Combined with proper treatment, having excellent service right at the reception can make your clinic a reference in the health area. Optimizing the appointment schedule at the clinic has indisputable benefits. The practice improves the routine of doctors and receptionists, reduces the burden on professionals, increases confidence and is capable of producing patient loyalty.
No patient likes to arrive at the office and have to wait for hours to be seen. The disorganization in the appointment schedule can cause this type of discomfort, generate dissatisfaction in the patients of your clinic and even make them look for another professional.
So that you do not suffer from these problems, we have separated 5 tips to optimize this practice. Continue reading and promote excellent care for your patients!
1. Use an online calendar
Using a virtual plan is the first step towards optimizing the appointment schedule in the clinic. It allows the greater organization of schedules and facilitates the search for vacancies when scheduling new patients, simplifying the processes and preventing you from appointing two people at the same time or forgetting any cancellation request.
Also, if you offer the option of scheduling online, the patient himself can access the online schedule and make his appointment himself. The doctor can access it through a mobile device, such as your smartphone. That way, he can organize himself concerning the hours if he works in other places and notifies the patient in advance of possible delays.
The market has very intuitive platforms. This means that manipulating schedules is not at all complicated, and even the most remote people in technology can quickly adapt to the tool.
2. Adopt a digital waiting list
A facility offered by clinic management software is the digital waiting list. This tool allows the inclusion of patients who need assistance, however, they have not found a vacant time in the doctor’s agenda and are waiting for any absence or cancellation to be attended.
The advantages of the digital waiting list over the common paper list are that:
- the list is more organized and secure, since the risk of losing the requested information is practically nonexistent, especially if the fitting method is still required via paper;
- it allows quick access to other patient information that may be necessary to put him on the agenda and prioritize his care if needed, such as health insurance, last appointment, treatment and illness;
- allows you to transfer it from the waiting list to the calendar easily;
- the patient can be notified automatically, via email or SMS.
3. Optimize the query confirmation process
A common problem among professionals working in health clinics is the lack of patients without warning. When the individual does not appear, the time reserved for his attendance cannot be filled in time. At the same time that consultations can be made in advance, the professional is unable to attend those who are on the waiting list. This can cause him to lose some patients.
To reduce this occurrence, many clinics usually call the patient the day before the appointment to confirm. Despite being effective, the call takes time from the secretaries’ work. In addition to being expensive for the clinic at the end of the month, unforeseen events can happen on the scheduled date. The solution is to use a system with automated sending of SMS, WhatsApp or e-mail messages. That way, the patient can respond quickly if he can attend or not and the schedule is already updated automatically. Besides, the operation is much more affordable and still frees the secretary to perform other activities.
4. Establish an average service time
One of the primary reasons for delays in consultations at clinics is the inconsistency inpatient care times. Some stay in the office for a few minutes, while others spend about an hour. The lack of a standard directly affects scheduling appointments. To solve this problem, the health professional must stipulate an average service time and thus organize his / her schedule according to this planning, standardizing the flow of care in the clinic. This calculation can be done using software with electronic medical records, which makes it possible to count the time of an appointment. That way, you will have secure data to calculate the average.
5. Pay special attention to the integration between professionals in the clinic
Clinics that have more than one professional in the same or different specialities can benefit from the integration of the online schedule of everyone who works there. This prevents, among doctors in the same speciality, one professional from being overwhelmed while the other has an empty agenda, in addition to attracting more patients to the clinic. In this case, the staff roster is needed.