Although having a comprehensive marketing plan is vital to attract patients to a practice, if the appointment scheduling process is clunky and/or error-prone, it can be a turn off to patients and leave a poor impression before the individual even walks through the door. Providing the optimal patient experience is a key trend among plastic surgery practices as they aim to meet the demands of rising consumerism. Here are three strategies to make sure scheduling reinforces a good reputation.
Commit to a data-driven approach
While no two days in a busy plastic surgery practice will be the same, when organizations look at trends about appointment start times, duration, number of no shows, and number of walk-ins, they can design a schedule that accommodates the most frequent patterns. For example, if the time between patient arrival and actually seeing the physician averages around 15 minutes, then practices should allow for that lead time when scheduling. By reviewing practice data, an organization can design its schedule to be more realistic and thus more likely to be followed.
Ease the scheduling process
Setting up a patient appointment should be simple. When practices use intuitive scheduling technology, such as through an integrated practice management system, they can rapidly create patient appointments that work best for patients and the practice. Features like drag and drop scheduling and next appointment finder can be especially beneficial.
Send automated reminders
No-shows can be problematic for practices—costing them revenue and swallowing staff time as employees try to track down individuals and reschedule appointments. Research shows that by sending an automated reminder, a practice can significantly reduce its no-show rates, which can keep the schedule running smoothly.
Getting a handle on scheduling will help practices set the stage for a positive patient experience. The happier patients are when they visit the practice, the more likely they are to return, which can further an organization’s goal of continuously growing its business.
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