Make Your Healthcare Scheduling System Stand Out with Calendar Sync

Author: Kristina Proffitt

9th August 2018

Access to healthcare for patients that have mobility issues, cognitive issues, or that aren’t available during traditional working hours can be tough. This means patients often miss out on vital care.

But they shouldn’t have to.

Healthcare scheduling systems make it a faster, easier process for patients to book and cancel appointments.

When scheduling systems work like online marketplaces, customers can book appointments with someone who has the skillset they need at their own convenience.

Healthcare professionals, meanwhile, can benefit from more flexible working hours and more control over the money that they earn.

They can sign up, fill in their profile, indicate their skills, where they can visit, and when.

Patients can then book appointments with nurses, carers, physiotherapists, and other healthcare practitioners based on their availability and location. It’s a simple, fast, and versatile process.

It can take up to 18 weeks to get an appointment on the NHS for non-urgent treatment. Allowing patients the ability to choose their healthcare provider and give them the option to book their own appointment means they can get their health issues dealt with faster. This is particularly useful for patients who may need last-minute and/or out-of-hours care.

When two-way calendar sync is added to these marketplaces, nurses, carers, physiotherapists, and other healthcare practitioners can organize their time in a more efficient way.

Let’s take a deeper look.

Benefits for patients

Not every patient is able to make it to the hospital or a doctor’s office for treatment. That means long waits until someone is available to come to them. But even if their need for care isn’t urgent, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to get their health problems fixed ASAP.

Online healthcare marketplaces mean that patients can be seen faster. The location of treatment is more flexible, as are the times when treatment can be provided. Patients can be treated at home, or visit a private healthcare facility. Should they need out-of-hours treatment, this can be arranged more easily too.

Using this model, patients aren’t tied to a specific healthcare company or professional – they have the flexibility to choose someone that fits their needs. This means that even if the person they usually see is unavailable, they don’t have to miss out on their treatment.

Those who need regular care can have recurring appointments set up so that a healthcare professional always sees them on a set day/time. Additional services can then be added in around this to suit their needs.

Because carers, nurses, etc can visit their homes, patients also save money. They don’t need to worry about costly public – or private – transport options, or the difficulties that can come from travelling when ill. This puts patients more at ease and can help with their recovery.

At-home carers who may need help to look after their loved one can also book extra support this way, even at the last minute. This allows them to have some recovery time for themselves, safe in the knowledge that their loved one is still receiving the best care possible.

Booking appointments is also faster. Patients don’t need to pace around while they’re on hold, or email and anxiously wait for a reply. All they need to do is connect to the website, pick their time slot, and they’re done.

Appointments can then be pushed to patients’ calendars right away. Should anything change – such as a nurse or carer becoming unavailable – this can be updated in their calendar, too.

Appointment reminders – or notifications of any changes – can also be sent via their calendar, which is a cheaper alternative to text message reminders. This ensures patients don’t double-book themselves or forget to cancel their appointment if they don’t need it any more.

Benefits for healthcare practitioners

Unlike with traditional healthcare models, online marketplaces mean that professionals have more control over their schedules. If they can’t work from 3-4pm because they’re picking the kids up from school, they can block that time off as unavailable. They’ll then never appear as available to potential patients at that time.

When the marketplace syncs with their calendar, patients won’t be offered appointments when the professional’s schedule is full. That means there’s no risk of them being double-booked, whether that’s with two patients or a family commitment and a work commitment.

Buffer periods can also be added in to ensure that healthcare practitioners have plenty of time to travel between patients. This prevents two appointments at opposite ends of a city from being too close together and making the practitioner behind for the rest of the day.

Geolocation data can even be added to calendar events, informing them of how much time it will take to get to their next patient based on real-time traffic and travel data.

Online marketplaces are also a way for healthcare professionals to grow their client list. Without needing to invest in any marketing, they have a list of hundreds of potential new customers as soon as their account is created.

For any professionals looking to earn some extra money, allowing them to work flexibly during evenings and weekends gives them the chance to do so while tapping into skills that they already have.

Benefits for healthcare marketplaces

Cancellations don’t have to results in missed appointments or visits when healthcare scheduling systems use real-time calendar sync.

Instead, the newly opened time slot can immediately appear as available to patients looking for a healthcare professional. This increases the chances of someone else booking that slot, even if the cancellation is made at the last minute. Businesses and healthcare practitioners then don’t miss out on revenue because of last-minute cancellations. Schedules are less likely to have vacant bookings, meaning that healthcare marketplaces can benefit from more commission.

Value-adding features such as real-time updates create a more positive experience for users. They’re happier with the service that they receive, making them more likely to share it with their network. This helps the business to grow faster – after all, there’s no more powerful endorsement than word-of-mouth.

When calendar sync is added using a unified calendar API, it involves minimal maintenance and set up. Once the integration is built, that’s it. There’s no ongoing maintenance to worry about.

Conclusion

Calendar sync is used in many ways by the healthcare industry to provide a better quality of patient care. Marketplaces are just one example of how they can do this. It’s a faster, more cost-effective way of booking appointments. Regardless of a patient’s needs, they can find someone to fit their situation in just a few clicks.

Healthcare practitioners can benefit from more flexible working hours. It can work in tandem with a traditional healthcare role to boost their income, or they can offer their services privately. They’re in full control of how and when they help patients.

Marketplaces, meanwhile, get a percentage of each transaction that’s made. Should they use a unified calendar API to implement their calendar sync, they don’t have to worry about ongoing maintenance, either. They can then use this time saved to add more features to the software. They’ll then attract more customers and create a higher level of customer satisfaction.

To find out more about how calendar sync can help with online healthcare appointment bookings, check out our Zesty case study.

Avatar of Kristina Proffitt

Kristina Proffitt

Date: 9th August 2018 | Category: Healthcare