Boost Revenue and Improve Patient Satisfaction with AI-Optimized Scheduling

AI-based scheduling systems learn from practice management system data to identify bottlenecks and gaps and optimize the schedule accordingly.

Ever wondered if there’s a way to minimize patient bottlenecks and scheduling gaps that are costing you revenue and frustrating your patients, staff, and providers? Here’s your answer…

Across the healthcare industry, practices have long been forced to fit appointments into predefined time blocks, usually 15 or 30 minutes. This approach, dictated by many of today’s practice management systems, would work perfectly if every patient and every provider needed the exact same thing.

However, since no one actually fits into a mold, carefully constructed schedules built on one-size-fits-all scheduling blocks inevitably break down. Patients and doctors end up frustrated, practices miss out on revenue, and staff is perpetually stressed.

Newer technology is helping healthcare offices address these issues, without abandoning their tried-and-true practice management systems (PMS). “Plug-in” scheduling systems that rely on artificial intelligence, or AI, learn from PMS data to optimize appointment timing, fill in gaps, automate tasks, and more.

Here’s an overview of how AI tools work and how one might benefit you.

Diagnosing appointment bottlenecks and gaps

Experienced providers and practice staff know that appointments vary widely. Any patient may at some point need more time with their doctor than they are scheduled for. When this happens, other patients are left waiting.

By the same token, if a patient speeds through the process faster than expected, providers can be left with idle time on their hands.

Aside from unpredictable patient needs, other appointment elements commonly lead to inefficiencies.

For example, to patients, appointments seem straightforward. They check in, hang around in the waiting room, see their doctor, and check out.

Yet in reality, there are many moving parts, any of which can contribute to backups or lags if not managed properly:

  • Sign-in and paperwork details

  • Pre-appointment questionnaires and health checks, such as blood pressure readings

  • A limited number of exam rooms and specialized pieces of equipment

  • Other handoffs between staff and providers (nurses, doctors, technicians, etc.)

  • Check-out and payment processing

Imagine a patient at an ENT practice is seeing a technician in an audiology room, and her visit is taking longer than expected. A single event like this often has a domino effect. The ENT doctor still must wait on the patient, another physician’s patient scheduled for audiology is held up, and both providers will now have a gap between appointments.

By the end of the day, the entire schedule can be thrown off, with significant impacts on patients, staff, and providers.

AI-optimized scheduling to the rescue

Artificial intelligence-based scheduling integrates with your PMS to learn from your practice’s appointment data. This data includes appointment cycle lengths, patient arrival and wait times, no-show histories, and more. It even incorporates individual patient and provider details.

Over time, an AI-based system uses this information to identify where bottlenecks and gaps occur. Then, it optimizes your office’s schedule to prevent them.

 With AI scheduling, you can:

  • Stack your patient visits throughout each day, filling in time- and money-wasting gaps.

  • Automatically send same-day updates to your patients, letting them know when to arrive based on each day’s schedule changes.

  • Keep staff and providers updated on appointment cycles in real-time throughout the day.

  • Achieve a more efficient patient flow.

Pain points are relieved with the help of AI

Scheduling with the help of AI fixes pain points for patients, office staff, and providers.

For patients, the most meaningful benefit of AI scheduling is decreased wait time. If you’ve ever spent a long time waiting to see your own doctor, you already know how frustrating it is. But let’s look at some statistics.

Vitals Index research found that 84% of respondents felt wait time is “somewhat important” or “very important” to their overall visit experience. Almost a third of people reported leaving an appointment due to a long wait. And 20% said they’d changed doctors for the same reason!

Clearly, resolving this issue makes a big difference in the patient experience. With appointment stacking and automated reminders, patients can expect to arrive on time, check in, and, in many cases, head straight to an exam room. They get through their visits faster, go home happier, and are more likely to spread positive word about the practice.

Front desk staff can hand over repetitive tasks to the AI tool, like manually sending appointment reminders. The American Hospital Association estimates that AI may be able to handle 40% of the tasks support staff perform, so its inclusion in office tools like scheduling systems is powerful indeed. Bring on the efficiencies!

Providers can enjoy higher-quality visit times with their patients. When gaps in the schedule are eliminated, providers can spend more time with patients, take time to more thoroughly review patient charts throughout the day, and/or see more patients. All of this translates to a healthy, thriving practice and potentially more revenue.

Are you wondering if AI-optimized scheduling is right for your practice? Visit to sign up for a free patient flow report. And feel free to shoot me a DM if you have any questions or want to learn more. I would love to hear from you! 

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