Improve patient care with a medical appointment scheduler

Danny Rodriguez

7 min read Last Updated Jan 30, 2023

A doctor and his patients talking during a visit that was setup by a medical appointment scheduler.

Scheduling appointments can be a stressful experience for patients. Whether it’s figuring out directions, dealing with traffic, finding a parking spot, or actually scheduling an appointment, there’s a lot that can go wrong before even meeting with a doctor.

And while most of these are outside of your control, you can help reduce this stress by taking advantage of a medical appointment scheduler. In this blog, we’ll talk about the benefits of a medical appointment scheduler and how to decide which one will improve patient care at your practice the most.

What is a medical appointment scheduler?

A medical appointment scheduler is a software application that lets patients book appointments with their medical providers online. This tool can easily integrate with a medical practice’s existing website or mobile app. It’s a convenient feature for patients because they’ll have the ability to see available appointments, select their preferred date and time, and enter their contact information all from their computer, smartphone, or tablet.

7 benefits of a medical appointment scheduler

There are many reasons why your practice might want to use an online medical appointment scheduler. These benefits could help streamline your operation and become a differentiator between you and your competitors. Some of the benefits include:

  1. Saving time – An online medical appointment scheduler can help save time by automating the scheduling process. This means that patients can schedule appointments without having to call or visit your office. This frees up your staff so that they can focus on other important tasks.
  2. Fewer phone calls – An appointment scheduler can also help reduce the number of phone calls to your office. Fewer phone calls create a calmer environment and less distraction, which can help improve patient care. 
  3. Less scheduling errors – By giving your patients the ability to self-book, you can reduce potential scheduling errors. This can help eliminate double booking and the need to reschedule.
  4. Better communication – Patients will need to provide their contact information when scheduling an appointment. This can make it easier to communicate with them about their appointments or any other matters related to their care.
  5. No more missed appointments – Medical appointment schedulers are often equipped with features that send reminders to patients about their upcoming appointments. This is very important because no-shows cost the healthcare industry about $150 billion per year.
  6. Appropriate staffing – A scheduling system can also provide valuable insights into when your practice is at its busiest. Understanding your peak days and hours will let you staff accordingly – making sure patients get the best care and avoiding staff burnout.
  7. Improved online reputation –  By providing a streamlined and efficient scheduling process, a medical appointment scheduler can help to reduce the number of negative reviews related to scheduling issues. This can help to improve a doctor’s online reputation.

Medical appointment system for multi-location practices

For medical practices with multiple locations, a medical appointment scheduler can be a real game changer. With this tool, patients can easily book appointments at the location that is most convenient for them. This can save a lot of time and hassle for both the practice and the patient.

A medical appointment scheduler can also help make sure appointments are properly spaced out and that no slots go unused. As a result, you can maximize the efficiency of the practice. This will help ensure that patients get the care they need in a timely manner.

Getting started with a medical appointment scheduler

A doctor using their medical appointment scheduler to check their upcoming appointments.

There are a number of different medical appointment schedulers available, so be sure to do your research before making a decision. A good start is to look at a scheduling platform that is able to meet your needs both in the short and long term. Here are a few other things to consider before making your selection:

  • Ease of Use – You’ll want a medical appointment scheduler that is easy to use for both you and your patients. Look for a scheduler that is user-friendly and offers features that will make scheduling appointments quick and easy. 
  • Cost – Compare the cost of different medical appointment schedulers before making a decision. You’ll want to find a scheduler that works with your business goals but is also within your budget. Also, look for ones that offer free trials at the onset.
  • Integration – It’s important to choose a medical appointment scheduler that integrates with your existing electronic health records (EHR) system. This will allow you to easily transfer patient information into the scheduler and save time on data entry. 
  • Features – When choosing a medical appointment scheduler, be sure to look for features that will benefit both you and your patients. Some features to look for include automated reminders, calendar syncing, a mobile app option, and technical support. 
  • Customization – A scheduling app should offer the ability to customize the way it looks. You should be able to apply logos and select different color schemes and themes so that you can stay on brand.
  • HIPPA compliant – A medical appointment scheduler must make sure patient information is kept confidential and secure. This includes only giving authorized personnel access to patient records, and that all information is encrypted. By keeping patient information protected, medical appointment schedulers help to create a safe and trusting environment for patients.
  • Scalability – As your practice expands, the scheduler will need to be able to handle an increased number of appointments as well as easily accommodate multiple locations and specialties.

Frequently asked questions about medical appointment schedulers

What does a medical appointment scheduler do?

A medical appointment scheduler is responsible for coordinating appointments between patients and medical providers. Medical appointment schedulers may also provide support to medical providers by keeping track of their schedules and reminding them of upcoming appointments.

How can I improve my appointment system?

Make sure the scheduler is simple to use. This will make it easier for patients to schedule appointments, and will also help to reduce errors and confusion. Also, look for a scheduler that integrates with your existing systems and provides support just in case something goes wrong.

Which factors affect appointment scheduling?

The number of patients waiting to be seen, the time of day, and the availability of appointments are all factors that affect scheduling. In addition, the type of practice (primary care, specialty care, etc.) and the location of the practice can also affect appointment scheduling.

What are the most common scheduling problems?

There are a few common scheduling problems that can occur, such as availability, patients not showing up for their appointments, doctors double-booking, patients being unable to find an appointment that fits their schedule, and staffing issues.

Birdeye Appointments: Your patient scheduling solution

Scheduling appointments is typically the first interaction your practice will have with a patient. Because of this, you want to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible. With Birdeye Appointments, your patients can easily book appointments using our intuitive layouts and no-frills workflows. Watch our demo and learn how you can streamline your appointment process today.

Originally published Oct 26, 2022, updated