Is Your Appointment Booking System Ready for the 21st Century?
by Kris Rusch
Scheduling medical and dental appointments can be a source of frustration for patients and providers alike. Patients often complain of long lags between the time they realize they need to see a practitioner and the date of the next available appointment. For people wanting to see specialty care providers, the next available appointment can be months away. Healthcare providers may also experience frustration about the administrative time it takes to book, confirm, cancel, and reschedule patient appointments, particularly when last-minute cancellations leave openings in their appointment books.
A few innovative companies have stepped up to offer solutions in the form of real-time scheduling systems. They have become to medical care what OpenTable is to dining: a convenient way to find a local healthcare provider and confidently book an appointment, often for the same day.
Real-time medical scheduling systems share some basic features. They allow consumers to search online for a provider using whatever filters are important to the patient at the moment: a particular physician, medical specialty, location, or availability. At a minimum, consumers can view the days and times that a provider has an opening, the provider’s degrees and other credentials, and a map of the practice location. In many cases, consumers can read reviews from other patients who have seen this provider. After their visit, patients can contribute comments themselves. (The real-time medical scheduling systems discussed in this article take care to invite feedback only from patients whose visit to the physician has been verified.) Equipped with this information, consumers can book an appointment directly, free of charge, without having to call the provider’s office only to be put on hold. Real-time scheduling is especially useful for people who would like to make appointments outside of normal business hours. Such services help physicians fill available appointment slots while helping patients access timely healthcare, which improves outcomes.
This content is only available to members.
Please log in.
Not a member yet?
Start a free 7-day trial membership to get instant access.
Log in below to access this content: