Nobody 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 calendars integrated with emails were developed. But even with these upgrades, there were still improvements that needed to be made. And so patient scheduling software was born.
What is Patient Scheduling Software?
Patient scheduling software is pretty self-explanatory: it’s software that helps you schedule appointments for your patients. A simple concept to be sure, but it provides extra features that make it much more useful than it seems at first glance. For example, the best patient scheduling systems display not only appointments, but other obligations and periods of time when your physicians aren’t available. All of these appointments and busy periods can be color coded, making it easier to get an overview of each day’s schedule at a glance.
In addition, automated appointment reminder functionality is possibly the biggest advantage of patient scheduling software. By automatically sending reminders for every appointment, these systems help reduce patient no-shows without adding any extra work for your staff.
All of these features provide huge benefits for healthcare providers, namely increasing revenue and patient retention. By lowering your organization’s no-show rates with appointment reminders, you ensure that you don’t lose money on a missed appointment. This also has the byproduct of increasing patient retention. When patients show up to their appointments consistently, you have the chance to develop a valuable relationship with them, which entices them to return.
Additionally, you can improve overall patient satisfaction. Since patient scheduling software records every appointment in the same place, you can avoid double booking appointment slots. And when you do so, you’re never in danger of losing a dissatisfied patient because you accidentally booked someone else at the same time.
Top Patient Scheduling Software
As you’re looking to streamline your patient scheduling process, you’ll want to look for the best patient scheduling software vendors. To that end, we gathered the best patient scheduling 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:
One of the mainstays 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 to a plethora of more advanced functionality. For example, waitlist management features add patients to new time slots as they become available, while patient room tracking provides data and metrics that help you decrease wait times, improve patient visits and optimize your staff’s time.
CureMD is one of our most recommended practice management solutions thanks to its plethora of features and ease of use. The scheduling features are particularly powerful, providing additional benefits to its users. One of the best features is the direct eligibility check, which checks your patients’ insurance automatically after the appointment is scheduled. CureMD also provides administrative alerts that help your administrative 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 NueMD. Some of the customization that the system offers includes creating your own forms and customizing appointment settings based on the physician, time increment and appointment reason. Additionally, NueMD automates new patient registration when they make an appointment. Rather than typing out all of a patient’s information in both the scheduler and patient records, the system automatically enters it all into your patient records after the appointment is set. This prevents duplication errors and saves a lot of tedious time for your office staff.
The eClinicalWorks platform is an all-in-one system, combining practice management, EHR and revenue cycle management. For the medical practice that wants all of these systems fully integrated, this may be the choice for you. When it comes to the patient scheduling software in eClinicalWorks, similar to NueMD, it’s easy to use. You can create, modify and change appointments with just a couple clicks. In addition, you can set up recurring appointments and set up a specific schedule for multiple locations.
The drchrono EHR system is different from the other systems on this list because it’s mainly an EHR, as opposed to a practice management solution. That said, its patient scheduling system is no less robust. Like most other systems, appointment slots are color coded and you can set up automatic appointment reminders. But one of the most useful features is the scheduling widget, which you can embed into your site. The widget is an online scheduling 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 any time, rather than having to wait to do so during your office hours.
CareCloud Central, like eClinicalWorks, is an all-in-one practice management, EHR and revenue cycle management system that provides scheduling functionality. The patient scheduling software is one of the easiest to use thanks to drag-and-drop functionality. Another easy-to-use aspect of CareCloud is that it keeps multiple functions within one tab. For example, you can quickly check patients in and out through the scheduling software. Additionally, automated insurance eligibility checks ensure that you don’t waste an appointment slot on someone without the 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 (to name a few), it has no shortage of functionality. This extends to its patient scheduling software, which provides an incredibly helpful online scheduling component. Just like the widget provided by drchrono, athenaOne’s scheduling system allows your patients to schedule an appointment on their own at any time they want. In addition, the automated reminder features are more robust than most systems. You can set reminders for not only upcoming appointment, but also follow-up visits that have yet to be scheduled.
Our last patient scheduling software vendor is — as the saying goes — certainly not least. 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 many of the best features from other systems. Specifically, automated insurance checks and scheduler customization are useful for Kareo users. For the analytically-minded organization, you can also use the scheduling system to track your physician utilization. With this feature, you can create reports that show your scheduled and unscheduled times in order to identify missed revenue opportunities.