No one uses physical calendars anymore. After all, they take too much manual work — especially for healthcare providers scheduling appointments. In order to reduce that work, online calendar options with email integrations were developed. But even with the upgrades there was still room for improvements. Then, after years of deliberating and planning, an idea sparked itself to life and patient scheduling software was born.
What is Patient Scheduling Software?
Patient scheduling software is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a program that helps you schedule appointments for your patients. Though it might be a simple concept, there’s more to this software than meets the eye. It’s changed the way medical offices handle patient records. The best scheduling systems not only display appointments, but also show other periods of time when your physicians aren’t available. Appointments and busy periods can be color coded, making it easier to view what each day’s schedule will look like.
Automated appointment reminder functionality is possibly the biggest advantage of any scheduling software. By sending reminders for every appointment, you’ll reduce patient no-shows without adding more work for your staff.
These features provide huge benefits for healthcare providers. The right software can increase revenue and patient retention so you can earn more to grow your practice. By lowering your no-show rates with appointment reminders, you ensure that you don’t lose money on missed appointments.
This also has an effect on increasing patient retention. When patients show up to appointments consistently, you have the chance to develop a valuable relationship with them. In turn, patients are enticed to return.
You can also improve overall patient satisfaction. Since scheduling software records every appointment in the same place, you’ll avoid double booking your patients. Your office won’t be in danger of losing a dissatisfied patient because you scheduled two people at the same time.
Top Patient Scheduling Software
As you look to streamline your patient scheduling process, you’ll want to know which software vendors are the best. To that end, we gathered the best systems on the market. All of them are worthy vendors, providing a plethora of scheduling capabilities. In no particular order here are the top eight:
A mainstay on our Practice Management Leaderboard, AdvancedMD’s scheduling module is one of the best on the market. The system provides your standard scheduling features, such as color coding and appointment reminders. In addition, there are more advanced functionalities the system offers. Wait-list management features, for example, add patients to new time slots as they become available. Patient room tracking provides data and metrics that help you decrease wait times. Software options like these improve patient visits and optimize your staff’s time all in one instance.
CureMD is one of our most recommended practice management solutions thanks to its features and ease of use. The patient scheduling functionalities are particularly powerful, providing additional benefits to users. One of the best features is the direct eligibility check, which checks patients’ insurance automatically after the appointment is scheduled. CureMD also provides administrative alerts that help your staff monitor the daily schedule.
NueMD’s medical scheduling system is one of the easiest to use. Thanks to an intuitive interface and customizable settings, your office staff won’t have any trouble adopting the software. Some customization options include creating your own forms and adjusting appointment settings based on the physician, time increment and patient appointment reason. What’s great is that NueMD automates new patient registration when they make an appointment. Rather than typing out all the patient’s information in both the scheduler and patient records, the system automatically enters it in after the appointment is set. This prevents duplicate records and saves time for your staff in the process.
The eClinicalWorks platform is an all-in-one system. It combines practice management, EHR and revenue cycle management. For the medical practice that wants their systems fully integrated, this may be the choice for you. Similar to NueMD, eClinicalWorks scheduling software is easy to use. You can create, modify and change appointments with a couple of clicks and easily navigate from one screen to the next. Users can set up recurring appointments or set a specific schedule for multiple locations if the practitioner has more than one office.
The drchrono EHR system is different from other systems on this list. It’s mainly an EHR, rather than a practice management solution. However, its patient scheduling system is no less robust. Like most other systems, appointment slots are color coded and you can set up automatic schedule reminders. But one of the most useful features is the scheduling widget, which you can easily embed onto your website. The widget is an online booking system that allows your patients to schedule appointments without calling in. This saves your staff valuable time on the phone. Plus, it makes it easier for your patients to schedule an appointment at their convenience, rather than waiting to do so during office hours.
CareCloud Central, like eClinicalWorks, is an all-in-one practice management, EHR and revenue cycle management system. It offers a user-friendly scheduling functionality that everyone will be able to navigate. Thanks to its drag-and-drop capability, you can move through the scheduling process quickly. Another easy-to-use aspect of CareCloud is that it keeps multiple functions within one tab. For example, you can check patients in and out through the software without having to go back and forth between screens. Additionally, automated insurance eligibility checks ensure that you don’t waste an appointment slot on someone without proper insurance.
The athenaOne practice management system is one of the most comprehensive integrated solutions on the market. Featuring modules for billing, EHR and communication, it has no shortage of crucial user functions. This extends to its patient scheduling software, which provides an incredibly helpful online scheduling component. Like the widget provided by drchrono, athenaOne allows patients to schedule an appointment on their own whenever they want. In addition, the automated reminder features are more robust than most systems. You can set reminders for upcoming appointments and follow-up visits, too.
Our last software vendor is — as the saying goes — certainly not least. Thought it’s more well known for its top-of-the-line medical billing system, Kareo’s scheduling solution is powerful in its own right. It provides all of your standard features such as color coding, but also includes many of the best features from other systems. Automated insurance checks and scheduler customization are among some of the functionalities that make Kareo a top contender. For the analytically-minded organization, you can use the scheduling system to track your physician utilization. With this feature, you can create reports that show scheduled and unscheduled times. Creating these reports helps members of your staff identify any missed revenue opportunities.