A Virtual Centralized Scheduling Process For Healthcare Institutions

After the COVID epidemic, the majority, if not all, healthcare companies are aware of the advantages of utilizing a centralized scheduling solution to help manage and streamline the scheduling procedure. A centralized scheduling system provides many important benefits to a healthcare institution, but a virtual centralized scheduling system provides even more.

A general lack of knowledge about transitioning to a fully virtual centralized scheduling process prevents many organizations from realizing the efficiencies, benefits, and full potential a virtual option provides for the patient and the provider, even though more hospitals and medical organizations are moving in this direction.

We’ll define virtual centralized scheduling, look at the benefits of employing one, and look at a case study to see how one healthcare company profited from working with a virtual patient communication management service. Centralized scheduling, not to be confused with a medical call center or answering service, is the process of handling all patient appointments for a healthcare facility from a single contact center.


Defining Virtual Centralized Scheduling

Virtual centralized scheduling offers a similar centralized scheduling service that expands on the concept of centralized scheduling. While doing so, it uses a platform that is entirely cloud-based, off-site, and scaleable and was created to integrate and streamline every step of the scheduling, communication, and patient engagement process.

Virtual centralized scheduling continues to evolve, and in addition to managing the patient appointment and scheduling process, these comprehensive and virtual solutions are designed to manage a number of other essential functions for your medical practice, including:

  • Physician Referral Services
  • Appointment Reminders
  • Discharge Follow-Up
  • Chronic Care Management (CCM)
  • Revenue Cycle Management
  • Patient Access Consulting
  • Patient Education and Patient Outreach Services

In addition to assisting with general answering and scheduling service responsibilities, virtual medical communication specialists are also designed to:

  • Verify eligibility in specific insurance plan coverage
  • Assist with explanation and understanding of EOB services
  • Schedule preventative care
  • Address general inquiry related to patient billing and payment collection
  • Collect payment
  • Monitori and providing updates on submitted claims
  • Facilitate escalating or urgent matters by connecting patients with on-call physicians, nursing services, medical interpretation services, or pharmaceutical services.

As a result, virtual centralized scheduling and patient communication management optimize scheduling and registration workflow, increase patient and physician satisfaction, maximize client resource usage, and save overhead and expenses.


Benefits of Virtual Centralized Scheduling

Virtual Centralized SchedulingA powerful virtual centralized scheduling system is made to optimize the advantages for a medical facility.

One crucial area where virtualized centralized scheduling can significantly impact is patient satisfaction. Patients can easily feel annoyed trying to remember who they need to talk to and when they have to deal with many schedulers. A virtual centralized scheduling system keeps all the information in one place, guaranteeing that patients only have to interact with one person for scheduling and associated follow-up requirements.

As a medical or healthcare provider, you understand the challenge of scheduling your patient scheduling staff to meet your patients’ varied and changing needs. Call volume is often unpredictable, and when staffing cannot keep up with demand – or even the ebb and flow of patient call volume – your patients experience extended hold times and frustration and are more likely to hang up (rather than wait).

Today’s patients expect 24/7 service with availability that works around their busy schedules in order to meet their needs. It is necessary to rethink how “peak periods” are scheduled, including after regular business hours, on weekends, and even on holidays.

A dynamic virtual patient scheduling and communication provider who understands and adapts to the needs of today’s patients provides you with the “real-time all the time” service needed to be responsive in today’s patient scheduling and communication environment.


In addition to improved patient satisfaction, virtual centralized scheduling provides a wide range of additional benefits, including:

  • Improved productivity and better use of staff time. Responsive virtual patient communication services go beyond answering after-hours calls and addressing the unique needs of organizations, EHRs, and workflows.
  • Reduction of abandoned calls, no-shows, and patient leakage. An estimated 15% of healthcare calls are disconnected, and 70% hang up due to frustration. An effective virtual patient communication system reduces abandoned calls and no-shows by allowing patients to change or reschedule appointments anytime.
  • Significant resource and cost savings. Healthcare organizations need to provide high-quality service while minimizing resources and finances. Virtual scheduling platforms charge per usage, allowing organizations to save capital, redeploy capital, and reduce costs.

Although it may seem complicated, switching to a completely virtualized, centralized scheduling system is well worth the effort. Your healthcare organization may boost profits while also giving patients better treatment by enhancing patient satisfaction, enhancing efficiency, and lowering expenses.

Here’s how one healthcare organization successfully transitioned to American Health Connection’s virtual patient communication management service.


Case Study: St. Tammany Health System And AHC’s Virtual Central Scheduling Services Partner To Improve Patient Experience.

In order to make scheduling simpler for its patients, St. Tammany Health System, a preeminent healthcare organization in Louisiana, successfully worked with AHC to implement their virtual central scheduling services. AHC’s One Call For All services have reduced wait times and improved patient satisfaction, while St. Tammany Health System staff find it easier and more efficient.

Initially partnering to ensure patients were able to schedule appointments on their own, including after hours, the partnership quickly expanded to weekend coverage and back-up coverage for the existing call center on high-volume days.

According to Shannon Green, Director of the St. Tammany Health System, implementing AHC’s services has been a smooth transition, “Our patients don’t even realize they are talking to someone else. They think they are working with employees of St. Tammany Hospital. This is indicative of the high level of training that was done [by AHC] and the company’s commitment to producing the highest-quality products and services.”

Additionally, St. Tammany Health System valued AHC’s virtual services throughout COVID-19. St. Tammany Health System went to AHC and effortlessly transferred the call center and central scheduling services over at a moment’s notice because it was not built to provide central scheduling services from anywhere other than the office. St. Tammany was able to rapidly and successfully switch to AHC’s virtual services while other healthcare providers were struggling to provide basic scheduling services, freeing them to concentrate on other, more urgent challenges.

As a result of this successful partnership, St. Tammany Health Systems has continued to integrate AHC into its process. Most recently, transitioning Diagnostics and Health Screening responsibilities over to AHC’s virtual central scheduling team. A trend the organization sees expanding to other departments and specialties in the near future. Implementing AHC’s virtual centralized scheduling system at St. Tammany Health Systems has been a tremendous success. The services offered by AHC’s virtual central services team has resulted in decreased patient wait times, increased patient satisfaction, and increased efficiency among the staff.

If you are considering implementing a virtual centralized scheduling system at your healthcare facility and would like to learn more about the process used by St. Tammany Health Systems, click below to discover the benefits of virtual patient communication for your organization.


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