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6 Key Features in Appointment Scheduling Software Development

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Appointment scheduling software development is a valuable practice among SaaS companies. Here, scheduling patient visits is an integral part of the process for clients and clinics. 

Because of these apps’ convenience, scheduling software boosts the user experience you offer your clients and is becoming an integral asset to many service providers. The market for appointment scheduling software made up $223.83 million in 2019 and is estimated to double by 2027.

So why should you consider developing an appointment scheduling app, and what features should it provide? Let’s discuss.

What Is Appointment Management Software?

Appointment SaaS is a type of software designed to arrange appointments via a website, mobile application, or tablet software. Scheduling services greatly help businesses where meetings and proper time management are essential to operate, such as in the healthcare industry. Here, patients’ visits are planned according to the doctors’ available time slots.

For which service do people most prefer appointment management software?
Figure 1. Survey — For which service would you most prefer to book an appointment online? 

An appointment scheduling app can provide different features, from round-the-clock booking to feedback collection after the appointment — it all depends on your mobile application development goal. Overall, the usual process of using the app looks like the following:

  1. The patient sees available time on the doctor’s calendar, chooses the most convenient time, and books it. They may then get a call or email from the clinic to confirm their booking.
  2. Before the appointment, the patient receives a reminder about the upcoming visit to the doctor and has to confirm it.
  3. After the visit, the patient may be able to pay for it and leave feedback in the app.

Besides, you can also offer a live queue sign-up and check-in, which will notify the patient when the expected time of their turn in the queue is even before they have made it to the clinic.

Why Is Schedule Software Important?

With the growth in online services, people have become used to having a lot of things done in just several clicks. It is simpler, quicker, more convenient, and less tiresome.

That is why online bookings are becoming a preferred choice among customers — as you can see in Figure 2, more than 50% of the customers are frustrated by scheduling over the phone, and around ⅓ of clients will choose a service provider offering online booking.

Why use schedule software for your business?
Figure 2. Why use scheduling software for your business?

Besides, mobile scheduling services provide massive automation opportunities. Automated appointment booking, visit confirmation, online check-in, automated payment, and other capabilities bring your business processes to the next level.

So what are the particular benefits of building an appointment SaaS? Let’s discuss.

Benefits of Scheduling and Calendar Software

Developing an appointment scheduling app for your healthcare institution benefits your business, the staff, and clients. You get better staff performance, improved customer experience, and increased revenue. Here is a detailed overview of the benefits of mobile scheduling services.

1. Increased Staff Efficiency

With an automated scheduling solution, there is less pressure on the staff regarding things they have on their plate. When bookings come automatically, specialists can focus on more thought- and effort-demanding tasks instead of spending their work time communicating with patients to set up their appointments.

Besides, appointment SaaS reduces the number of employees, such as making the call-center team smaller or eliminating the need for a counter host. This way, the system will handle the patients without additional human interaction since patients and doctors can see and manage their appointments independently and directly in the app.

2. Higher Customer Retention Due to Convenience

Scheduling appointments with the software is effortless — you open it, see a free slot that matches your time, and press Book. Or, if there is no convenient time for you right now, you check the doctor’s calendar to find one later in the week, month or year. As simple as that.

When compared to booking a visit to the doctor over the phone, calendar software development allows patients to avoid hanging in line waiting for a free operator or being limited by business hours to make an appointment. 

And this convenience will attract more new clients, especially if your competitors do not offer the solution. At the same time, the online booking feature will retain patients by giving them an elevated user experience.

Besides, online scheduling allows for a reduced decision time regarding new clients. Having come across your service, a person may change their mind on the visit as they dial your number, then wait for the operator and go through the available slots auditorily.

Instead, it is a matter of a moment to book a visit via an app when the potential client is hot, which promises more converted leads in the long run. Lastly, app users can be offered exclusive deals to attract new users and retain the existing ones.

3. Less Human Error

There is a high chance of human error when things are done manually. Especially during peak hours, when many patients call to book an appointment, it is easy to double-book or book the wrong time. Of course, this translates into patients being dissatisfied with the service and doctors facing missed visits.

But a calendar management solution prevents these mistakes from occurring. It is impossible to double-book within the app, and rescheduling is straightforward, while the newly freed time is immediately displayed on the shared calendar. After all, automating visit scheduling is just more reliable.

4. Centralized Calendar Management

With scheduling software, managing a calendar is accessible from any place and even device for all users involved. For example, doctors can check out and adjust their calendars on the commute. Likewise, patients can see the time and date of their appointment while away from home or the clinic, and clinics can have an overview of how busy they will be during a particular period.

And in case any sudden changes need to be implemented, such as booking, rescheduling, or canceling an appointment, all three parties can do it, while the others will see the change instantly. So the software helps manage information in one place while keeping patients, doctors, and clinics up to date.

5. Minimized No-Shows

A scheduling app will often notify the user about an upcoming visit to the doctor and require the person to confirm their appointment. Thanks to this functionality, it is easy to find out beforehand if the patient cannot make it on the booked time and cancel or reschedule the appointment. 

Of course, this prevents the case of a patient just not showing up and leaving the visit empty for the doctor without the opportunity to fill it in with another patient. 

6. Better Analytics

An application for appointment scheduling and calendar management gives you lots of room for data collection and analytics. Because you can see the total number of patients, visits, and other details across various periods, you can make the most use of this data to improve the performance of your business.

With an overview of how busy the staff and clinic are at particular times, patients’ feedback, and other metrics, you can boost the quality of the healthcare service you provide. Analytics enables service providers to allocate staff effectively, provide expected waiting time to patients and track customer satisfaction rates.

7. Increased Revenue & Cost Savings

Because an appointment scheduling app offers automation, medical staff can focus on taking care of patients and provide attentive, personalized service of high quality. That converts into a higher customer satisfaction rate and increases your chances of being recommended to their friends and family. Eventually, the number of clients grows, bringing more revenue.

At the same time, the free time slot is displayed immediately after an appointment has been canceled; it can be filled with another person. Eventually, the decreased occurrence of no-shows helps provide more service and prevent related financial losses.

Additionally, you do not have to hold employees to schedule appointments because the booking process is automated. So you save your cost on operators.

Key Features of Appointment Management Software

The set of capabilities your scheduling application features will differ depending on its goal and target audience. But there are still some common useful features this type of software should offer. Here are the go-to features for appointment management software in healthcare.

1. 24/7 Online Scheduling

Round-the-clock appointment scheduling services are the most valuable capability of the software. The patients need to have an opportunity to book a visit whether they are at work during the day or staying up late in bed — there should be no limits on when they can book an appointment. 

And, of course, this applies to canceling or rescheduling the appointments. However, it may be a good idea to make a time limit on how soon before the visit the person can cancel the appointment. The limitation will prevent last-minute cancellations and make sure someone else will have the opportunity to book their slot. 

Otherwise, providing maximum flexibility and freedom to patients on when and where they can book their visits without back-and-forth communication with the staff is an essential feature to include.

2. Calendar Auto-Syncing

To make the system work as designed, you need to include the automated synchronization for all calendars involved, namely the ones of the patient, the doctor, and the clinic. The reason is that only live updates across all calendars will enable the app’s proper performance.

For example, if a time slot has been booked by a patient and the calendars have not been synced, another customer may book the same time, which results in double-booking. At the same time, with no timely auto-syncing, the doctor will not be able to see an accurate schedule for the day and plan other activities for the time when a patient has booked a visit.

Naturally, such errors lead to poor customer experience and, in the long run, low satisfaction rates, which is not what any service provider ever wants for their business.

3. Automated Reminders

The next feature in your appointment scheduling app is triggered reminders and in-app notifications. In detail, a patient may have booked an appointment with a doctor in advance. Hence there is a high chance of them forgetting or confusing the dates or the time. So the patient may simply forget to come to the visit or reschedule it.

That is when reminders come to the rescue. When the day of the patient’s appointment comes closer, the reminder will automatically pop off on their phone. It is also the place to add a confirmation request so that the patient can confirm that he or she will be able to make it or reschedule the visit if they cannot.

In such a way, the calendar will look as accurate as possible, and the number of no-shows will be minimized.

Features of calendar software
Figure 3. Features of appointment scheduling software

4. Payment Gateway

An integrated payment solution is another feature you should add to your appointment SaaS to make it more beneficial for yourself and the app users. When there is an option to pay for the service via an app, it is faster and just easier for patients. Besides, payments can be retrieved automatically based on whether the appointment took place or not. 

For the service providers, this again automates manual processes and replaces the need for patients to pay near the counter. Besides, in-app payments help avoid missed visits — the app will automatically make the payment after the visit. That will motivate the patients to avoid a no-show by canceling or rescheduling appointments if they cannot come.

In addition, the patient and the clinic can easily see the payment history in the app without needing to keep paper checks. 

5. Feedback Forms

Feedback forms help you stay in touch with your customers and improve your service for them. Just push a notification to the patient after their visit to find out how it went, providing them with an opportunity to let you know if they have any suggestions on what can be done better.

6. Reporting

The capability to generate reports based on data from the app, like the number of visits, their duration, and other information, enables analytics, which, as mentioned earlier, help make sure your business is going in the right direction. 

With this feature, patients can get an overview of their visits, while doctors and clinics can see how busy they are and how they perform in terms of the service they provide. Overall, you can track as many or few metrics as you need to boost the patient experience you provide. In the long run, using analytics to your advantage translates into the growth of your service.

Wrapping Up

Appointment management software is beneficial to your service, especially in the healthcare industry. It increases staff efficiency, retains customers, enables centralized calendar management, and brings other enhancements to the user experience you provide. 

While features like 24/7 online booking, calendar auto-syncing, automated reminders, payment gateway, feedback forms, and reporting are essential for this type of software, you may consider adding some other capabilities to your scheduling app. Just contact us to design and develop a superior application.

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