Managing time is a major issue for all professionals in today’s fast paced world. This is even more so for many doctors, especially those who work at multiple locations: Clinics, Hospitals and Medical centers. Workshops on effective time management are regularly organized at different financial and IT firms to help hard working professionals. Gyan is imparted on setting Alerts for Reminders, and To Dos for Task management and the importance of diaries, blackberries and calendar reminders is emphasized here.
Physicians have a slightly bigger problem. Their schedules are majorly dependent on set appointments with patients. While they do have other areas of concern, the majority of their daily schedules are built around patient appointments. What complicates this for a consulting doctor is that every day he may have different visiting hours at different locations. This makes Time management even more crucial for Physicians.
Effective Appointment Scheduling for Physicians thus becomes an extremely important activity, and many firms are trying to make an industry out of it alone. It makes more sense though to ensure that Appointment Scheduling is not taken up stand alone, but is an integral part of an EMR system. Add an effective Appointment Management Process to an EMR, and you have added a strong case with Physicians on adoption.
The Appointment Management Process can be divided into 3 parts:
1. Appointment Scheduling
2. Scheduled Appointment Tracking
3. Patient Visit
- It should allow for different mediums of Appointment Scheduling
- E.g. Via a Website, Via A Phone Call, Via SMS
- It should permit Rescheduling
- It should be able to handle Walk-In Patients
- Besides the process, the screens should be simple – Non IT friendly users should be able to easily use it
- Color Coded Entries: Pending, Completed, No Show, Bill Pending
- Point And Click with Minimum Data Entry
- Should be rigid enough to prevent Scheduling Errors
- Should Support Multiple Doctors and Multiple Specialties
- Maintain 2 Daily Calendar Views
- Appointment View for Front Desk staff, Online Portal
- Scheduled Visits View for Physicians
Useful Features in an Appointment Manager which add value to the Appointment Workflow
- Email Reminders
- SMS Reminders
- Automated Phone Calls Reminding the Patients of the Scheduled Appointment
EMR'S: PROVIDING INDIAN DOCTORS WITH AN EDGE: Vol 1