- Choose an appropriate scheduling technology. We doubt you would argue with us that digital scheduling is the way to go. Yet, it can be hard to know which scheduling platform to use. Rather than simply using an online calendar because it is familiar or free, it’s best to consider the specific needs of your clinic. Do you frequently schedule recurring appointments? A calendar that makes setting up a series easy would be best. Do you need to be able to quickly drag and drop appointments to a new time slot? Look for a calendar that has this built-in functionality. For even more in-depth options, such as appointment check-ins that trigger document creation, try out a scheduler that’s integrated with an EMR.
- Train admin staff thoroughly. If you have a larger clinic and manage lots of appointments each week, you’ll want to ensure that your admin staff is well-trained. They’ll need to be savvy users of whichever calendar interface you use. Accurate scheduling is essential to the health of your business, and therefore we suggest spending the time to create and implement dedicated training for those on your staff who are responsible for the appointment scheduling process.
- Focus on appointment details. Scheduling does not end when an appointment is created. It encompasses a lot more than simply placing slots on a calendar. Ideally, you should consider the limitations of each therapist’s schedule, patients who have unique needs or need to be placed on hold, and the length of time authorized for each type of therapy. The more detailed your notes are for individual appointments, the smoother the process of editing and the lower the chance of error.
- Minimize cancellations by sending appointment reminders. While it can seem tedious, taking the time to send reminders to patients is worth it. Digital reminders can directly impact clinic attendance rates, and therefore, your revenue. Since a majority of adults in the U.S. rely on their smartphones for everything from shopping to sending professional documents, you can capitalize on the immediacy of text reminders in particular. TheraPlan offers a solution for this inside our EMR.
- Prioritize communication with patients. Having a solidly managed calendar is just the beginning. Ultimately, scheduling is all about your patients. Show them that you and your staff respect their time by communicating with them about upcoming appointments or changes and maintaining an accurate calendar.
Scheduling may not be the first challenge you imagine when you think about opening or managing a therapy clinic. However, it can be one of the most important aspects of running your business. After all, if you aren’t organized about booking appointments and communicating with patients, you won’t have as many people as possible coming through the door! You want to be available to provide services to those who need them and keep your revenue stream flowing. We’re here to support your clinic’s success and growth. Since we know how important scheduling is, the TheraPlan team has put together some suggestions for more smoothly managing your therapy appointment bookings. Read on for five ways to maximize efficiency and minimize miscommunication in your clinic.