Scheduling online? Hint - ask your patients questions

Posted by Daniel Collins Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Online scheduling works better with business rules

Not all appointment types can be booked online. Nor should they be. But the majority of appointment types can be offered online. Especially for primary care like OBGYN, PCP, Peds, and basic Cardiology.

One reason they have not been offered online in the past is because providers have lacked the ability to guide patients to the right appointment types without first gathering the basic patient information by scheduling staff.

In other words, providers need a way to digitize the scheduler’s interview process before enabling the online application.

For instance, providers do not expose all their slots because many of them need to be booked as the patient leaves the office or because of complexities impacting the next steps in a treatment plan. As a result, certain slots need to be left available for a specialty’s more challenging scenarios.

To accomplish the right mix, a practice needs to establish the key questions which drive patients to the right scenario. Here are some of the most requested business rules when activating online scheduling:

  • The ability to add multiple services across multiple locations
  • The ability to avoid booking at multiple locations at the same time for the same provider
  • The ability to have different user roles with different rights
  • The ability to restrict user access by locations
  • The ability to send confirmations to different users by provider and location
  • The ability to add a shared calendar (ability to schedule to a location)
  • The ability to send practice confirmations to as many fax/emails as needed
  • The ability to send practice confirmations with patient demographics, member ID, reason for visit, and other customizable fields
  • The ability to send confirmations (email/print) & reminders (text, phone, email) to the patients in English and Spanish
  • The ability to block holidays & office closings according to your practice calendar – avoiding unnecessary maintenance on your staff
  • The ability to capture languages spoken by provider, enabling patient search based on language
  • The ability to capture the provider’s specialty and subspecialties
  • The ability to restrict appointments to insurance plans and payer types you accept
  • The ability to offer appointment types based on the type of patients/procedures
  • The ability to offer appointments according to the provider’s schedules (ex. no new patients back to back)
  • The ability to determine the duration of the appointments they want to make available (different duration based on appointment type)
  • The ability to enable multiple patients per appointment slot, if desired
  • The ability to set up custom messaging, per provider, to be sent to the referral coordinator (pop up window) and to the patient (printed on confirmation)
  • The ability to give back held slots that are not booked. The give back rule will remove unbooked slots from the calendar at a set time period, allowing the provider to use the appointments for another patient and avoid them going unused.
  • The ability to update and pass back patient attendance and provider notes

Robust, configurable scheduling rules protect the provider, and ensure the patient gets the right physician match. If online patient access does not connect to the right physician, at the right time, for the right reason – providers and patients both lose.

To learn how MyHealthDirect helps unlock the full potential of online consumer scheduling – empowering patients to self-schedule care at their convenience and eliminate time intensive tasks for staff, download our guide to Redefining Patient Access.

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Topics: Digital Tools, Self-Scheduling, Scheduling, Patient Access, Calendar Optimization