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Improve Patient Scheduling With a Houston Medical Answering Service
Your job runs smoother when there is efficient patient scheduling for your Houston medical office. There are less no-shows; there’s less stress involved in the scheduling process. How can you improve this factor?
Do your patients often complain about the scheduling process or wait times when they come to your office? Let’s face it, nobody likes sitting in the doctor’s office waiting room half an hour past their scheduled appointment.
It can be hard to stay on schedule. Sometimes patients show up late, sometimes an appointment may turn out to be more serious and take longer than expected, sometimes an employee calls off sick, and sometimes the office is just overbooked! But there are ways to maintain a smooth schedule among all these mishaps.
Successful patient scheduling will give your staff adequate time to treat each patient without falling behind. It will make your patients happier and your staff less stressed.
So, what can you do to improve your patient scheduling process?
1. Hire a Medical Answering Service in Houston
Are your front desk workers constantly on the phone scheduling doctor appointments for patients? While answering phones is a huge part of their job, it’s not the only thing they do – they play a huge part in how smoothly the office runs.
If your front desk employees are spending too much time on the phone, they may get backed up with check-ins, check-outs, billing, and paperwork. Ultimately, this means that the patient schedule can fall behind because they haven’t had time to check-in the patient that’s been waiting for 10 minutes already.
Hiring a Houston, TX medical answering service will take all that stress off your employees. You can get real people to answer the phones, so your patients won’t have to deal with confusing automated phone trees, and you can have more people answering the phone, so your patients get faster service. Plus, it’s cheaper than hiring more front desk employees! You’ll be happy, your staff will be happy, and your patients will be happy.
2. Install Automated Check-Ins
You can have the most perfectly arranged schedule, but if patient check-in is slow, it’ll halt the entire office. Even the best receptionists can get overwhelmed, especially if they are understaffed. If you see that your front office staff is still busy, even after hiring a medical answering service, the next step will be to install automated check-ins.
This will give your patients the opportunity to check-in as soon as they arrive instead of having to wait until an employee is free. Patients will be able to do things like update their information and see their copay due all while cutting costs and keeping patients happy.
3. Use Automated Appointment Confirmations
Have you ever had a day go flawlessly until one or two patients showed up 20 minutes late? Sometimes all it takes is that handful of people and your entire schedule for the rest of the day is thrown off. One of the hardest parts of patient appointment scheduling is working around this.
But what if you could decrease the number of patients who throw off your schedule? Sending out reminder or confirmation messages is one of the best ways to reduce no-shows.
Consider setting up an automated system where a text, phone call, or email is sent out the day before. If this is a huge problem in your office, you may opt to send out a second text or email a few hours before the appointment. This will remind patients of the correct time, lowering the changes of late and no-shows.
4. Make a Waitlist
“What’s the earliest time I can come in?” “Do you have anything earlier?” “Can I come in today?” If you’re in the business of scheduling doctor appointments, you’ve probably heard these questions more times than you can count.
Improving patient scheduling goes further than just making sure the day-of runs smoothly. It also means finding a way to get patients in as soon as possible. Let’s face it – nobody likes to stay sick for days at a time while they wait for their doctor appointment. One of the best ways to do this is to make a waitlist.
If somebody cancels the day of or the day before, you can start calling the people on the waitlist and tell them you have an earlier opening. The best way to do this without causing more confusion is to schedule patients for whatever day you can and tell them you’ll call if anything earlier opens up. That way, every patient still has a solid appointment booked, and you have a list of people you can call to avoid gaps because of late cancelations.
5. Offer Your Slowest Time First
Do you typically have a block of time that remains unbooked? If you don’t fill that time slot in, it’s just wasted time. When scheduling doctor appointments, offer this block of time first. The more patients you offer it to, the higher the chance one of them will say yes. It fills a slot that may have otherwise been left open and will likely free up a slot during a busier time.
Are there just too many patients and not enough physicians to go around? While hiring another doctor (or a part-time doctor to fill in during busy hours) may be a good idea, it’s also very expensive. A cheaper alternative is to better delegate your staff.
You can hire a medical answering service to take control of patient scheduling. This will free up time so you can delegate more paperwork and billing to great receptionists. This will then free up your nurses’ time, so they can help with things like taking vitals, weighing patients, and asking basic questions. This way your doctor can step in and focus their attention on what only they can do.
Improving Patient Scheduling – Houston Medical Answering Service
If your workdays are hectic, it may be because of poor patient scheduling. Medical appointment scheduling takes a certain skill set to ensure each patient is getting enough time without overbooking the office. But if you follow our tips and tricks, like hiring a medical answering service or making a waitlist, your patient scheduling will go smoother than ever.
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