Running a medical practice means your head is often filled with questions.
For example, online appointment scheduling is growing in popularity. Since you want to do what’s best for both your patients and your staff, you might be wondering if you should start using medical office scheduling software. Unfortunately, asking that question leads to even more questions. If you decide the answer is yes, the next question inevitably is how do you find the best appointment scheduling software?
Perhaps you’re not even sure if you should use any software. What is the best way to schedule appointments — letting patients schedule themselves online — or, do patients prefer talking directly to a person?
A quick look at the numbers can answer whether you should use a scheduling software:
- A study by Healthgrade analytics finds 80% of patients prefer a medical provider who offers online scheduling.
- The same study says patients choose a provider offering online scheduling by a 4-to-1 margin.
Life is busy, so it’s no wonder using medical office scheduling software is the best option for both your patients and your staff.
Patients love being able to control when they book their appointments. Instead of trying to call you while they are working, patients can relax after work, then go online and schedule appointments from the comfort of their home.
Everyone working your practice is busy as well. Your staff will feel more productive if instead of playing phone tag with your patients, they have more time to devote to other tasks.
Unfortunately, with numerous scheduling tools on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is the best appointment scheduling software for your practice. One of your biggest concerns is finding something that will benefit both your patients and your practice staff.
What is the best software for scheduling?
Before you look at the specific features of the various scheduling systems on the market, start with the basics. Here are two of the bare minimum requirements you need:
- The software should be easy to use.
- It should provide a good return on investment.
Two options, Calendly and Doodle, meet the above criteria. These software solutions were created so people can schedule all types of meetings and appointments without the hassles that come with making appointments by phone or email. However, neither of these online appointment scheduling tools are HIPAA compliant.
What is HIPAA compliant scheduling software?
Keeping patient information secure is the heart of HIPAA so it includes a list of Protected Health Information (PHI) that must be kept confidential. Anything that identifies an individual is considered PHI. This includes names, addresses, demographic information, lab results, and much more.
Obviously, it’s impossible to schedule a patient’s appointment without knowing his or her name. That one detail makes it essential for you to use scheduling software that is HIPAA compliant.
So, before you decide on an online appointment scheduling software, ask if the company will sign a Business Associate Agreement. By signing this agreement, the software company states that it is HIPAA compliant.
If appointment scheduling software will not sign a BAA, they are not HIPAA compliant scheduling software. It’s that simple.
Is being HIPAA compliant the only difference with medical office scheduling software?
Being HIPAA compliant is the first differentiator.
The second is if the scheduling system was created to integrate with other types of practice management software. If it doesn’t work with any of the software you are currently using, it certainly will not help the bottom line of your practice.
What is the best appointment scheduling software for healthcare practices?
This blog establishes 7 key benefits of HIPAA compliant software. These include; simplicity, after-hours scheduling, filling cancelations, saving time, software integrations, need for extra software, and aiding in acquiring new patients. While these are all important considerations; you need to keep your specific needs in mind.
All of the most popular medical office scheduling tools will save your staff time and help bring new patients to your practice. But, you need to truly think about how an appointment scheduler will work with your practice. These additional questions should be considered:
- Does it matter if the appointment scheduling software works for multiple users?
- Will the software show real-time availability, so office staff won’t book an appointment at the same time a patient scheduled one?
- Will it enable emergency bookings?
Medical office scheduling comparison: NexHealth, Bridge, Klara, RevenueWell
Let’s compare NexHealth to other HIPAA compliant software to help you decide which one best meets your needs.
Pro: This software gives patients the ability to schedule appointments from a mobile device. It schedules the appointments in real-time, an important feature to avoid overbooking.
Con: Patients must first download an app. Patients cannot schedule appointments via email. Patients must remember a password to schedule appointments through a patient portal.
Pro: This tool will help reduce the number of patients who fail to show up for appointments, thanks to the text message function that sends reminders before appointments.
Con: This software does not let patients book their appointments. Patients must download an app to their smartphone to send and receive text messages to your office.
Pro: Patients can make an online appointment request through your website or an email or text message. The patient fills in a reason for the appointment and chooses up to 3 possible appointment times.
Con: More time-intensive than many other software products. If the requested appointment times are not available, staff members and patients go back and forth to select a new appointment time.
Thanks to a variety of software tools that are on the market, it’s becoming easier to increase the efficiency of your staff, which frees you to focus on providing patient care. Sign up for a free demo and discover the benefits NexHealth’s appointment scheduling software can bring to your practice.
The major benefit of this software solution is that patients can book their appointments via email or text messages. There is no need to download an app or use a patient portal. So, they don’t have to remember a password to access a portal. The ability to schedule an appointment from an email makes it easier for patients. Plus, they will not have to worry about text messages charges from their wireless provider if they schedule via a computer.