How to Develop Medical Scheduling Software?

For healthcare institutions, medical scheduling software can be a literal lifesaver. Automated, efficient, and error-free scheduling works wonders for anticipating medical needs and dealing with workload distributions.

And it is indispensable both in times of emergencies and routine shifts. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of scheduling software, its core features and highlight the differences between custom and ready-made solutions.

The Benefits of Physician Scheduling Software

Inefficient time and resource management are common reasons for business failures, and the Healthcare industry is no exception. Though implementing scheduling software is an investment with a steep learning curve, it brings plenty of benefits for medical professionals, administration, and patients:

  • Patients, doctors, nurses, and managers access real-time appointment and shift information anytime, anywhere.
  • Medics get a forward warning of appointment cancellations and rearrange the schedule to maximize scheduling capacity.
  • Hospitals are better equipped to handle sudden demand spikes and prevent medics from overworking by imposing daily and weekly shift duration limits.
  • Scheduling errors are non-existent because appointments and cancellations are handled automatically, and the hospitals avoid losing income.
  • Patients can get acquainted with the medics before the appointment, and doctors can receive the patients’ medical information before the scheduled visit.
  • Push notifications, SMS, and email reminders reduce the number of missed appointments.
  • Flexible shift scheduling that takes the medics’ preferences into account increases employee satisfaction and reduces churn.
  • Automated and customizable reports help hospital administrators make better patient and employee-related decisions.

The Must-have Features of Medical Scheduling Software

The final list of scheduling software features should be adjusted to fit the needs of a particular hospital or practice. However, some are must-haves, including:

  • Sign up / sign-in form for patients, doctors, and managers with built-in security features, such as two-factor authentication, to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive medical information.
  • Profile dashboards for patients and medics with pertinent information about the patient’s medical history or the doctor’s experience and qualifications.
  • Automatic scheduling system to arrange online or in-person appointments at the preferred date and time.
  • Reminder notifications via email, SMS, or push notifications to reduce late arrivals and missed appointments.
  • Insurance eligibility verification system to ensure the medical services rendered will be reimbursed.
  • Waiting room management systems to accelerate the check-in process and facilitate both virtual and in-person appointments.
  • Messaging platform to enable direct communication between the patients and the physicians before and after the appointment.
  • Calendar synchronization with Google or Apple accounts for doctors and patients to provide better planning capabilities.
  • Feedback aggregation helps patients choose the right medical professional based on their reviews and expertise.

More features can be added to integrate the scheduling software with pre-existing solutions within the hospital ecosystem and maximize its efficiency and usability.

Custom vs. Off-the-shelf Appointment Scheduling Solutions

The core features listed above are the bare bones of the scheduling app. Most are usually available in ready-made solutions. Hospitals, practices, and medical institutions can get their hands on pre-made software within days, and the prices are moderately affordable.

Customer support and detailed documentation are also obvious arguments in favor of off-the-shelf scheduling solutions. On the downside, they can’t address every requirement and need, are available to the competition, and are difficult, if not impossible, to adjust and modify.

Custom software development is more costly and time-consuming. However, customized solutions are tailored to meet every scheduling need and are much easier to integrate into existing ecosystems.

Moreover, custom software can be adjusted to address the data security needs of a particular institution that are becoming increasingly demanding as new regulations come into effect.

Ready-made scheduling software is a solid short-term solution for small businesses that don’t have an extensive IT budget. Custom software development is more of an investment, though when done right, it can become an invaluable part of the unique value proposition.

The Takeaway

Healthcare digitization is gaining traction, and scheduling software is an integral part of the shift towards the higher patient and employee satisfaction for medical institutions of all sizes. Scheduling solutions offer countless benefits by implementing merely a few basic features.

However, customized solutions can bring additional value for internal and patient-facing processes.