7 Ways to Make NextGen EPM Appointment Scheduling Easy

Appointment scheduling is a costly part of practice management; it is often messy, overly complicated, and prone to error. Each mistake and patient no-show adds to an expensive industry problem. The annual cost of missed medical appointments in the US is $150 billion. Contact TempDev to make NextGen EPM appointment scheduling more manageable.

Medical practices have an opportunity to become much more profitable and productive if they minimize the number of patients who miss appointments. There’s also an opportunity to improve the bottom-line with streamlined scheduling workflows. Creating a more efficient, accurate approach to scheduling, reminders, and patient communications can lead to operational efficiency, happier physicians, and more satisfied patients. 

NextGen Practice Management workflow improvements can open the door to numerous benefits for practices. Not only is manual appointment-scheduling a time-consuming administrative burden, but it’s also not always the best choice for patients. Increasingly, consumers prefer the convenience of using a smartphone to schedule appointments and request medication refills on their own terms and schedule. Partnering with TempDev to drive NextGen scheduling workflow improvements can make scheduling more accessible, faster, and more accurate. 

1. Simplify Administration 

Schedule administration can be complex, particularly when schedulers are balancing multiple physicians’ calendars with patient needs. The complexity multiplies for practice groups with more than one clinical site. Maintaining accurate knowledge of physician availability and requirements is no small task, and it’s easy for schedulers to make errors. Each mistake can lead to rescheduled patients, patient no-shows, or excessively long wait times for patients. 

NextGen Practice Management offers drag-and-drop scheduling functionality to accommodate the needs of multiple care providers and patients easily. It’s straightforward to update availability in seconds across multiple calendars and resources. You can right-size your software to your practice and specialty with features that flexibly accommodate numerous physicians, care specialties, and healthcare sites. 

2. Self-Serve NextGen Patient Portal 

Online appointment booking has can significantly reduce staff workload, according to academic research. Patients increasingly prefer to use online booking systems for non-healthcare appointments, like salon visits or personal training. It’s no surprise they many consumers expect the same technology and convenience from their physician. 58% of healthcare providers use online booking tools to provide secure, confidential patient scheduling. 

NextGen Patient Portal allows for secure self-service and can reduce the administrative burden of practice management with scheduling, check-in, and messaging. These capabilities are available to patients from any internet-connected computer or mobile device. 

For more insight, we recommend 5 NextGen Electronic Patient Registration System Benefits. 

3. Automate Appointment Reminders 

Adopting automated appointment reminders can significantly reduce missed appointments. In many cases, it can substantially reduce the time-consuming task of manually calling patients for appointment reminders. 

Automated reminders are associated with a 29% reduction in missed appointments. Practices can begin communicating with patients on the individual’s own terms, including secure text or email reminders. Offering text messages and email can reduce the rate of missed calls and reminder efforts that leads to happier patients. 

4. Target Cancellations and No-Shows 

Last-minute cancellations are an administrative challenge for medical practices. Practices need a comprehensive suite of tools to reduce cancellations and no-shows that also improve overall profitability metrics. Practices that minimize patient no-shows realize an average annual cost savings of $25,000 per physician, according to NextGen.

Manual scheduling methods using standalone calendaring tools are prone to error and associated with a higher rate of patient cancellations. NextGen EPM scheduling software includes smart features to help staff fill last-minute openings using a number of tools. Last-minute openings can be made available to patients who call scheduling, log into the NextGen Patient Portal, or new patients in the community via ZocDoc. 

5. Adopt eMedicine Capabilities 

Self-service NextGen EPM appointment scheduling can inspire patients to adopt the NextGen Patient Portal. On-demand appointment booking can encourage patients to use other self-serve portal capabilities and drive higher patient satisfaction, engagement, and retention. In addition to on-demand appointment scheduling, the NextGen Patient Portal offers features such as:

  • Appointment Reminders
  • Communication Preferences
  • eHealth/Telehealth Visits
  • Online Payments
  • Medication Refill Requests
  • Secure Provider Messaging

Each of these features can reduce the administrative burden of patient phone calls and manual work. Patients don’t have to call in and wait in a queue to ask a quick question, request a refill, or pay a bill. Practices can drive better efficiency and adopt new lines of business with telehealth services. 

6. Create Schedule and Patient Access Reporting 

Scheduling can be tied into practice-wide initiatives to improve workflow efficiency, reduce error rates, or pursue other measures of administrative quality. Creating an electronic scheduling workflow establishes a trail of data for practice reporting and data dashboards. 

Scheduling is a component of patient access or a smoother patient experience. Some examples of patient access key performance indicators (KPIs) to include in scheduling dashboards are: 

  • Average Phone Call Hold Time
  • Average Phone Call Length, or Handle Time
  • Self-Serve Scheduling Adoption
  • Average Patient Wait 
  • Patient No-Shows
  • Patient Cancellations
  • Waiting List
  • Referrals
  • Average Time to Appointment
  • Physician and Staff Utilization
  • New Patient Scheduling Intake
  • Patient Registration

NextGen’s appointment data can be viewed with TempDev’s Appointment Analysis NextGen EPM Report or by developing custom dashboards with the help of TempDev. Data dashboards provide reporting-at-a-glance to help practices achieve better quality and patient access metrics. 

7. Integrate 

NextGen offers a broad suite of technology partnerships to drive better practice management and growth. These built-in integrations can be a simple way to scale your clinical technology stack for easier and more powerful administrative capabilities. Some key partnerships to consider include:

  • ZocDoc to fill short-notice availability with local patients looking for care
  • PatientPop and RedSpot Interactive for practice growth and patient acquisition
  • Doctible for better patient communication and retention
  • Televox or NextGen EDI for automated appointment reminders via email, text, and call
  • Healthwise for enhanced electronic and paper-based communications about patient care

Conclusion: Simplify Your Practice NextGen EPM Appointment Scheduling and Admin

Appointment scheduling isn’t just a time-consuming administrative burden for medical practices. It’s also key to the practice’s overall success and profitability. Accurately scheduling patients and providers leads to happier people, less manual work, and better patient retention. 

NextGen EHR and Practice Management technologies have a number of features to reduce manual scheduling activities at medical practices. Simple, drag-and-drop appointment capabilities create better visibility and control, even across complex Physician schedules and multiple practice sites. Practices have an opportunity to improve patient access, satisfaction, and profit by adopting the self-serve patient portal, integrations, and automation. 

Are your clinical appointment scheduling workflows efficient? TempDev’s team of seasoned NextGen EHR consultants can identify opportunities to create better processes and a more optimally-managed practice. Click here or call us at 888.TEMP.DEV to learn more.

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