Since one of the major selling points for virtual medicine is how much easier it can make patient appointments, it is key for your medical clinic to learn early how to properly schedule virtual visits.
To be frank, an off-the-cuff, haphazard approach here would be detrimental to the functionality of your clinic, as well as the confidence patients have in your telemedicine approach. As such, it’s best to develop a process – or at least a series of rules to follow – as it relates to the online doctor’s appointments you schedule.
This will take some work upfront, but once developed, the plan should set up your practice and its patients for positive telehealth experiences.
To get started, consider these strategies:
Designated Days and Times:
Have you ever tried to be in two places at once? Be it as a doctor or a member of any other industry, doing so is downright impossible.
Once you have chosen to use an easy and secure telemedicine solution at your clinic, you should try to conduct virtual appointments on days, and at times, when you don’t have in-person commitments.
Even if you think it’ll be easy to hop back and forth between in-person and virtual visits, eventually this process will prove to be a grind. By blocking out, let’s say, Thursdays from 9am to 12pm for online doctor visits, you’ll be able to stick in one spot and run through all appointments without wondering where you need to be for the next one.
What’s more, this type of scheduling will make booking appointments much simpler for your clinic’s administrative team.
Provide Clear Direction
Not every patient will immediately grasp how to see a doctor online and will subsequently need substantive direction ahead of time.
While this may prove to be a big challenge on occasion, your clinical staff needs to be available to offer guidance when necessary. If a person’s request for assistance is ignored or insufficient, they could skip their online doctor’s appointment, or wind up being very late to it. Either way, this has the possibility of derailing your schedule and wasting your valuable time.
After an initial and immediate wave of guidance is given to a patient new to online medicine, you can have greater confidence in them making their scheduled appointment.
Create Breathing Room
In the event that a patient runs late for a live video chat online with you, or someone on the call experiences a brief technical blip, it’s ideal to have breathing room between patient video calls.
A perfect world would come with all appointments beginning and ending when they’re supposed to, but unfortunately this isn’t realistic. With that being the case, manufacturing five-to-10-minute blocks between virtual visits with patients is a worthwhile strategy to impose.
From a preparation standpoint, such gaps – on days when appointments are running on-schedule – will give you added time to collect your thoughts and get prepared for your next patient.
Manufacturing that breathing room also helps you avoid overbooking your calendar. While you may have the drive and ambition to reach a certain threshold of patient video conferences each day, the smart play is to tame expectations.
Instead, create a schedule that’s manageable and will not result in your virtual waiting room filling up with patients. Remember, some individuals are participating in your virtual medicine appointments because they hate waiting around for their doctor to see them. If they realize an online doctor visit also results in such delays, there could be less of an incentive for them to meet with you online.
Stick to the Schedule
When your video call schedule is organized for a given day, do everything in your power to stick to it. Unless an emergency pops up, avoid trying to shoehorn additional virtual appointments into your agenda.
Keeping everything in-line will minimize the stress level for an administrative team responsible for handling appointment bookings. Additionally, this keeps you from feeling overwhelmed and unable to provide each patient with the devoted attention they require.
Tap here to learn more about how Banty Virtual Clinic can help you easily, securely, and effectively meet with your patients online.