Implementing an Effective Physician Scheduling System

Appointment scheduling is a crucial part of running a successful medical practice, yet many doctors and their staff seem to take it for granted. There are many ways to handle this task, but three philosophies are used very commonly nowadays.

The traditional method, also known as standardized or cramming, requires block scheduling of every appointment, so that each patient spends an equal amount of time with the doctor during each visit. Find out for further details right here

The second method is known as steady stream or wave, where a certain number of patients at the top of the hour and ancillary staff (nurses, assistants, etc.) will be taking vitals and collecting data from different patients as the doctor sees others. Take a look at this link for more information. 

The third common approach is known as modified wave, which is very similar to the second method, except the last 15 minutes of the hour will be used to wrap up with patients or solve any issues that may have cropped up.

The question on which scheduling type is best to use hardly has a fixed answer. It all depends on the type of medical practice the doctor has and his own preferences. For instance, not all patients require 45 minutes for an initial visit. Some doctors feel 15 minutes is too short for any patient.

There are actually so many factors to consider when deciding on a physician scheduling system, such as the main type of care provided; whether or not X-rays are regularly provided; the duration of each procedure; the average number of patients who come to the clinic everyday; and the like.

Of course, physician scheduling software provides several convenient options for the actual scheduling process. Some of these programs allow patients to set appointments online. Once they have logged in, they can fill out their medical histories and then choose timeslots.

In most cases, patients will never see the actual schedule, but only the timeslots that are still available. Some systems can even be set to send email reminders. One very important advantage though is that the software automatically syncs with the doctor's electronic health record (EHR).

Regardless of the scheduling type chosen, what's important is that everyone in the practice uses it consistently. Of course, it's very important for the staff to be well-adapted to the system as they will be the ones directly handling the scheduling.

The idea is to have total control over a medical practice's scheduling requirements. The best method to use is the one that maximizes time and efficiency, creates a direct positive result on the bottom line, and most importantly, helps improve the quality of care provided to each and every patient.