Doctor’s Orders: How to Manage Better Appointments?

Without a doubt, you want your patients to have better appointments. We all want our patients to get the best out of their time with us. But what can we do to make sure that all patients get the best appointments? This article explores this matter so you can start helping your patients even more.

Doctor handling appointments

Consider Asking Your Patients to Schedule Their Appointments

More and more people can now schedule their own appointments online. They can do this online via your website and choose the appointment that is right for them. The more choice your patients have, the happier they will be. If there are more than one or two appointments to choose from, your patients will appreciate it.

Of course, it’s likely that the appointment slots will fill up quickly but at least there’s more choice. Please be aware that if you do offer self-scheduling, not everyone will want to do it. Some people will be happy to give you a call and schedule an appointment that way.

Use a Reminder System

No-one wants to miss their appointment, but many people forget about them. This is because they haven’t written the time and date down, or they forget to check their diary. When you use a reminder system, all of the patients that have signed up for this will be alerted.

For example, let’s imagine that you have a doctor’s appointment the day after tomorrow at 10 am. Your surgery’s healthcare reminder systems will inform you about your appointment 24 hours prior. This means you’re a lot less likely to forget you have that all-important appointment. It also means that if you need to cancel, someone else can see a doctor when they need to.

Think About Whether a Face-to-Face Appointment is Needed

As we’re in the middle of a pandemic, you might want to consider offering online or over-the-phone appointments. While you will still need to see some patients face-to-face, some appointments can take place elsewhere.

Not only is a telephone or online appointment convenient, it can save time. This is because appointments such as these tend to run a lot faster than face-to-face appointments. What this means is that more people can be seen and fewer people will be kept waiting.

Use a Waiting List to Fill Canceled or Forgotten Appointments

There will always be forgotten/no-show appointments and last-minute canceled appointments. However, they do not need to be an issue if you have a waiting list. If you have a list of patients who would like to see you sooner rather than later, they can fill those empty spots. Send a text message to the patient to let them know they can be seen quicker. If they cannot make the appointment, move onto the next patient on the list. This ensures more appointments are filled and more patients and happy.

With a little bit of work you too could manage appointments a little better. Why not consider implementing some or all of the above ideas today?


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