Open-Source Scheduling, Should My Practice Use It?

Open-Source Scheduling

Over the past month, we have spoken a lot about how technology is changing the medical practice field on the blog and how it can give your practice a competitive edge. We are seeing this trend more and more with Open-Source Scheduling. Medical practices have started adapting this trend in a bid to operate more efficiently and increase their capacity – but is it actually working? Or is it allowing patients to book non-emergency appointments on the same day and then simply not showing up?


The answer is yes. Your medical practice should definitely be embracing this change. It creates flexibility in your medical practice and lets you meet your patients needs in a timely manner.

But let’s look at 4 of the common concerns medical practices have about open-source scheduling:


1. What if I am not fully booked for the day?


It can be nerve-wracking for doctors to start the day with open appointment slots. But it is important to keep in mind demand and supply. By having the flexibility to take bookings on the day your practice should see a drop in its no-show rate by using open-access scheduling according to a study by Kaiser Permanente.


2. Do I need to force all my patients to book on the same day?

Open-access scheduling is not just about same day appointments. It’s about leaving a few slots open for that day as there is rarely any value in delay. It’s not about forcing your patients to schedule a day-of appointment but by providing them with the option so that they can decide to make use of it or not. Your patients can still make traditional long-range appointments and schedule follow-up visits as normal.


3. What if the change makes my patients unhappy?

According to a survey by physician recruiters Merritt Hawkins & Associates, it usually takes 20 days to an appointment with a family physician. And in another survey by Software Advice over 97% of respondents reported frustration over wait times. By opening up your practice to open-source scheduling you can de confident your regular patients will be pleased with shorter wait times.


4. Will there be an extra workload with open-source scheduling?

Initially, yes. A successful shift to open-source scheduling means seeing more patients every day to work down the backlog before your practice can start taking same-day appointments. But once that hurdle has been tackled, you might find the workload and stress levels at the practice reduce.

With open-access doctors will spend less time trying to make room in their schedule for urgent appointments and front-line staff will be on the phone less or for shorter periods of time when making bookings.

The key to implementing open-source scheduling is by creating a plan. Make sure all your staff are on board with the change in order to ease the transition. Trying something new is always scary at first, but it’s important to keep the benefits in mind and the impact it will have on your long-term profitability.

Is your practice using open-source scheduling? What are some of the benefits you have discovered? Let us know in the comments below!


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