Effective Patient Scheduling

Patient scheduling is one of the major sources of operational challenges facing many chiropractors today. Factors such as missed appointments and cancellations can hurt a practice’s bottom line and long-term business viability.

As a chiropractor, the good news is that you can minimize the impact of schedule disruptions with technology and a time-tested approach to patient scheduling. A study found that tools like automated reminders can help reduce no-show rates by more than 28%.

With the aid of cutting-edge technology, such as cloud-based EHR, you can monitor, analyze, and schedule appointments in real time to meet the changing needs of your clients. Here are a few tips to help you refine your strategy and schedule patients more effectively.

Implement Self-Scheduling

On average, it takes about seven minutes to schedule a patient appointment. That’s time that could be spent performing higher-level tasks, like tending to patients in need.

Interestingly, about 77% of patients say that self-scheduling is important to them. A 2019 report by Patient Access Journey found that more than half of Gen Xers and millennials said that they would change providers for the ability to schedule appointments online.

Implementing self-scheduling is more crucial than ever. Patients prefer it, it saves time, and it allows you and your staff to focus on more strategic tasks.

Use Data to Identify Trends

AI tools, such as deep learning and machine learning, have advanced tremendously over the last decade. Today, they are being employed in patient scheduling to identify trends and patterns and resolve various problems facing healthcare organizations.

Modern EHR systems have the capability to analyze and track patient inflows, record appointment times, and provide real-time data to better schedule patient visits. A quick look at weekly data and reports will give you ample information to identify hiccups in your scheduling. The system also allows you to evaluate your strategy and spot trends, so you can position your practice to tackle the impact of no-shows.

Have a Cancellation Policy

One of the best ways to tackle the issue of no-shows is to have a cancellation policy. Clients should be made aware of its terms and conditions during sign-up to ensure that there is no conflict in the event of policy enforcement. It’s also a good idea to place a display system or banner in the lobby to remind clients of your terms of service.

If a frequent client misses an appointment for the first time, you may waive the fees. However, should you decide to enforce the rule, having a plan in place will make the process seamless. A no-cancellation policy incentivizes patients to keep appointments.

Send a Reminder

In today’s busy world, reminding clients of their appointments is vital for improving scheduling compliance. Sending reminders to your patients can help keep them on schedule and alert those who can’t make it to cancel on time, allowing you to allot their spots to other clients.

No-shows can negatively impact a practice’s long-term survival. That’s why healthcare organizations are turning to appointment reminder tools to minimize cancellations and improve appointment timeliness.

If you’re skeptical about deploying appointment reminder tools for your practice, research has proven that they can make a huge difference. Studies have shown that appointment reminder tools can reduce appointment no-show rates by more than 50%.

With your appointment software, you should be able to send frequent reminders and customize messaging and responses to meet patients’ needs or changing conditions. A good rule of thumb is to set up your system to send reminders a day or two before an appointment.

Create a Waiting List

Even when all measures are put in place, appointment cancellation can still occur. However, you can reduce the impact by creating a waiting list where you can fill open spots with those on the register.

To learn more, check out a demo