All businesses need customers in order to succeed. It’s an obvious point, but as a clinician, how you run your patient scheduling is a critical factor in the overall financial health of your practice. If you’re losing revenue because of scheduling conflicts or repeat patients canceling appointments, it’s time to address them. An EMR therapy software built for clinicians is a great place to start. Let’s go over a few common scheduling conflicts and how to fix them moving forward.
It’s tempting to want to see as many patients as you can on a work day. If your patients have a bad habit of cancelling or not showing up, it’s hard to resist the urge to cover for possible no-shows. But overscheduling will likely stress you and your staff out, leading to a poor clinician-to-patient experience. Resist the urge to overschedule and invest in a great therapy EMR that lets you map out your day and make sure your staff knows how long to schedule patients and when clinicians are available.
Failing to remind patients about appointments
The majority of no-show patients often just simply forgot they had an appointment. After all, how many times would you miss a dentist or doctor’s appointment if their office didn’t call or text you to give you a friendly reminder?
You can help your patients remember their appointment in a similar fashion. Schedule and manage patient reminders in your therapy EMR to minimize no-shows and unwanted gaps in your schedule.
Listen to your own daily rhythms
It should be paramount that you provide the best service possible to your patients. In order to do that, pay attention to when you’re at your best in the day and make use of that time to see patients. Let your staff know if they should schedule patients mid-morning, mid-afternoon, or anytime in between. You may be better off scheduling the more intensive sessions in the morning, and saving general appointments for mid-afternoon. Aim to strike a healthy balance between what suits you and your patients’ preferences.
Put a no-show or cancellation policy in place
We already mentioned how frustrating no-shows can be. The fact of the matter is that patients who cancel last minute or who fail to show up to their appointment cost you and your practice money. We suggest putting a firm no-show or cancellation policy in place. For example:
- Require patients to cancel at least 24 hours before their appointment
- Charge a cancellation fee if they give you less than 24 hours’ notice
- Require patients to pay for appointments if they fail to show
A robust physical therapy EMR can automatically send reminders to patients via email or text message, helping more patients show up to their appointments.
Scheduling enough time per patient
If you don’t know how much time you need per patient appointment, it’s time to answer that question ASAP. Otherwise, your days will become backlogged and ill-managed. This can be a real problem once patient appointments start to overlap. The solution is to time your appointments so you have a baseline for appointment types and let your staff know how long they should be scheduling you for. Furthermore, be sure to log appointment lengths and any other helpful notes in your physical therapy EMR to better track your time and the patient’s progress. Make sure you’re factoring in time between appointments as well for paperwork or other general necessities.
Let technology help you
Paper scheduling or an excel spreadsheet is an outdated means of scheduling appointments. It’s worthwhile to embrace a technological solution to better optimize your clinic and your patient experience.
AgileEMR simplifies scheduling for physical therapists. Our system is easy to learn and quick to navigate. Before you know it, your team will be able to:
- Manage front office operations and patient information with easy-to-use registration and scheduling features.
- Integrated scheduling and clinical documentation for seamless workflow.
Eliminate duplicate data entry and streamline communication between office and clinical staff.
- Customize views by location and clinician with color-coded labels to stay organized.
Schedule a demo today to fix your patient scheduling process.