Patient scheduling software is extremely useful in managing the appointments of a physician and is fast replacing the traditional method of recording appointments in a register. Such software, developed keeping in mind the patient flow and the type of patients, is bound to be successful in improving the efficiency and working of a hospital or a clinic.
Online Patient Scheduling Software: Purpose
The purpose of this software is to ensure smooth flow of patients with minimal wastage of time. It is important to schedule the appointments of various patients in such a way that their waiting time is minimal. The software should also have flexibility to accommodate severely ill patients or emergency appointments. There should also be scope for dealing with cancellations, patients who don’t turn up for their appointments or any other situation. Even a doctor or surgeon does not want to sit idle on one day and deal with a rush of patients on another. So, it is important that patient appointments are scheduled evenly to take care of the interests of both the patients and the doctors.
The flow of patients differs for each medical facility. While the flow of patients at a pediatrician’s office may be heavy in the evenings, the flow of patients at a surgeon’s clinic may be continuous. A patient scheduling software needs to take into account the predetermined and necessary patient flow. Patient scheduling software is good if it ensures good patient flow, proper utilization of staff and physical facilities, and suits the requirements of the hospital or the clinic concerned.
Patient Scheduling Software: Methods Used
Such software can be based on any of the various commonly used methods of scheduling. Its success will, however, depend on the actual flow of patients in a clinic or a hospital. Some of the commonly used scheduling methods are:
- First come First Served basis in open hours – this ensures steady flow of patients.
- Double booking – wherein two or more people are given an appointment for the same time. This is successful if the clinic or hospital has adequate facilities and staff to deal with two or more patients at a time.
- Clustering – wherein patients with similar problems are booked consecutively on specific days. A specific block of time, which can be in terms of hours or days, are set aside for particular type of patients or cases. This style of patient scheduling is generally adopted by gynecologists and pediatricians.
- Wave scheduling – is used in places with adequate facilities and staff to deal with multiple appointments.
The use of a patient scheduling software makes it easy for doctors and other medical staff to plan their schedules and thus avoid wastage of time. This software also provides proper appointment data that can be used for billing purposes.