How To Schedule Patients Effectively: Medical Appointment Scheduling Guidelines

Doctor Writing On A Paper

Medical Appointment Scheduling guidelines were created to help medical providers, including primary care physicians and specialist physicians, schedule medical appointments in a way that achieves high-quality outcomes, while being efficient and effective. These guidelines are meant to supplement other physician scheduling policies and procedures in place at the practice.

Medical Appointment Scheduling Tips

Allow patients to self-schedule online.

Giving patients the ability to schedule their own appointments has many advantages. First, it involves them in their own care, albeit in a small way. Second, it helps you keep your scheduling process streamlined. Third, it saves your staff time and saves you billable hours.

It also improves patient satisfaction, as they feel like they were able to visit your office on their terms.

If you’re still not convinced, we wrote a whole article on this. Read: Key Reasons Healthcare Practices Should Offer Online Scheduling

Create a patient waiting list.

Last minute cancellations happen, often for legitimate reasons. However, this doesn’t make them any less disruptive. One way to lessen the impact of these disruptions is to implement a patient waiting list.

Ask patients during scheduling if they wish to be on a waiting list to get an earlier appointment. Then, in the case of a last minute no show, send mass text messages to patients on the waiting list.

Use an automated patient recall system.

Patient recall systems help you in two ways. First, it helps make sure that patients schedule regular appointments with you, which helps keep your schedule full. Second, it can help bring back patients who haven’t had regular appointments in a while. These patients often miss their appointments because life gets in the way. But, with an effective patient recall system, you can keep patients on top of their appointments and keep your schedule booked.

Read more: Using Automated Phone Calls and Texts to Improve Patient Outcomes

Prioritize appointments.

Different patients have different needs. Some patients require more time and higher levels of care. Other patients may not need to be brought in at all. This is where prioritizing appointments can be very effective.

To do this most efficiently, have a staff member evaluate each call coming in to determine whether the patient needs to be seen for an in-person appointment, or whether a phone consultation would suffice. This way, you will be able to keep your schedule full while also serving your patients in the best possible way.

Collect and use data to find opportunities to improve.

As a burgeoning medical practice, there’s a lot that’s happening that you might not be tracking. Some of this data may reveal issues in your scheduling and patient intake flow.

Some of this may deal with how well you’re converting patients. If your patient pipeline has leaks, or if your staff is spending too much time on tasks that could be automated, then addressing these issues will be important for improving appointment scheduling.

Sequence Health provides software that allows you to track trends in patient conversion and activation. If you’re looking for a patient tracking system to meet your needs, check out Sequence Health’s solutions here: Patient Tracking System