Patient Scheduling Software - Where Time and Revenue Converge

The days of appointment books are far behind us. In this follow-up to our last post, we provide more actionable advice on using patient scheduling software to support a healthy revenue cycle. Beyond its up-front role for scheduling and managing provider resources, the right solution can serve as a platform for revenue cycle improvement. Here are five things to look for to help your front desk support your bottom line:

Does your patient scheduling software display patient balances at the time of appointment booking?

Through streamlining the process of making an appointment by providing the necessary financial information when the patient calls into schedule, you can leverage medical office scheduling software to increase the likelihood that patients will be ready to address their payment responsibilities at the time of booking or, failing that, the time of encounter. Gently encouraging patients to pay or be prepared to pay by describing payment options and offering to put a payment method securely on file can improve up-front collections, speed checkout and help you avoid write-offs.

Does your patient scheduling software support automated patient reminders to save staff time and reduce patient no-shows?

Using your patient scheduling software, you should be able to interface with third-party reminder solutions to send out automated patient reminders toward reducing no-shows. Automated solutions can save staff time, reflect patient communication preferences and offer a two-way communication to maximize response rates from the patients. A recent survey showed that most patients prefer getting an automated reminder to receiving live calls from employees. So, not only can you free your staff for higher-value activities- by driving reminder automation from your patient scheduling software, you might also increase patient satisfaction. That said, at least one study has shown that patients actually show up more (21% fewer no-shows) when called by a human being, so you will want to make sure that your patient scheduling software also makes it easy to identify un-confirmed appointments and mark appointments confirmed quickly without the need to work from printed reports.

Can you run an eligibility check from your patient scheduling software solution?

If your patient scheduling software supports it, there are three ways you can leverage your schedule to reduce the risk of denials and patient bad debt.

First, an eligibility check should be run when a patient calls in to schedule an appointment- this helps not only to ensure that insurance data in the system is up to date and valid, but also to advise patients of the need to be prepared to pay where deductibles have not been met, there is a co-pay, or the patient has no active coverage.

A second batch eligibility check should be run to confirm any changes in coverage or unmet deductible before calling patients to confirm appointments (if using placing traditional reminder calls). This can be a great time to offer to update patients’ payment method and prepare patients for the likely extent of their responsibility.

Can you post charges from your patient scheduling software?

Posting charges from your schedule is a great way to make sure you catch lost revenue associated with lost or misplaced superbills. You can’t look at a stack of superbills (or even a list of encounters sent back by an EHR) and know whether encounters have been missed. On the other hand, if your patient scheduling software supports it, you can both use your schedule as a starting point for posting your encounters and instantly recognize at-a-glance whether any appointments that were met have gone un-posted at the end of the day!

Does your patient scheduling software support patient no-show and walk-out management?

Reporting on cancellations and no-shows is important, but reporting alone does little to remedy the impact on your practice. To most effectively address no-shows, medical office scheduling software should support an efficient, multi-pronged approach which includes one-click assessment of patient no-show history, quick creation of appointment alerts for patients who chronically fail to meet appointments, and easy generation of specialized no-show communications for follow-up.