EHR/EMR scheduling plays a much more critical role in providing healthcare services than many think. Around 52.2% of practices spend at least 10 hours weekly managing appointments and returning patient calls or emails. By reducing this time, automated EMR patient scheduling boosts the performance of your medical staff. It also increases patient satisfaction and brings many other tangible benefits.
Since many standard EMR practice management solutions don't have a built-in EMR scheduler, you will need to integrate it. Or you may decide to develop a custom scheduling service adapted to the unique needs of your practice.
Regardless of what you choose, EMR appointment scheduling is a must-have. Learn more about how it works and the ways to implement it in this blog post.
What is EHR/EMR scheduling?
EHR/EMR scheduling is a feature you integrate with an electronic health records system to automate patient scheduling. It provides the front desk with direct access to patient information, allowing them to manage scheduling tasks with a few clicks. Medical staff can quickly schedule and reschedule patients, check their contact info, view available hours, the patient balance, and other relevant details.
EHR/EMR scheduling may also support online booking, enabling patients to manage meetings themselves. They can check available time slots in their accounts to request an appointment. Such functionality considerably streamlines administrative chores.
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Common features of an EMR appointment scheduler
There are many scheduling solutions on the market, but few of them are adapted to the healthcare industry. Therefore, you should prioritize a specialized EMR scheduler or develop a custom solution for your practice with the following features:
- Practice management. Keep your practice information in order, including patient details, clinicians' availability, and inventory.
- Appointment scheduling. Enable staff to book appointments for patients, edit their details, change time, and assign tasks to clinicians through a convenient portal.
- Automated notifications. Implement automated notifications to alert clinicians and patients about upcoming appointments through SMS, emails, or in-app messages.
- Patient communications. Use single- or two-way communication with patients to inform them of any changes or get messages from them.
- Appointment tracking. Record the duration or frequency of appointments to gather valuable analytical data and optimize your medical staff performance.
The listed functionality is a standard pack for scheduling in EMR software. Discover more features to include in patient scheduling software in our previous blog post .
6 benefits of an EMR scheduling solution
Appointment schedulers have a considerable impact on the work of healthcare facilities and practitioners. They also simplify the lives of patients who get an opportunity to arrange an appointment themselves. Here are the core benefits of EMR-integrated scheduling to note:
- Enhanced performance across teams
When staff sees each clinician's appointments, they can arrange the schedule more efficiently. As a result, every team member enjoys a properly planned working schedule to help as many patients as possible.
- Reduced wait time
The physician wait time reaches 52.4 days in Boston and 48.8 days in Yakima, Washington. Overall, the residents of large metro markets must wait for 24.1 days, which is a lot. Although medical scheduling with EMR cannot fully eliminate the wait problem, it helps hospitals get the most out of the available time. By effectively filling every slot, they can serve more patients faster.
- Improved patient experience
When patients can select the most convenient time for a hospital visit, they are more satisfied with healthcare services. They feel like they can control what happens with treatment.
- More transparent resource management
Since the EMR scheduling system automatically records every appointment, its duration, and other details, your staff can redistribute resources more efficiently. The EMR scheduler also generates a large volume of valuable data for resource management analytics.
- Paperless record management
Automated appointment scheduling with EMR eliminates the need to use paper records. Instead of making notes or keeping a journal, staff checks everything online.
- Increased revenue
Automated scheduling optimizes work, bringing more revenue. But that's not all. Patients are more likely to choose a practice with convenient scheduling. And the more patients you serve, the more you earn. 68% of patients say they would prefer a medical provider that offers the ability to book, change, or cancel appointments online. The percentage of no-shows also reduces.
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Checklist: How to choose an EMR appointment scheduling solution?
If you want ready-made EMR scheduling software for your practice, you must spend some time researching available options. It will help you sieve out services that cannot meet your business needs.
Use this checklist as guidance to choose the best EMR appointment scheduling service:
- The solution directly integrates with your clinic's EMR.
- The system supports many EMR or PMS integration options to avoid limitations in the future should you decide to switch systems.
- The scheduler updates data and changes in real-time.
- Staff can access patient information through a single interface to arrange appointments with minimum effort.
- Users can specify appointment type and duration.
- The solution enables staff to restrict booking for some appointment types, clinicians, or dates.
- Patients and caregivers can book, cancel, or re-book appointments themselves.
- The solution allows staff to send post-appointment follow-up messages with summaries or surveys.
- Patients receive automated updates when appointments are created, updated, or canceled.
- The solution allows you to create customizable notifications to notify clinicians and patients about schedule changes.
- Staff can create an automated waitlist to notify patients when a specific time becomes available.
- The software ensures HIPAA compliance and meets the requirements of other industry regulations.
7 best EMR scheduling software solutions for patient appointments
With this top-rated selection, we want to ease the search of EMR-integrated scheduling services for you. Check out these popular scheduling and practice management solutions for healthcare vendors to choose yours.
NexHealth is a patient booking platform that integrates with EHR systems to introduce real-time scheduling, 1-click booking for patients, waitlists, and online reviews. It allows you to embed scheduling into websites or text/email messages and supports automated reminders for staying in touch with patients. You can also choose NexHealth for EHR integration to get advanced healthcare marketing tools. It offers automated custom messaging to nurture patients and promote your services.
Phreesia, which used to be QueueDr, is an appointment accelerator with EMR integration. It automates patient intake, referrals, consent management, payments, and appointment scheduling. By picking Phreesia, you get a whole bunch of features to benefit your healthcare management. They also provide robust analytics for financial, operational, and clinical insights.
Thus, this solution may be an excellent option for providers who need many features Phreesia offers. Yet if you only want appointment scheduling, you should look for a simpler platform.
SimplyBook.me is a cloud-based scheduling solution that is not primarily intended for healthcare users. Nevertheless, some practices choose it to automate scheduling. This platform has a free subscription which may be particularly useful for beginners.
It provides a booking confirmation site you can integrate into your existing website and client & admin app. You should remember that this functionality isn't tailored to EMR integration. So if you plan to grow your practice, you'd better choose something more sophisticated.
DrChrono is an iPad and iPhone-compatible EHR for managing patient intake, patient care, billing and revenue cycle, e-scribing, patient eligibility checks, and appointments. Its main goal is to make EHR functionality mobile and accessible from any device.
The scheduling functionality is embedded into the electronic health records platform. So either you take it all, or you need to look for a separate tool. That's why DrChrono is unsuitable for practices that already have an EHR/EMR system.
MedEZ is an EHR and billing suite for medical facilities such as behavioral health and substance abuse rehabilitation centers. Depending on your capabilities and preferences, you can deploy it on-premise or in the cloud. MedEZ supports a daily scheduler, single- and multiple-doctor scheduling screens, email/text notifications, group appointments, and waiting lists. It's an EHR mainly suitable for middle and large-sized companies adopting electronic records.
eClinicalWorks online appointment scheduling is built on their primary EHR solution. Besides a convenient scheduler, this platform offers many other tools you need at every stage of the patient care delivery process. You can manage patient engagement, implement telehealth meetings, gather population health data for analytics, launch messaging campaigns, and more. Clinicians can even use its Eva virtual assistant that helps to review patient records, optimizing routine tasks.
SimplePractice is a cloud-based practice management solution for private practices. It's easy to use and supports all standard features like scheduling, payment processing, telehealth, claim management, and documentation.
This service is focused on mobile. It has iPhone and Android apps to do scheduling, note-taking, messaging, and other operations on the go. You can test it for 30 days before purchasing. Overall, SimplePractice is more suitable for small practices.
If none of the listed EMR for scheduling options meets your needs, you may develop a custom scheduler. Tailored software usually ensures better performance and more relevant functionality than ready-made solutions. Besides, you don't need to pay for features you won't use.
Have your own EMR scheduling solution
Custom software development is a preferable option for most healthcare companies. As the healthcare industry is super demanding, providers have difficulty finding a scheduling solution that matches their needs. For this and other reasons, you may opt for custom EMR scheduling development in the following cases:
- If out-of-the-box solutions don't offer the necessary functionality
- If you don't want to pay extra for unnecessary features in ready-made tools
- If out-of-the-box solutions don't integrate with your existing software
- If you're going to sell scheduling software to third parties as a vendor
- If you want to ensure maximum patient data security
Binariks is a healthcare software development company that can help you with EHR scheduler integration or development. View our completed projects to understand how we work and contact us for a talk. We will analyze your company's needs to advise the most effective tech solution in your case.
Appointment scheduling is an additional integration for EHR/EMR systems, yet it considerably affects the performance of healthcare practices. Hence, you must integrate a ready-made scheduler or develop a custom feature for your system to work efficiently.
Contact Binariks for custom EMR scheduler development or to get help with integration. We will evaluate your needs and recommend which solution can yield the best results.