Did you know around 52.2% of medical practices in the USA spend over 10 hours a week on patient communications related to appointment booking? But even after spending all that time on clerical tasks, they still miss out on around 42% of customers who prefer booking appointments online instead of on-call.
Clearly, an online medical appointment booking platform is the need of the hour for the clinical institutes that want to remain relevant in the current digital age.
While meeting customers’ expectations remains the foremost reason clinics invest in appointment booking software, it has many other benefits that can help hospitals and clinics fine-tune their workings. And in this blog, we will explore all those benefits and see how you can get a medical appointment schedule software developed as well.
But first, let’s talk about…
What is Medical Appointment Scheduling Software?
A medical appointment booking software is an automated platform that helps medical practitioners manage their schedules and patients’ appointments. Many of these platforms come with either a mobile app or a web service that allows patients to book an appointment online too.
Since the software carries a lot of potential in improving a clinic’s productivity and consequently revenue, many organizations are actively investing in them. In fact, there are many subscription-based software in the market that hospitals use by paying per user or per location. These software solutions come with a range of features considered necessary for a smooth management of medical appointments.
However, if a hospital needs to have a custom solution with extensive features like automated data processing with EHR (Electronic Health Record) and EMR (Electronic Medical Record) systems, they will have to invest in developing a new medical appointment booking software, that is tailored to meet their specific needs.
Now whether the software is custom-developed or has the general features, one thing is for sure, these are the perfect solutions to bring efficiency in the process via automation, and round-the-clock availability. Other benefits that come along when investing in such a software include-
Benefits of Investing in an Appointment Booking Software
Long hospital queues are always bad for both hospital business and patients, who sometimes have to wait for hours for their turn to come. Moreover, keeping hospitals filled with patients waiting for their appointment limits the number of new patients who can come down to book an appointment. It all gets solved with the placement of a medical booking software-
- Patients can book an appointment whenever they want to. It solves a major problem accepted by as many as 1 of 5 patients, who find the wait for practice to open before booking an appointment the biggest setback.
- Better patient satisfaction as they can choose the appointment time as per their convenience, instead of just getting handed the next available slot.
- Clinical staff will have more time to complete other administrative tasks, thus increasing their productivity.
- Pre-assessment of patient’s medical history will be possible to keep appointments short and effective.
- Appointment reminders can reduce no-show incidences by up to 29%.
Essential Features of the Medical Appointment Scheduling Software
Though you may choose to have certain additional features for your medical appointment scheduling software, there are some indispensable features without which the software will not be useful at all.
Registration and Login
This feature is essential for your software to allow new and existing users to have authenticated and personalized access to the software. You can enhance this feature's functionality by allowing frequent users an easier access. For more crucial roles, you can also add an option for 2-factor authentication.
Both doctors and admin users of the software must be able to manage appointment and booking slots from the back-end. Without this feature, the software will not be effective at all. It will constantly need a tech expert to make changes to its usual settings.
Both patients and doctors should get notifications for both confirmation and reminder for their appointments. These notifications can either be sent as an automated SMS, email, or in-app notification.
When it comes to collecting and storing patients' private medical records, it is essential to be aware of and make facilities for compliance with regulations like HIPAA. It will not only make your software more trustworthy but will add to your efforts in preventing data breaches.
It is an important feature for any medical booking software. This way, both insurance verification and medical employee adjustment can be automated. The feature will primarily use all the taxes and rebates details to create invoices for the patients. Additionally, it can be used to send payment reminders and verification details to the users.
Exclusive Features as Per Different User Roles
The software will have different panels for all the different kinds of users. This way, the interface can be better personalized, and the data access configurations can be simplified too.
|Calendar Management||With the calendar feature, the admin will have complete control and view access for all the doctors’ appointments. They can also see which doctors have the most high-rated reviews for their appointments and where most cancellations happen.|
|User Management||Admin will have exclusive access to manage all the different kinds of users on the app. For patients, they will be able to manage contact and medical information, as well as their appointment briefs. And doctors can manage their schedule, appointments, profile details, and even the kind of access they have to individual patients’ details.|
|Finance Entries||Admin must have direct access to all the entries made by patients who opted to pay upfront for their appointments. With this feature, they will have a better means to manage the flow of money. Also, patients, who do not opt for paying before the visit, can be sent reminders for payment via the same interface.|
|Analytics Reports||It is the role of the admin to maintain reports on the business aspect of the hospital. And since almost all the data can be accessed from this software, it makes sense if they’re also able to use the software for reporting purposes. Here they can collect cumulative and comparative data on booked and canceled appointments, revenues, and the bottlenecks in the services.|
|Manage Settings||Users with admin access to the app must be able to change its configurations. They can change how each user can access the data on the software and if the data itself needs to be migrated to some other server. They can also opt in and out of different APIs to have complete control over the software.|
|Booking Appointments||Patients must be able to book an appointment in the least time. The interface here should be clear and intuitive. Moreover, the necessary information should also be asked in an orderly fashion, so you do not overwhelm a new patient when all they may want at the moment is immediate help. The essential information you can collect here would include, patient’s name, doctor’s name, reason and type of visit, and insurance number.|
|Managing Medical Records||Registered patients must be able to upload their medication and health history on the platform. This will save them from repeating the exact details every time they make an appointment. The clinic can also opt to update the newer records on the software itself, giving patients the print option if they need a hard copy of the same.|
|Communication Facilities||Often patients may face some confusion in regards to the medication or might uncover some new symptoms. During such times, it becomes extremely inconvenient for them to book an appointment again to clarify their doubts. Having a messaging facility on the software can relieve them of this dilemma.|
|Schedule Management||Doctors must be able to manage their schedules. With the schedule management feature, they can log off for the days when they might not be available at the clinic. The software will take care of the time-slots shown on the patient’s end of the interface.|
|Access Patients Records||Having a common platform with both doctors’ and patients’ records can minimize the need for repetitive communication. Physicians can easily find the medical and health history of their subsequent patients right there in their dashboard. In one tap, they will know the reason for the appointment, previous medication, and family health history and can jump right into helping them with their present condition.|
|Reminder Notifications||It’s not just patients who could use reminders for their appointment. This becomes especially important if your clinic is one of the busier ones. Doctors may get called up for consultation, which in a real-life scenario can take hours to resolve. In such cases, if the doctor is notified of an appointment at least an hour beforehand, they would be better able to manage their schedule. These reminders can also help doctors to pre-assess patient records before they’re actually in the same room.|
|Patient Communication||Giving an easy option to the doctor to communicate with the patients will bring ease and efficiency to the entire process. The doctor can reach out to the patient via an in-built messaging facility for a follow-up, and the patient can respond to it as and when they want. There will no longer be any need for both parties to remain available at the same time.|
Additional Features to Improve Online Medical Appointment Scheduling
Automated Push Notifications
With push notifications, you can ask patients to confirm or cancel an appointment which they may have booked a long while in the past. These notifications can be sent 24 hours in advance to make necessary changes in their schedule or cancel the appointment from the notification itself. This way, you will help your patients stay updated and reduce the cases of no-shows for your clinic.
For those patients who, either due to health or geographical restrictions, cannot visit the physician at your clinic, you can add the option for a tele appointment. In case you see many such requests on your platform, you can integrate a custom solution for televisits here as it is. Or else you can simply add the section to book a virtual appointment and then schedule the same on any third-party service provider.
You can further reduce the losses incurred due to no-shows by adding a custom feature to the waiting list. Here users who could not book an appointment at a given time and date opt to be notified if any of the booked slots reopens. With a simple automation script, you can send updates to these patients in the 'virtual waiting room' as soon as there's a cancellation on their preferred dates.
Big Data Analytics
With all that data you're collecting from your users, it will be a waste if you don't utilize it to enhance your users' experience. You can gather the data to reduce the wait time for patients further and bring value to them when they visit a physician. The software analytics can help you uncover bottlenecks in your services and tell you whether the difference between demand and supply is at the highest.
Steps to Build a Medical Appointments Mobile App
Now that you know all the must-have and novelty features you can add to your appointment booking medical app, it’s time to see how you can build a medical appointments mobile app.
1. Market Research & Planning
Planning and market research plays a crucial role in the development of custom software for medical appointments. First things first, you need to know what features you need to add to your software. While you are free to have as deep of a feature set in your software as you want to, there are some industry-wide used features that you must include in your software as well. You can settle on which features to add to your app by evaluating all the problems you want your appointment booking software to solve. You can also simplify that by analyzing your competitors’ software and other schedule booking software in the market, and how their respective user base is responding to them.
Other than that, you need to know your user base as well. An app like this doesn’t have a single user type. For instance, on top of patients, medical professionals and hospital administration staff will also be using this software. So, you need to decide the different kinds of access to the software data. You can plan for a complementing online booking mobile app for the users or instead research for APIs to add on different web services from where data can be pushed to your software database.
Based on all this information, you can then decide what all technologies you’re going to have to invest in. For example, if you want to maintain records of patients’ medical history, health history, and appointment briefs, you will need big data integration with your software. Similarly, if you opt for an online booking system that can work in conjunction with your software for patients, you will need mobile app development technologies like Swift and Flutter.
2. MVP Prototyping
Once you have jotted down all the central features for the software and know what technologies you’re going to use, it’s time to develop an MVP prototype for your software. This elementary version of your software will have all the essential features. It will give you a real-time demonstration of how the different features will communicate with its different components.
In this stage, you need not worry about the interface of the app. Rather take this stage to understand the workflow of your software. You will also get to decide whether or not the features you have chosen so far are good enough to give it a competitive edge.
By the end of this stage, you will have seamless peer-to-peer communication between the back and front layers of the software. Your software will also be functioning smoothly, only needing now a better interface to make it easy for even non-tech adept staff to use it.
3. Design Creation
By the nature of its application, a medical appointment booking system needs to be very easy to use. It should allow your administrative staff to complete repetitive tasks immediately. If you want your software to be integrated with a service for online booking by patients, you will also need to make sure that the interface is quite intuitive for them.
Here, you can use some of your market research on existing online appointment booking medical software and see what features are working the best with your target audience. Then, you can create a custom wireframe for your software by improving on the MVP screens.
4. Software Development
Now, with the MVP and interface both ready, it’s time for you to assemble all the different components of the software. It is at this stage where you will integrate your software with the legacy and cloud databases. Everything will be accomplished from security configurations to wireframe storyboarding by the end of this step of software development.
5. Quality Assurance
Since your software will be used for medical purposes, it must remain bug-free through and through. It necessitates the presence of experienced Quality Assurance engineers. They will ensure that before the software reaches the end-users, it is functioning exactly as it is supposed to.
However, when you include QA specialists in your development process from the first iteration, they will be able to eliminate bugs before they can create dependency faults. This will help you ascertain that the software is ready to be deployed on the pre-set timeline.
With the development of full-service software for medical booking, you have already accomplished a substantial amount of work in the digitization process for your clinic. Now, it’s time for you to deploy the custom software into your practice. At first, you will need to train all the end-users. Simultaneously, you can start migrating your data to a similar cluster to facilitate quicker fetching.
To simplify the deployment, you can take the help of documentation and interactive tutorials. This will not only help your existing team members in understanding the software sooner but will help you set a standard operating procedure that your new employees can quickly adapt to.
Development Process & Methodology
In general, medical appointment scheduling software is used by a variety of users. You will have doctors working with it, performing pre-assessment on patients’ medical history. Patients themselves would be using the software to book an appointment for themselves. H administration will also be using the software to manage the calendars of all its doctors and analyze the information to gain business insights.
All these different panels need to have access to consistent data, increasing the complexity of its features. This is why it is ideal to go with the Agile methodology when developing software so full of features. The methodology will allow you to divide the development tasks into manageable sprints. This will ensure that the feature dependencies are maintained throughout, and, in the end, you will get the software with most features much sooner.
Hire a Team for an Efficient Development Process
For medical appointment booking software development, you will need various specialized experts to make the work go smoothly.
Cost Of Appointment Medical Scheduling Software
The development cost of a medical appointment schedule software depends on multiple factors. Whether the software will be an in-house deployed system or an extension to an existing web service? Will the software have a mobile version? How many users will need direct access to the database? And most importantly, how many features it will have.
Considering all these factors, the cost of such software can go over a million dollars. And even though there are subscription-based solutions, having an in-house deployed system outweighs the price benefits in the long term.
So, instead of subscribing to a pay-per-user or a similar subscription model, you can invest in IT staff augmentation services. Such services will allow you to maintain a good pace over your project, and at the same time, save you a tremendous amount of money.
At Matellio, we offer staff augmentation IT services for development, designing, DevOps, etc. Our experts will formulate a plan with the right balance of skilled experts as per your project requirement so that your medical appointment booking software can get developed as per your preferred timeline.
To know more about our staff augmentation models or get a free quote for your medical scheduling software development services, you can fill out this form now.
From no-shows to business misses during non-office hours, a medical booking system can help you plug multiple revenue leaks. Plus, with integration with EMRs and other automated systems, you can simultaneously enhance the productivity of your staff. And though you can get subscription-based free online medical appointment scheduling software to solve all these problems, investing in a custom solution will likely give you better results.
A custom medical appointment booking system will ensure that you’re keeping pace with the digitization in the market and maintaining a step ahead of it with a bespoke solution that meets your specific requirements. Now, when it comes to custom software development, you can only rely on experienced experts.
With decades of experience in software development, Matellio can prove to be your best ally. Our industry experts understand the pain points of your target audience. They can help you conceptualize a solution that meets their needs to a T. Our skilled developers have worked for industry leaders, creating bespoke solutions for their business problems. The team of dedicated experts in cloud and mobile app development will also aid you in completing the entire development process much sooner. Want to know more? Fill this form now to book a call with our consultants and get a free quote for your online medical appointment scheduling software today!
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