Increasingly, people expect to be able to handle all their scheduling with just the click of a button. From the convenience of a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, an online booking interface can streamline the process of setting an appointment and can offer patients the freedom to complete the process at their leisure, and not within the confines of opening hours.
Want to learn how to use this kind of system to maximum effect in your own career? Here are some useful guidelines for future medical office assistants to try.
Make Online Scheduling an Option, Not a Requirement
Online booking for medical appointments is probably going to be a preferred option for many patients of middle age and younger. Older patients, though, as well as younger individuals habituated to certain types of communication, may not find the experience quite as convenient. This is why, while it’s good to make use of online booking, it’s also a good idea to ensure that it isn’t the only option available.
Top online scheduling systems will tie into a broader calendar and scheduling system, allowing patients to book their appointments in the manner they prefer. They might call in or send an email, for instance, which can be entered into the system alongside the appointments booked online. While it may seem like extra work to do this when a perfectly good online option exists, it’s important to remember that this approach is about making the process as easy as possible for patients, whatever form that takes.
Be Sure to Use Email or SMS Confirmations in Your Medical Office Assistant Career
No-shows are an annoyance to medical establishments, but many online scheduling systems can do a lot to fix this. Requiring that patients input their email or cell phone number as part of the process, or at least having an option for them to do so, can tie that information to a system’s auto-reminder functionalities. With some, an appointment can even be confirmed via text message.
As a professional working in a medical office assistant career would likely tell you, a great deal of time and money is lost in chasing after patients trying to get them to confirm and attend their appointments. By implementing a good online scheduling system that includes auto-reminders, you might just be able to solve a large portion of this problem for your future workplace. Just keep in mind that in many situations, a personal phone call may still prove best. It’s a personal touch that can go a long way to making patients feel cared for, and offers good practice for the professional communication skills you developed in medical office assistant training!
Ideally, Online Scheduling Should Hook Into a Patient Management Platform
There are many different online scheduling applications to choose from that are appropriate to the medical field. After your medical office assistant courses, though, you’re going to want to see something that doesn’t just stand alone but instead ties into the other computer systems used in your workplace.
This is particularly true of those systems that are used for storing and accessing patient information. After all, integration between the two can help to keep information readily accessible. For clinics or businesses that offer a number of related services, this type of system can save a lot of headaches and promote continuity of care across disciplines.
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