Tag Archives: appointment reminders

How Medical Patient Scheduling Software Can Benefit Healthcare Organizations

Medical Patient Scheduling Software

Medical Patient Scheduling SoftwareMedical patient scheduling software was once considered a luxury but is now a highly sought-after feature by many patients. Compared to traditional appointment scheduling methods, medical office scheduling software is more patient-centric and can actually improve health outcomes due to improved medical care access. Appointment scheduling software allows patients to book their own appointments independently, check availability, view/edit existing appointments, and receive reminders for their upcoming visits. A patient self-scheduling solution not only benefits patients; many healthcare organizations have also experienced general improvements, including a reduction in no-shows and decreased labor costs.

Fully customizable features

With medical patient scheduling software, healthcare organizations can build in their own rules and requirements when booking an appointment. A patient scheduler can consider variables such as appointment type, provider, or location. Healthcare organizations can limit and control the type of appointments that patients can select when self-scheduling. Different types of appointments can be configured according to the average duration. This accommodates for variable time slots, which helps prevent overbooking and double-booking.

In some circumstances, certain appointment types may be too sophisticated for a patient scheduler to complete. For companies wanting the functionality of a self-scheduler, but who still wish to control some or all aspects of more complicated appointments, a hybrid model can be implemented so that healthcare organizations can get the best of both worlds. Within hybrid models, patients can “request” an appointment instead of fully booking one; a staff member can then contact the patient to work through the rest of the appointment process.

Reduce no-shows

Patient no-shows can take a toll on any healthcare organization since those vacant appointment slots cannot be filled last-minute. No-shows most often result in a loss of revenue from non-billable hours. Clinical resources are often wasted when patients don’t honor their appointments, especially in today’s current climate, where practices must take extra precautions to ensure patient safety. Self-scheduling software allows patients to take more responsibility for their healthcare appointments. Patients can conveniently verify, cancel, and reschedule their appointments, allowing staff to better manage the practitioner’s schedule.

Medical patient scheduling software
Decrease staff labor

Depending on the medical practice’s size, there will be at least one staff member whose sole responsibility is to manage a practitioner’s schedule. Making appointments, rescheduling appointments, and sending patient appointment reminders are just a few tasks that prevent practice staff from engaging in more critical tasks. Self-scheduling reduces the number of people required to answer calls and manage appointments, resulting in an immediate ROI. Medical office scheduling software automates the appointment scheduling process by allowing patients to book at their own convenience without staff intervention. Patients can select their healthcare provider and preferred visit time from a list of available appointment slots without assistance. If a healthcare organization handles multiple specialties and varying providers, healthcare appointment scheduling software can also be semi-automated for complex appointments that require staff approval. Medical patient scheduling software significantly reduces the amount of time your staff members spend on the phone booking and managing appointments for patients.

Medical Patient Scheduling SoftwareBridge’s patient scheduling software can be fully integrated into the healthcare organization’s EMR, PM, RCM, and API. This results in data being pulled and presented from the organization’s internal systems with data then fed back in from the self-scheduler. This process simplifies internal workflows, reduces staff intervention, saves time and money.

Patient scheduling software also helps prevent human errors when scheduling appointments since It standardizes and automates the scheduling process.

More and more healthcare organizations realize the benefits of implementing a patient scheduler. Evidence suggests a growing trend for the adoption of web-based appointment systems in all industries, and healthcare is finally catching up. Patient appointment scheduling software is no longer a luxury as it has become a necessity for many patients.

Michael McGinley (Director of Strategic Accounts), is an accomplished sales & management executive experienced in HIT sales, data analytics, and publishing. He is certified in management information systems and has a BA in business, in addition to an MS in information systems with a concentration in healthcare. Mike possesses a true commitment to sales and customer service.

How a Single Patient Engagement Solution Improves Patient Communication – Part II

Symbols And Signs Of Global Netoworking

How disparate and piecemealed patient engagement solutions inhibit effective patient communication.

Read Part I of this two-part article series: The Advantages of Having a Single Patient Engagement Solution

In the healthcare industry, successful organizations need to always be mindful of their consumer. Effective communication is one major factor that attributes to consistent patient retention and heightened patient engagement among healthcare companies. Healthcare organizations need to operate with simple, transparent, and important messaging in order to attain effective communication with their patients. This can easily be achieved by switching to a single patient engagement solution.

In the current market, many healthcare organizations are still operating using a multiple patient engagement solution. They will often purchase various patient engagement software systems (e.g. patient bill pay software, patient scheduling software, appointment reminders, patient portal, etc.) as opposed to buying one single solution. These multiple engagement solutions can severely impact the communication between a healthcare organization and their patients negatively.

Respecting Patient Communication Preferences

When an organization uses multiple patient engagement systems at the same time, it is nearly impossible to respect a patient’s communication preferences. There is no synchronization of preferences between an organization’s multiple patient engagement solutions and source systems (ie. practice management software, revenue cycle management software, electronic medical record software). A patient will opt-in or opt-out of receiving messages from one system, and another system will not be able to respect that patient’s request. Not only can this be an annoyance and violation of trust for the consumer, but it also poses the risk of serious legal ramifications for an organization. With a single, all-in-one solution, an organization possesses the ability to honor a patient’s preference when opting in or out of receiving specific messaging. 

Better Patient Communication

Disparate systems from different vendors generally don’t have the ability to communicate with each other so a patient’s communication preferences can’t be respected. For example, a patient might prefer email notifications over SMS, or if they change their email, the account would have to be updated in all systems manually (assuming the systems are not interfaced). With a piecemealed patient engagement solution, patients can end up receiving messages at inopportune times, or they receive too many unimportant or duplicate messages. This can irritate patients, causing them to opt-out of receiving any messaging at all. Practices will attempt to correct their patients’ frustrations by limiting their messaging, thus self-regulating themselves and not utilizing patient messaging to its full potential. A single solution solves this problem by ensuring coordinated, direct, and effective messaging to patients.

Go to Bridge to learn more about the ease and advantages of implementing a single patient engagement solution today.

Founder and CEO of Bridge Patient Portal, and business owner of 19 years with extensive experience in Healthcare IT. John is a Judge for the 2020 eHealthcare Leadership Awards and has appeared on multiple podcasts, including the Outcomes Rocket Podcast and the Hospital Finance Podcast.

The Advantages of Having a Single Patient Engagement Solution – Part I

Man selecting button from holographic digital screen

Why early adopting healthcare organizations are replacing their disparate and piecemealed patient engagement solutions for a second-generation single solution.

In the ongoing efforts to increase quality patient engagement, many healthcare organizations have come to acquire multiple patient engagement solutions. In an attempt to satisfy patient needs without overly disrupting their IT “status quo”, healthcare organizations will often buy multiple software solutions (e.g. patient scheduling, event management, patient education, medical records access, patient portal, appointment reminders, etc.) as opposed to purchasing a single patient engagement solution. This inevitably turns into a piecemealed patient engagement solution that creates a mine of issues to be uncovered in the future, both for the organization and the consumer alike.

Not only does this have a negative impact on the customer in terms of patient communication and messaging, but it also brings forth many problems for the healthcare organization itself. These multiple patient engagement solutions can cause issues internally with an organization’s source system as it attempts to interface with this multitude of software systems. Furthermore, from a financial standpoint, these piecemealed patient engagement solutions can be very costly for organizations as well. 

An Easily Interfaced System

With a piecemealed patient engagement solution, you are granting more access than is needed for each individual system. Each system (patient bill pay software, appointment reminders, patient education, etc.) needs to be interfaced with the EMR, PM, or other source systems. There is a greater potential for error, simply because of the larger number of interfaces, an organization must manage. A single solution allows for one simple interface to an organization’s source systems.

Cutting Costs

Healthcare organizations see significant financial benefit from switching to a single patient engagement solution. A piecemealed patient engagement solution has much greater costs associated with it, than with its singular counterpart. A single solution is of course more expensive, but the cost of maintaining multiple systems from multiple vendors and the unrealized ROI resulting from having solutions that are not fully utilized, makes a clear argument for a single solution.

Read Part II of this two part article series: How a Single Patient Engagement Solution Improves Patient Communication

Go to Bridge to learn more about the ease and advantages of implementing a single patient engagement solution today.

Founder and CEO of Bridge Patient Portal, and business owner of 19 years with extensive experience in Healthcare IT. John is a Judge for the 2020 eHealthcare Leadership Awards and has appeared on multiple podcasts, including the Outcomes Rocket Podcast and the Hospital Finance Podcast.

Bridge’s HIPAA-Compliant Appointment Self-Scheduling Solution

Updated on August 6, 2020.

Get your patients actively involved in their healthcare experience with Bridge’s HIPAA-compliant appointment self-scheduling solution.

Bridge’s Patient Self-Scheduling Feature

Bridge offers a HIPAA-compliant appointment self-scheduling solution that can cut overhead, increase patient satisfaction, and decrease the number of phone calls coming into and out of your office. It can ensure proper screening while enabling patients to schedule their own appointments in a matter of minutes. This patient appointment scheduling software was built to comfortably handle complex scheduling decision trees that are adaptable to any provider/specialty group as well as the unique schedules of their providers, without any disruption in procedures or workflow.

Bridge integrates with your existing systems and procedures; it makes use of current data and settings and capitalizes on work that’s already been done. Bridge also works with you to provide Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), which regulates who has access to schedule appointments, the appointment slots to make available, and more.

The patient self-scheduling feature works without staff involvement but Bridge provides support whenever you need it. The solution is HIPAA-compliant and secure-in/secure-out, giving you the privacy you demand.

The Bridge Patient Portal gives patients more control over their healthcare experience, delivering self-service tools that patients have become accustomed to in other industries (e.g., travel, banking, retail, etc.). Access to the HIPAA-compliant scheduling feature is available via the secure patient portal or Bridge’s mobile app – available on iOS and Android.

HIPAA-Compliant Appointment Self-Scheduling Solution

Bridge’s patient self-scheduling feature allows patients to complete a full HIPAA compliant scheduling workflow and book appointments in real-time.

HIPAA-compliant appointment self-scheduling, security, and privacy

In addition to HIPAA-compliant self-scheduling, Bridge offers several essential HIPAA-compliant patient engagement tools such as HIPAA-compliant messaging, HIPAA-compliant appointment reminders, bill pay features, and a HIPAA patient portal app.

Patients can receive appointment reminders via email in order to help them manage their time.

In order to understand why HIPAA compliance is so important regarding all of these features, we must remember the importance of patient privacy. Healthcare providers in the U.S. must comply with HIPAA regulations, which were designed to provide privacy standards in order to protect patients’ medical records and other health information. These regulations extend to all types of healthcare technologies that doctors might use to store and manage patient information. Although there is no definitive HIPAA certification for any organization, IT companies can be HIPAA-compliant. This means that they adhere to HIPAA regulations and take the necessary steps to ensure their products effectively protect sensitive patient information.

Bridge has a long history in helping healthcare organizations meet and understand HIPAA guidelines. To learn more about HIPAA and healthcare applications, please feel free to look through the resources below:
HIPAA and Healthcare Applications, Part 1 of 3: What You Need to Know About User Authentication
HIPAA and Healthcare Applications, Part 2 of 3: What You Need to Know About Auditing
HIPAA and Healthcare Applications, Part 3 of 3: What You Need to Know About Data Transfer

Do you need additional information on HIPAA compliance? If so, feel free to contact a Bridge representative today.

Michael McGinley (Director of Strategic Accounts), is an accomplished sales & management executive experienced in HIT sales, data analytics, and publishing. He is certified in management information systems and has a BA in business, in addition to an MS in information systems with a concentration in healthcare. Mike possesses a true commitment to sales and customer service.

How to Send Automated Medical Appointment Reminders Without Jeopardizing Patients’ Data Security

Updated on August 14, 2020.

Sending HIPAA compliant appointment reminders has been shown to decrease appointment “no shows” and has the potential to enhance the patient-provider relationship. However, given the concern about data breaches, automated appointment reminder software remains an underutilized feature of patient portals. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, medical appointment reminders are allowed under HIPAA privacy rules, which state, “Appointment reminders are considered part of the treatment of an individual and, therefore, can be made without authorization.” This statement means that providers don’t need to worry about breaching HIPAA while sending a patient appointment reminder.

To ensure that you and your patients are protected, Bridge recommends you do the following when launching a patient appointment reminder software:

  • Ensure your NPP (Notice of Privacy Practices) is updated and includes information about opting-in for appointment reminders by SMS and/or email.
  • The NPP should be explicitly clear and state something similar to “You’ll be receiving automated SMS text message/email reminders about your upcoming appointments. If you would rather opt-out, please notify us.”
  • Have patients verify their contact information, including their phone number, regularly.
  • Consider an additional opt-in outside NPP; many people do not read the NPP, and texting appointment data may be unacceptable to some people.
  • Give patients the option for a preferred method of contact, or at the least, the ability to opt-out of specific outreach methods.

appointment reminder software

Outreach methods

  • IVR reminders. Interactive Voice Response-based calls also support user-inputted responses (i.e., “Press 1 to confirm, or 2 to cancel your upcoming appointment”).
  • SMS reminders
  • Email reminders
  • Push notifications
  • Bidirectional patient messaging

What to Include in (and Exclude from) HIPAA Compliant Medical Appointment Reminders

When sending a HIPAA text message appointment reminder, it is best to avoid being too specific. Keep in mind that practice names can infer types of treatment or conditions. For example, “Oncology Clinic” clearly indicates that the patient has cancer.

Generic reminders include:

  • Appointment date and time
  • Provider’s first and last name
  • Location of the appointment

medical appointment reminders














By using these tips, you can get the most out of your patient portal and have peace of mind that you do not compromise your patient’s right to privacy or cause any data breaches.

By centralizing a patient opt-in/out preferences in a single system, you become more compliant, avoid the over-sending of messages, and can take greater advantage of these communication tools.
Once patients have received an automated appointment reminder, there are several responses a patient can choose. If a patient can’t make an appointment, they can reschedule through a patient self-scheduling software. This software provides patients with a means to contact their provider without calling into the office. Self-scheduling software ensures that a patient can work their way through the proper clinical screening and select from conflict-free times within the patient scheduler. A self-scheduling solution is built to handle complex scheduling decision trees and is adaptable to any provider group.

appointment reminder software

Features and benefits of Bridge’s patient appointment reminder software

Through extensive integrations into many of the industry’s most prominent EHR/PM systems, Bridge’s appointment reminder software can send HIPAA compliant appointment reminders using real-time appointment data. Our comprehensive appointment reminder software uses known patient preferences to notify patients of appointments on their preferred platform (Email, SMS, In-Portal, Push Notification Via Mobile App) and in their selected language.

  • Customizable Messages. Providers are able to send mass messages as well as messages customized for a specific patient.
  • Bilingual. All messages are available in English/Spanish.
  • HIPAA-Compliant. Bridge offers a HIPAA compliant patient portal, which secures Protected Health Information (PHI).
  • Push Notification Capabilities. Send alerts to patients via their mobile devices.
  • EHR/PM System Integrated. Appointment data is sourced straight from the EHR/PM System, such us Greenway Health™, Centricity™, and NextGen®.
  • Custom Triggered Notifications. Trigger specific notifications for different types of appointments.

There are multiple ways to ensure patient data security when sending automated medical appointment reminders. One way is to make patients aware of automatic reminders via an opt-in within the notice of privacy practices. Healthcare organizations should be conscious of a patient’s preferred method of contact. In order to maintain HIPAA compliance, all messages sent to patients, including appointment reminders, should not include any protected health information.

Josh Orueta, our Chief Technology Officer, joined Bridge Patient Portal in 2013 as a product owner. Previously he worked with Electronic Medical Records (EMR) companies, major labs, and Practice Management (PM) software companies in the US. Josh leads a talented team of developers to enhance Bridge’s patient engagement solutions continually.

The Benefits of Online Appointment Scheduling

Americans are busier now more than ever, and if healthcare organizations want to keep up, they must adjust their systems to complement the on-the-go lifestyles of their patients. One way practices are staying in step with their patients is by streamlining the process that gets the patients in the door. Many have turned to a patient portal solution to manage online appointment scheduling and send automated patient appointment reminders. Below we discuss how employing these two features can confront common appointment challenges and generate more satisfied patients, and, ultimately, more revenue. (more…)

Blake joined Bridge Patient Portal in 2016 after transferring from our parent company Medical Web Experts. Since then, he’s acted as Bridge’s Business Development Manager. Blake is passionate about driving collaboration with clients, partners, and internal teams to achieve performance goals and successful relationships.

How to Automate Administrative Tasks to Optimize Your Healthcare Organization

Introducing new technologies to streamline time-consuming processes can help your healthcare organization boost its bottom line by making more efficient use of your employees’ time. These simple recommendations will help you increase productivity, optimize operations and improve patient satisfaction.

1. Implement a patient portal.

bridge patient portalOnline healthcare portals don’t just provide benefits to physicians participating in Meaningful Use. In fact, practices and hospitals that aren’t enrolled in the EHR Incentive Program can get just as much value out of an online healthcare portal by streamlining some of the most commonly-performed administrative processes.

Implementing a patient portal software allows you to:

  • Let patients schedule their own appointments online. A portal can show patients available slots based on your practice’s calendar. This allows patients to make appointments without tying up your practice’s phone lines.
  • Respond to medication refill requests without picking up the phone. From your healthcare organization’s online portal, you can easily view all refill request submissions and either approve them or notify the patient to schedule an appointment.
  • Improve revenue cycle efforts. Many online portals allow patients to view account summaries and pay their bills online. If your portal integrates with your accounting software, payment information will transfer over automatically.

Reducing even a fraction of all incoming calls by pointing patients in the direction of an online portal can significantly increase productivity.

2. Automate the appointment reminder process.

There are two effective options that can help hospitals and practices notify patients of their upcoming appointments. Both are more efficient than assigning an employee to call each patient one by one. You can either set up email reminders or use an automated call system.

Email reminders – and even text message reminders – can ensure that today’s always-connected patients don’t forget about their appointments. After all, missed appointments cost your practice money and can be detrimental to patient health. For patients who prefer not to be contacted electronically, automated phone reminders are the way to go. A pre-recorded message in your own voice can add a personal touch to the reminder, and it doesn’t require staff to spend valuable time on the phone each day.

3. Focus on computerized charge capture.

Accurate charge capture is one of the most important processes for any successful business, yet it is one that many healthcare organizations take for granted. In fact, it is not uncommon for paper charge tickets to be lost or misplaced – and when that happens, that’s money that isn’t coming into the practice. To make sure this doesn’t happen, implement electronic charge capture processes, and phase out paper. There are many smartphone apps that allow physicians to easily capture CPT and ICD codes, which can then be transferred to a practice management system.

What other health IT tools has your healthcare organization implemented? Share them with us in the comments.

This article was originally published on the MWE blog.

Blake joined Bridge Patient Portal in 2016 after transferring from our parent company Medical Web Experts. Since then, he’s acted as Bridge’s Business Development Manager. Blake is passionate about driving collaboration with clients, partners, and internal teams to achieve performance goals and successful relationships.