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The patient scheduling market is surprisingly complex for such a straightforward application. Most vendors offer some degree of medical appointment functionality, resulting in a fragmented market with hundreds of options for just about every medical specialty and size of organization. We have written this guide to help buyers understand the medical scheduling software market and know where to begin their research.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
“If I had a nickel for every missed appointment, I’d be a millionaire,” say most doctors. Computerized patient scheduling systems are designed to help alleviate the burden of no-shows and last-minute calls to reschedule. These systems help practices manage the process of setting patient appointments and follow-ups. At the individual level, systems help schedulers enter patient contact information and demographics, appointment times, reasons for visits and chief complaints, and billing or insurance information. The primary goals are to help practices automate the appointment process, maximize the number of patient visits, and minimize no-shows and cancellations.
More advanced medical scheduling systems will integrate with electronic medical records (EMR) or billing systems, provide automated phone, email, or text message reminders to patients, and allow patients to request appointment times and enter some intake information online.
Medical appointment scheduling software buyers will have the option to purchase a standalone system or a full suite of integrated scheduling, billing, or EMR modules. The right deployment option will depend on the buyers' requirements and budget. In general, most companies that offer medical appointment software require buyers to purchase multiple modules in a suite.
However, standalone medical scheduling systems can be more affordable than complete suites. Patient appointment scheduling vendors such as NueMD and Practice Management ULTRA offering standalone modules.
Another viable strategy for buyers looking for an affordable deployment option is to consider software as a service (SaaS), or online patient scheduling software. In addition to being a cost-effective way to get a medical appointment scheduling system up and running, web-based solutions can be easier to host and maintain because the system is installed off-premise and supported by the vendor rather than internal IT staff. PrognoCIS by Bizmatics is just one of many web-based practice management vendors with online medical appointment scheduling applications.
Before you can evaluate systems, you’ll want to know what buyer category you belong to. We believe 90%+ of buyers fall into one of these categories:
While the landscape is very saturated and may appear confusing, the available options can be segmented by their suitability to the different buyer and company types.
|This type of buyer...||Should evaluate these systems|
|Standalone system buyers||AdvancedMD, NueMD, MedLedger|
|Complete suite buyers||eClinicalWorks, Allscripts, NextGen EHR|
|Cost-conscious buyers||Microsoft Outlook, ScheduleView|
|Multi-location buyers||LeonardoMD, AdvancedMD|
These market trends should be considered as you select a system.
A scheduling tool should benefit providers, front office staff, and back office staff. Buyers should expect to realize the following benefits when implementing online medical scheduling systems:
The primary concern we hear from most buyers is data security. Buyers will want to ensure that the selected system is HIPAA compliant, and should be aware the most formal medical scheduling programs will meet HIPAA requirements. Many affordable options such as Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar are not HIPAA compliant. Surprisingly, we occasionally hear from practices using these systems.