Best Practice Guidelines: Healthcare Practice Management

3. Appointments

Responsible Roles

Ensure that all his/her day's planning is on the electronic diary so that reception can manage the expectations of patients.

Ensure that all information is on the diary so that anyone can manage the day to day bookings regardless of the availability of specific personnel.

Complete all bookings for prior telephonic appointments, walk-in patients and online bookings. Manage all changes in bookings.

Purpose of Appointments

  • GoodX Software has an integrated diary available for practitioners to assist them with making appointments and managing their daily routine in order to promote excellent health care and to manage the practice to the fullest potential.
  • Taking and maintaining control of the medical practice schedule has a larger positive impact on resource utilisation, profitability and the general satisfaction of patients, physicians, and staff than almost any other function.
  • Maintaining the medical practice diary effectively will reduce stress and profit losses in the practice.
  • The diary is not just used for booking patient appointments, but also to organise the practitioner's day e.g. lunch times, hospital rounds, seeing representatives etc.
  • The number one tip for maintaining the diary is staying on schedule.
  • Booking appointments on the diary enables the practice to draw various statistical reports to ensure that all patient visits have been billed.

Critical Steps of Appointments

Booking Appointments

Each booking will be managed differently, a practice will always work with New, Existing, Walk-In and Emergency Patients.

Existing patient appointments

  • Book an existing patient if the patient information has already been captured. The patient already has an electronic file at the practice on the system.
  • Confirm the patient information telephonically or when the patient arrives at the practice or request the patient to confirm his or her details through myGrandCentral.
  • Send a booking confirmation to the patient via GoodX.
New patient appointments

  • Book a new patient if it is a new patient and the patient's information has NOT been captured on GoodX. This is the first time the patient visits the practice.
  • Ask the patient to bring their medical aid card and ID documents with them when they come for the appointment.
  • The patient must also bring the Main Member / Debtor information with them for the first visit. It is preferable that the Main Member joins the patient with the first visit.
  • Send the patient a booking confirmation from the system.
  • The booking will only be a placeholder and the patient file will only be created when the patient arrives and the debtor is created.
Walk-In patient appointments
  • A Walk-in patient is a patient that walks into the practice without an appointment.
  • It is important to obtain the patient’s correct and complete information.
  • These patients are added to the diary as walk-in patients so that you have a record of how many patients visit the practice without an appointment to establish trends in your practice.

Emergency appointments

  • Emergency walk-ins can be booked for patients who arrive with no appointments and who are in critical conditions and therefore need urgent assistance.
  • In the Desktop App the booking will automatically show as arrived and as a walk-in patient.
  • The Web App uses a Booking type template that can be created and can be configured that the booking will be in the Arrived status.
Online Bookings (myGrandCentral)
  • Online Bookings must be checked and ensure that all bookings are valid and confirmed with the patients.

Manage patient bookings

  • Appointments can be cancelled or marked as not arrived if patients did not cancel appointments ahead of time.
  • Patients that are often cancelling appointments can be managed.
  • When an appointment is longer than the usual timeslot and the appointment is taking longer than the normal booking time, the appointment can be extended with the number of appointment slots. 
  • Appointments can be moved to different time slots or dates.
  • Appointments can be copied to multiple days and time slots.
  • If a patient arrives at the practice and their condition seems serious, the patient status can be changed to an emergency.
  • If a procedure will take longer than the normal consultation time, the appointment can be extended to provide more time for the completion of the procedure.
  • If there are any changes in the patient or debtor information, the changes can be made upon the arrival of the patient, but it can also be done afterwards.
  • If the patient wants a follow-up appointment, the current appointment can be copied to a new date.
  • Appointments can be booked as repeated bookings for patients that must come eg every 2 weeks, or once a week, or every month, depending on the treatment.

Manage other types of appointments

  • The diary assists in managing the practitioners day. The diary can therefore also be used for other types of appointments, such as personal appointments, representative appointments etc.
  • Recurring appointments (Range of Appointments in the Desktop App) can be booked on the diary using a single function, for example, if the practitioner wants to book lunch every day at the same time.
  • Theatre procedures can be booked and theatre times can be reserved on the diary, after which theatre lists can be maintained on the diary.
  • Theatre lists can be created and maintained from the diary and patients booked for procedures with the necessary information the hospital will require.

Theatre Bookings

  • The practitioner can create their own Theatre list and manage the theatre bookings. 
  • The theatre bookings can be shared with any other practitioners and hospitals with or without the GoodX software. 
  • The practitioner or hospital can use GrandXChange (also a product from GoodX) to manage the theatre bookings on their side even if they are not the GoodX program.

Please also refer to the Peri-Operative Management Module.