The importance of patient scheduling and 3 tips
Whether you're a physician or you work in hospital management, you already know how important scheduling is in the medical environment. Unfortunately, a growing problem for hospitals and clinics of all kinds are missed appointments.
There are a number of problems that arise when patients miss their appointments. For starters, a missed medical appointment could pose serious health risks for the patients at your hospital, especially if they receive medical treatments during their appointments.
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Even if it's just a routine checkup, when a patient misses an appointment and keeps putting it off, it could mean the difference between catching a disease early on or once it's too late.
Medical concerns aside, missed appointments can wreak havoc on the scheduling process at your hospital.
Patients who miss their appointment usually want to reschedule at their convenience, which is seldom convenient for the physician at hand. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to reduce no-shows at your hospital.
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Email, text, and phone call reminders
More often than not, patients forget they even have an upcoming appointment. Likewise, the chances of no-shows increase the more time there is between each appointment.
The article "NHS to reveal cost of missed appointments" mentions the fact that the cost of missed medical appointments is on the rise. To avoid the expenses associated with no-shows, it's important to remind your patients of their upcoming appointments.
You can do so through email and text; just make sure you send reminders with plenty of lead-time. If you don't receive a response and the appointment is less than 24 hours away, consider calling the patient to make sure they're still coming.
If your hospital has a patient portal on its website, you can require patients to check-in to their appointments a day or so before the appointment date. Pre-appointment check-ins help expedite the appointment process, which is a benefit for your patients and your hospital.
You can also setup check-in alerts through the patient portal that notify your patients when they fail to check-in ahead of time.
These alerts, which can be sent by email or text via push notifications, also serve as reminders themselves.
Convenience is one of the main factors when it comes to your patients making it to their appointments.
By offering a flexible appointment schedule, you can meet the scheduling needs of each individual patient, which greatly reduces no-shows.
To accomplish this, make sure you offer appointments five days a week. Likewise, consider offering limited appointments on Saturdays as well. In addition, consider offering family appointments, which allow multiple family members to meet with their primary care physician during the same visit.
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Finally, try to be as flexible as possible with rescheduling cancelled and missed appointments. If a patient is willing to reschedule at a later date, give them any and all options that meet their criteria, especially if they notify you in advance about their cancellation.
If missed appointments plague your hospital, then try some of the pointers mentioned above.
About the author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including health care and hospital management.
Dubai's new smart neuro spinal hospital: need to know
We take a look at Dubai's new smart hospital.
What: The Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre is a new hospital featuring state-of-the-art technology for spinal, neurosurgical, neurological, orthopaedic, radiosurgery and cancer treatments. The 700 million AED hospital, (equivalent to £138 million), has 114 beds, smart patient rooms, and green spaces for patient rehabilitation, and is four times the capacity of its former premises in Jumeirah. It is also the UAE’s first hospital to have surgical robots.
Where: The hospital is located in the Dubai Science Park. Founded in 2005, Dubai Science Park is home to more than 350 companies from multinational corporations in life sciences, biotechnology and research; over 4,000 people work here each day.
Who: The UAE's Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre was first established in Jumeirah in 2002 by Dr. Abdul Karim Msaddi, as the first as the first "super-specialty" neuroscience hospital.
Why: With advanced diagnosis and robotics, the hospital will provide care across neuroscience, spine, orthopaedics and oncology for people residing in the UAE, as well as international patients.
Prof. Abdul Karim Msaddi, Chairman and Medical Director of the hospital, said: “We are proud to bring world-class healthcare services to Dubai and believe our next-generation hospital will be a game-changer for the emirate’s and the region’s medical industry.
"It will not only significantly increase the availability of specialist neuroscience and radiosurgery treatments and provide better patient care but help attract and develop local and international talent. Investing in the new centre represents our continued faith in the resilience of the region’s economy, as well as a testament to our ongoing drive towards healthcare innovation in the UAE.”