Are you looking for the right booking solution for your healthcare practice?
With so many online scheduling tools to choose from, it can be hard to know which one is best. For example, free online schedulers like Calendly or Doodle are popular options that can be found in many offices today. But when it comes to managing your patients’ appointment bookings, getting the lowest cost scheduler shouldn’t be your top priority – rather, patient privacy and customer satisfaction should be.
If you’re wondering what type of scheduling software is right for your practice and patients, here’s a look at the top 4 questions you should always ask when choosing a patient booking solution, and why privacy and performance matters.
The 4 top questions to ask when choosing scheduling software for your healthcare practice
#1. Is the scheduling software HIPAA compliant?
If you run a healthcare practice, you’re very likely familiar with HIPAA regulations and how they’re designed to protect your patients’ personal data. But what you may not know is that HIPAA applies to scheduling software too. Since most schedulers access patient data, not using a HIPAA compliant scheduler could lead to big headaches down the road, including violation of patient privacy or even lawsuits. It’s a scenario that obviously no healthcare provider wants.
According to the HHS.gov website: “An online scheduler that creates, receives, maintains, or transmits identifiable patient information as part of providing appointment scheduling services to a covered health care provider is a business associate of the health care provider and subject to HIPAA. (e.g., a calendar application run from a vendor’s computers and delivered by the vendor’s remote servers over the Internet).
These laws apply to most doctors, clinics, hospitals, psychologists, chiropractors, nursing homes, pharmacies, and dentists. So, if you’re considering using a free online scheduler to provide services to your patients, always make sure it’s HIPAA compliant.
Are Calendly, Doodle, and YouCanBook.me HIPAA compliant?
Free appointment scheduling apps like Calendly, Doodle, or YouCanBook.me are free tools that can be used for organizing tasks and appointments. But are they HIPAA compliant and suitable for use in a healthcare setting?
Here’s where they stand currently:
- Calendly. According to the HIPAA Journal website, Calendly shouldn’t be used for collecting personal or medical questions, and it doesn’t protect private health information. As such, it’s not HIPAA compliant.
- YouCanBook.me (not HIPAA compliant). According to YCBE, their system stores data in a third-party system. Because they don’t have full control over the data in the third-party system, it’s not HIPAA compliant.
While these applications can work well for managing your own schedule or meetings, they’re not a viable option for a healthcare practice that needs to ensure patient confidentiality in their communications. In this case, free is not better.
#2. Does the scheduler provide integrations with your existing practice management software?
While scheduling apps like Calendly and Doodle integrate with productivity tools like Zoom or Hubspot, they don’t have integrations for healthcare platforms. To avoid incompatibility issues, it’s better to use a scheduler that talks to your existing software.
For example, a solution like NexHealth adapts to complex healthcare office workflows right out of the box. With the ability to connect to 45+ different electronic health record systems, it provides immediate two-way communication with your existing practice management software. This allows patients to book online appointments in real-time, while keeping your PMS up-to-date at all times.
Of course, you can still use free collaboration tools such as Zoom and Zello for staff meetings, interviews, and training. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a HIPAA compliant telehealth solution for your patients, you may want to consider a solution like NexHealth.
#3. Does the scheduling software provide a professional patient experience?
Gone are the days when patients would call your office and leave a message, hoping for a call-back. Instead, today’s patients want a smooth, digitally-driven experience that doesn’t require waiting on hold. Unlike most free scheduling tools, NexHealth software provides a professional patient experience at every step of the booking process, including: 24/7 online booking, automated text reminders, and same-day cancellation fill-ins.
Here are some ways NexHealth helps provide a great customer experience:
- Online booking. NexHealth shows your appointment availability in real-time. This allows patients to book appointments immediately on their computer or smartphone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Appointment reminders. Automated appointment reminders eliminate phone tag and time spent rescheduling over the phone. This increases patient satisfaction, while reducing missed appointments at your office.
- Cancellation fill-ins. Instead of having to call patients manually, NexHealth will contact ASAP wait list patients as soon as there’s an opening, handling your re-books and cancellations for you.
NexHealth is committed to delivering a superior patient experience in your practice. Read a real-life story of how one of our clients revived their dental spa by leveraging NexHealth software.
#4. Does the scheduler ensure patient confidentiality?
Most free scheduling tools aren’t created with privacy in mind. Unfortunately, patient lawsuits over privacy violations have highlighted the need for practices to pay closer attention to their applications to ensure that privacy doesn’t fall through the cracks.
Unlike apps such as Calendly or Doodle, NexHealth has integrated HIPAA compliance at every level, from our booking solutions to telehealth. With NexHealth, you can be confident that your communications with patients are secure and compliant, giving you one less thing to worry about.
If you’re looking for a secure and robust booking solution for your practice, why not consider NexHealth? NexHealth is a complete, all-in-one package that handles online booking, digital payments, healthcare marketing, and telehealth.