Healthcare companies face many struggles, one of which is the lack of unified communication with patients. The ability to connect with them remotely or on-site has increased in importance. It is particularly true for the technology that allows healthcare enterprises to perform one of the basic functions – scheduling.
Well-organized software helping you with scheduling appointments can minimize missed appointments and maximize the overall efficiency in delivering services. One simple tool can provide you with plenty of detailed and analytical information, reduce workload, and aid your office staff in scheduling patients for doctors’ appointments practically and efficiently.
Although it is not the universal software that will solve all your problems, it is an innovative technology solution that will definitely impact your organization, specifically how you deliver healthcare services.
In this article, you will learn more about minimizing patients’ waiting time and keeping them satisfied so that they continue using your services.
Managing Workflow With Patient Scheduling Software
Scheduling patients’ appointments takes up lots of time when done manually. These valuable hours spent on calling and rearranging time slots could be put to use to deal with other responsibilities. For example, patients attending your clinic have to stay in a queue until someone from the personnel finishes the call and only then assists those waiting. Patient scheduling software will bring it to an end.
Weave’s communication platform for medical practices is a tool with plenty of useful features that makes any job less demanding and your communication with clients much easier. Not only will you be able to connect clients and teams but also unify your multiple locations. Weave also excels in its security, and it keeps sensitive patient data protected and unaccessible by the third party. The same goes for payments for medical billing that can be done through the scheduling software.
More about the features below.
What Are the Ways of Scheduling Clients’ Appointments?
Weave makes patient scheduling workflow an effortless process for both clients and office staff. Moreover, it offers features that help gain new patients to your clinic and retain existing patients.
As for the healthcare organization, the office staff can instantly learn who is calling as the Weave platform shows patient information on the incoming call. Moreover, the caller’s patient portal shares the most important details you might need during the conversation, like, for example, the last scheduled appointment.
As for the client, they can enjoy a convenient application where they can book, pay, and chat with you in real-time. Even when a customer call is missed, it is still answered by the Weave’s tool automatically.
As you chat with your friends on the phone, you can do the same with your clients – it is quick, easy, and instant communication. Most customers prefer texting, probably because it doesn’t take any time when they are busy, gives time to think about relevant questions to ask, or simply because the information you send remains in the phone messages.
Weave also separates business and personal channels, so none of your staff will mistakenly send a private message to an important patient.
To boost patient satisfaction even further, a physician can send an appointment reminder, a follow-up, or a request to leave a review. Another very handy feature added to Weave is a missed call text. If for some reason, you are unable to pick up the call, the tool will automatically send a follow-up message and start a conversation.
Imagine you are busy with another client and cannot answer an incoming call. Weave’s customizable feature can send a message like “Hi, this is David from Perfect Vision. How can I help you?” or “Hello, this is Claire from the Podiatry Clinic. Are you ready for your next appointment?”
Just a small percentage of clients actually leave a voicemail, while the majority prefer to send a text message.
Weave lets you send an email to your clients. While appointment scheduling workflow goes smooth and hassle-free, sending emails with the latest promotions or questionnaires will help invite back existing clients. You can dive into email marketing and send great offers about a yearly check-up or limited discounts for a dental check-up. This feature will help you generate more revenue, but you can also utilize it to send updates or your newsletter.
Creating an email marketing campaign is a breeze with Weave. You can even find ready-made updates (patient scheduling template or COVID-19 update) that can be modified with your company’s data.
There is nothing as handy as a Web Assistant function. It promotes patient self-scheduling and allows clients to request a time slot by simply texting you. By replying to the message, an office manager can either confirm the date and hour or suggest an alternative.
What many people will appreciate in this feature is that you can access the tool from your smartphone so that you don’t have to rush to the office to check the messages. A convenient software within reach lets you manage self-scheduled appointments from anywhere.
The incoming calls on Weave display much more information than just a phone number. You can see the most important interactions based on the patient ID. Once the call is answered, you will see the last upcoming appointments and outstanding payments on the display. This brief information will help you in assisting a client faster.
Filling out the forms before meeting a doctor creates queues and prologues the waiting time, resulting in worsening the patient experience. A healthcare provider can instead use Weave’s electronic forms. Right after every appointment confirmation, a patient will be notified and sent an online form that needs to be completed before meeting a physical therapist.
Your staff can focus on performing their best practices and leave other matters to the software.
How Do You Schedule Patient Appointments Effectively?
Use Call Queues for Patients Who Prefer Phone Appointments
Telehealth appointments have gained great popularity during the pandemic. It is a great alternative to receive a doctor’s consultation online instead of visiting one, especially if the problem is common and can be treated with certain medication. Moreover, patient safety is of priority nowadays.
Your staff can use the same scheduling methods to arrange a call with a doctor for your clients. This way, they don’t have to wait long hours in the queue on-site.
Another possible option is calling straight to the doctor without making an appointment. Weave has a Call Queue feature that manages a high volume of calls at once and reduces the number of voicemails.
Use a Script for Scheduling Medical Appointments
Your office staff has to be prepared to arrange appointments quickly. To actually make it happen, a well-written script is helpful here. The script may vary if it is the new patient calling or an existing one. With the latter, you want your patient to engage in the conversation and potentially schedule a meeting with the doctor they liked the most.
Questions you may ask your new client:
- Would you prefer to try out our telehealth appointment before coming in physically?
- What day suits you the best to come in?
- Would you like to schedule a routine check-up?
With the new patients, there is limited information available, and there is only so much you can offer. The best your front desk can do is to convert a caller to a recurring patient.
Questions you may ask your existing client:
- Which physician do you usually see?
- When would you like to come in this week?
- Is tomorrow morning suitable for you?
It is important to have two-way communication between a front desk and a caller. To achieve it, though, the front desk has to introduce themselves nicely and start asking open questions. It is vital to establish trust with the person on the phone call by communicating longer than your staff would usually do. Instead of getting the appointment scheduled in the first 2 minutes, it is best to uncover more about the patient.
To get the conversation started, you can add to your script the following:
- Hello, this is Diane from Dental Care Clinic. How may I help you?
- When did you last meet your doctor?
- How did you hear about us?
Your staff can also ask follow-up questions about the injury a patient received or about what happened. Showing empathy is a nice way to convince a client you truly care about them. Thus, patient engagement is vital for your success.
Create a Medical Office Appointment Scheduling Template
For those clients that prefer to self-schedule appointments, you should create a clear and comprehensible medical appointment form. It is also a great feature present in Weave that many clients will appreciate.
The form has some basic yet vital information to fill out like:
- Contact details
You can further contact your client to learn the source of a problem or request a short description of what is bothering them. For every contact you create, you can add a short description of a problem.
Having the form online makes it easier to set reminders and make follow-up calls in the future.
What are the different appointment scheduling methods?
Office schedulers do their best to organize every appointment slot quickly and efficiently. However, reaching a patient sometimes can be challenging and therefore time-consuming. Instead, promote a self-scheduling method that minimizes the time on the phone and offers clients great flexibility.
Another method to take an appointment is via the phone or email – standard procedures where clients contact you directly, or vice versa.
What are the most common challenges and opportunities in patient appointment scheduling?
Some challenges that arise when scheduling patients include no-shows, cancellations, and no response. For tips on how to overcome these hurdles, check out these articles: How To Reduce No-Show Appointments In Your Healthcare Practice and A Guide to Improving Patient Flow in Hospitals and Outpatient Clinics.