scheduling more efficient.

8 Tips for More Efficient Patient Scheduling

Personalize Your Patient Outreach

Whether they're attending a major hospital or stopping into a family practice for a routine checkup, patients want to feel like they're not just a number in your system. Personalizing your patient outreach goes a long way in making them feel like you care about their wellbeing. When your office reaches out with appointment reminders or to confirm appointments, your messaging should adopt an accommodating, reassuring tone that lets patients know you care and are there to help them.

Follow-Up After Patient Appointments

Another way to increase patient satisfaction and make patients feel cared for is by implementing an automated follow-up message after a scheduled visit. Whether you send this follow-up via email, phone, or text, this is a great way to touch base with patients after they've seen a healthcare provider, making sure they're doing well and seeing if they have any questions. Even if they don't, they'll appreciate the attentive approach that your practice takes.

Collect Data to Refine an Efficient Scheduling System

No practice runs quite the same way, so while some general best practices apply, it's also important to collect data on your practice. With data like patient visit duration, peak visit times, and other appointment data, you can begin identifying issues that might lead to appointment delays and bottlenecks. You can also collect patient feedback using online surveys to gauge how the patient scheduling process might be affecting client satisfaction. With these metrics at your disposal, you can find the problem areas that might be holding your practice back when it comes to your patient scheduling system.

Put the Power of Waitlists to Work

Even with a robust appointment scheduling system and appointment reminders for patients, missed appointments are an inevitability--patients may come down sick, or be unable to make it into your office because of transportation issues. When they happen, you can keep your schedule full by utilizing a waitlist function in your appointment reminder software. Patients who are scheduled for similar appointments will be notified via text about the new opening. The first to respond claims the open appointment, and other patients on the waitlist are notified that it has been filled. Not only does a waitlist function help you cover missed appointments that would translate to missed revenue, but patients will also be happy to see their healthcare providers before their scheduled appointments.

Go Digital With Patient Scheduling

Patient satisfaction hinges on a lot of factors, but your office's accessibility via new technology can be a major reason patients like (or dislike) visiting. If you're utilizing digital tools that make your patients' lives easier, you can be sure they'll be grateful. For example, sending new patient forms via text is a quick, easy way to keep patient scheduling running smoothly, without being too intrusive for your patients. You may also consider implementing an online scheduling feature, or letting patients check-in online for their appointments--anything you can do to make the patient journey smoother and more enjoyable.

Use Appointment Reminders for Patient Appointment Scheduling

One of the most powerful ways you can use digital tools to your advantage is by sending appointment reminders via phone, email, and text. With the right software service, you can automate this process, reducing the burden of administrative tasks while improving patient outcomes. Appointment reminders are shown to reduce no shows and make it easier for patients to remember upcoming appointments. When patients remember their scheduled appointments and show up on time, it contributes to more efficient scheduling.

Implement a Cancellation Policy

If reminder messages aren't enough to prevent habitual no shows and missed appointments, consider implementing a missed appointment fee. While no one likes paying a penalty for a missed appointment, this incentive can help clients take their patient visits more seriously, and lowers the likelihood that they'll decide to cancel last minute.

Improve Your Patient Scheduling With Reminderly

Automating patient outreach is easy with Reminderly. Send scheduled appointment reminders via text, phone, and email, track response rates, gather patient feedback, run a waitlist, and more, all from one intuitive platform. To see how Reminderly can integrate with your patient scheduling system, visit us online or sign up for our free two week trial.

Get started today

Begin your 14 day trial and access all of Reminderly’s products.
Start your free trial