When patients call a health system to schedule an appointment, they expect the same experience whether they’re talking to primary care, neurology, or pediatrics. And they expect to be able to get an appointment that meets their preferences for location, date, time of day, and provider.
In theory, this should be an efficient process, but it usually isn’t. In a large organization, different departments and medical practices typically maintain different sets of scheduling rules. These rules often change and, in some cases, are only documented on paper.
When scheduling policies and procedures are siloed and decentralized, errors can occur, appointments are missed or skipped, and revenue is lost. This results in a poor patient experience and frustration for staff and providers.
Enterprise Scheduling Optimization
Fortunately, there’s a better way. Using existing functionality within Epic Cadence, an Enterprise Scheduling Optimization Project (ESOP) can help organizations efficiently guide patients to the ideal appointment based on their preferences, resulting in fewer no-shows and better schedule balance, among other benefits.
In our new guide to scheduling optimization, our Epic experts explain how health systems can improve efficiency and increase revenue by getting patients to the right provider at the right time in the right location using automation and questionnaire-driven Decision Trees in the Epic scheduling solution.
An ESOP requires specialized technical expertise from outside consultants and an investment of time and effort from internal staff, but the ROI on these projects can be significant, helping clients achieve the following 10 goals:
- Reduce cancellations, no-shows, and re-visits. Ensuring that visits are scheduled where and when patients want them improves the patient experience, provides for a more predictable schedule, and leads to increased visit volume and practice revenue.
- Reduce number of visit types. This decreases the complexity of scheduling visits with specialty practices, streamlines the scheduling process, and gets patients’ appointments on the books faster.
- Reduce scheduling inbound call length. This allows staff to schedule and confirm an appointment date, time, and provider with a patient in less time, improving the patient experience and decreasing the likelihood of being put on hold.
- Reduce time to Third Next Available Appointment. This common KPI metric is a reflection of expected patient wait time. Decreasing this number increases the likelihood that a patient can schedule an appointment when desired, which improves satisfaction and retention rates.
- Increase first-call resolution. Enable patients to schedule or reschedule an appointment, or otherwise get answers to their questions, without having to hang up and call a practice directly and/or call back when the practice manager is in the office.
- Increase visit volume. With patients less likely to no-show or cancel, practices can conduct more visits in the same amount of time. Increased volume improves efficiency, which in turn improves revenue capture.
- Increase resource utilization. Increased visit volume allows practices to better utilize physical equipment, such as MRI machines or blood labs. Meanwhile, efficient scheduling enables highly skilled clinical staff to “practice to their license” while low-acuity visits types are router to NPs and PAs.
- Reduce insurance claim processing time. Decreasing complexity in scheduling workflows means that patients are more likely to be scheduled for the right appointment at the right time with the right provider. This streamlines claims processing, as errors or missing information are less likely.
- Reduce claims denial rate. The accuracy of information captured when an appointment is scheduled – such as visit type, provider name, and new vs. returning patient – decreases the likelihood that claims are incorrect and therefore likely to be denied.
- Increase revenue capture. The combination of accurate coding, reduced denials, and increased visit volume all enable a practice to capture more revenue.
At Healthcare IT Leaders, our Epic experts have a track record of success with optimizing and centralizing scheduling for large provider organizations throughout the United States. Download our free guide to learn more.