The Ins and Outs of Physical Therapy Scheduling

Discover what features to look for when choosing a physical therapy scheduling software. Learn more about PT scheduling at Healthie.

You know how stressful it is when you’re up against a day that just feels too busy to handle. Or, how frustrating it feels when patients cancel at the last minute. Learning how to schedule your physical therapy appointments effectively is a challenging yet crucial aspect of running a practice. The right physical therapy scheduling software makes it easy to ensure that your days are full (but not overwhelming), and that you can consistently provide great service to all your patients. Want to learn more about our Free Starter Plan? Click here.

Tips for creating a physical therapy work schedule

Every business does things differently, but if you have strong scheduling policies, it could make a big difference to your patient retention. Consider trying the following ideas at your practice.

Schedule appointments for longer than you need

If you expect that an appointment will take forty-five minutes, book it for an hour. This will give you some leeway if it goes longer than expected, meaning you’ll be less likely to fall behind schedule for the rest of the day. And if it doesn’t go longer, you can simply use the extra time to catch up on paperwork or take a quick break. 

Give recurring patients a repeating time slot

You know how important it is that your physical therapy patients stick to their treatment regime. If you have a patient who you need to see once a month, try to let them have the same day and time for each appointment. This will make the booking more convenient and easier for them to remember, making them more likely to show up consistently.

Have a clear cancellation or no-show policy

Any appointment-based business struggles with the pain of last minute cancellations and no-shows. If you’re sending clear appointment reminders, then there’s no reason not to set boundaries about your time. For instance, maybe you’ll charge patients for any cancellation within 24 hours of the scheduled appointment. Create a reasonable policy and display it clearly on your website. 

Create a patient waiting list

Even with a cancellation policy, not every patient will make it to their appointment. Therefore, you could try creating a waiting list. When a patient books in, give them the option to be available for an earlier time than the one they have. If there’s a cancellation, ask them if they want to be moved up. Many patients will be happy to be prioritized, and filling in cancelled bookings will help minimize your losses.

Let patients schedule their own appointments

Using an online booking system means that patients can browse times that suit them, and make a booking even when your practice is closed. Many patients indicate that they prefer being able to schedule their own appointments. This will also help save time for your office staff. Just make sure that you choose a strong and reliable booking system.

Features of the best physical therapy scheduling software

One of the best ways to improve your scheduling is to make use of physical therapy scheduling software. When you’re choosing the right platform for your practice, look for one that offers the following features.

Customizable appointment settings

You likely offer different types of appointments, which vary depending on the patient’s needs. Make sure that you can customize appointments based on variables such as length of time, location, and how the session will be conducted (telehealth, in-person, etc).

Appointment reminders

Look for a system that allows your patients to confirm their appointment and sends them reminder texts or emails. This is a great way to decrease your cancellation rates, and can save your practice thousands of dollars over time. 

Shared calendars across providers

You may have many physical therapists, administrative staff, and other healthcare providers working at your practice. Make sure your appointment scheduling software offers a shared calendar. This will make it easier to book group meetings and help to streamline internal communication.

Integrates with EHR and practice management software

If your PT appointment software doesn’t integrate with your other systems, you’ll likely find yourself switching between multiple systems, which can be awkward and inconvenient. Make sure you choose a comprehensive, HIPAA-compliant system where it’s easy to view patient notes, payment information, and other data associated with a booking all in one place. Healthie’s free Starter plan is 100% HIPAA- & PCI compliant, sign up for a free account today.

Healthie’s calendar & patient scheduling system

Healthie’s Calendar feature offers all of this and more. To set up your free Starter account today, click here. Healthie is a comprehensive practice management platform, and includes a calendar with all the features you need to run your physical therapy practice, including:

  • Appointment reminders sent as texts and emails to patients.
  • Shared company calendar.
  • Customizable appointment settings.
  • The ability to set one-time and repeating availability.
  • External sync with iCal, Google Calendar, and Outlook.
  • Part of a comprehensive EHR, telehealth, and practice management platform.

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