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7 Ways of Maximizing Patient Appointments for Your Medical Practice

We are in the final stretch of 2021. It is that time of the year when businesses across various industries, including healthcare, need to develop sound operational strategies to help them finish the year on a strong note. For the healthcare industry, one such strategy is the maximization of patient appointments.

Scheduling patient appointments is an art. On one hand, you want to keep the patient satisfaction rate high by giving them the utmost attention and steering clear of long patient waiting times. On the other hand, you want to maximize the productivity of your care team and attend to as many revenue-generating patients as possible. So how do you balance these two seemingly competing aspects to maximize patient appointments? Ahead, we'll walk you through some of the ways you could maximize patient appointments before the end of the year.

Tips to Gain More Patient Appointments Before End of the Year

Here are some of the ways you can maximize patient appointments for your practice:

1. Create or Improve Your Website

Your website is your practice's digital business card. It allows you to showcase the services that you offer. If you don't have a website, then it's high time you invested resources in creating one. And in case your website is a little outdated, then you need to revamp it.

Your medical practice's website can be a great source of referral. You can publish testimonials and reviews from patients to help attract new patients. After all, studies have shown that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation.

In addition to that, posting helpful content on your website regularly will help you to rank highly on search engines, which in turn will make your practice more visible for those who search for your medical services.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is that your website should be responsive such that it functions effectively across various devices. Moreover, your website should also give patients the possibility of booking appointments.

2. Determine Which Appointments Nee to Happen In-Person

There are patient issues that can be resolved via email, phone, or secure portal. You should schedule in-person appointments for medical issues that need face-to-face time with the patient. Doing this will not only allow you to fill your schedule with more revenue-generating appointments but also enable you to save time. Besides that, it will be a huge satisfaction for patients given that it will save them a long drive to your practice.

3. Join the Patient Self-Scheduling Bandwagon

According to a 2016 Accenture report, 77% of patients saw the ability to book, change or cancel appointments as being important. Five years later, this still seems to be the case. Today, more and more patients are becoming increasingly comfortable with online portals and apps. As such, it makes sense that they are allowed to schedule their appointments by providing them with a patient-friendly online scheduling system such as an AI smart chat on your website.

The end of the year is usually a busy period. Allowing patients to schedule appointments on their own without the need to postpone other engagements will increase your appointments. Additionally, it will allow you to relocate some of your front-office staff to other tasks other than scheduling, reminding, and re-scheduling appointments via phone.

4. Encourage Your Patients to Leverage FSA (Flexible Savings Account) and HSA (Health Savings Account) Spending

HSA is like a personal savings account, but the funds in them are meant to pay for healthcare expenses. Unlike other types of medical spending accounts, HSA is not subject to the "use-it-or-lose-it" policy that would cause account holders to forfeit any unused funds by the end of the year. FSA on the other hand is a tax-advantaged healthcare plan meant to help employees settle their medical expenses.

December usually triggers the onset of mild panic for many pre-tax benefit healthcare account holders, given that it is the final month of benefit coverage in the current plan year. This is especially true for individuals who own FSA accounts since these accounts don't allow rollover of pre-tax dollar savings from one year.

That being said, medical practices should review their patient list and send reminders to various patients to book appointments for various healthcare services before their FSA expires. This will ensure that your practice generates more revenue and your patients don't lose the money left over in their accounts.

5. Use social media marketing

Social media marketing is a great way of selling your services to potential patients. Suppose you have active social media accounts, you will be able to easily interact with potential patients by directly sending them messages, commenting on their posts, liking their posts, among other ways. Some of these interactions will be viewed by people in their social circles and it will create more traffic to your site and potential leads who can become patients.

Ensure that the information that you share on different social media platforms is relevant to the services you offer. Also, you should monitor your online presence such that you promptly respond to feedback from potential patients.

Whereas we all desire positive feedback, expect to find some negative feedback too. Try to make the best out of such reviews. Analyze them to find the reasons for the complaint and try to solve them.

6. Adopt an Appointment Reminder System

No-shows can lead to your practice incurring significant losses. In fact, according to a Healthcare Innovation study, missed appointments cost the US healthcare system $150 billion every year. You can reduce the number of no-shows by implementing an automated system that emails, calls, or texts patients at specific intervals before their appointment date.

Appointment reminder systems enable your patients to reschedule or cancel appointments up to a certain point, by directly responding to the reminder. You should remind your patients of your practice's cancellation policy—ensure that the policy is included in the appointment reminder until the patient confirms their appointment.

7. Create a Waiting List to Fill In No-Shows or Late Cancellations

No-shows and late patient cancellations are inevitable. That said, you can mitigate their negative impact by maintaining a waiting list of patients who would prefer that their appointment date be moved forward. Even better, you can use a system that enables you to send group texts notifying your current patient waiting list of the availability and have them respond to whether they are interested in the open appointment slot. Such a system eliminates the need to call your patients one-by-one until the appointment is filled.

Our Innovative Solutions Can Help Optimize Patient Appointments and Communication

DearDoc offers cloud-based solutions that can help you redefine the way you meet new patients. We are transforming the way patients interact with healthcare providers by offering a selection of innovative tools that modernize how you get in touch with your new and existing patients.Reach out to DearDoc to learn more about our solutions: