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Physical Therapy


Physical Therapy



Insurance Verification

Texting and Reminders

Online Patient Forms

Online Scheduling




Texting and Reminders

Online Scheduling

Electronic Benefit Verification

Online Patient Forms


  • Writer's pictureAndrea Ryan

Patient Self Scheduling: A Better Way to Manage Your PT Practice

Over the last few years, an explosion in online scheduling software has made it possible for anyone with an internet connection to book themselves haircuts, massages, therapy, lunch reservations, and even medical appointments. The ability to schedule appointments via an online portal has generally improved the patient journey, but the truth is that it may have further complicated the lives of medical office staff. Because anyone at any time can easily schedule themselves an appointment with a physical therapist, for example, the follow up process by front office staff to ensure that prospective clients have the right insurance, up to date referrals, or have even scheduled themselves with the best therapist for them can be tedious and time consuming. That’s why PatientStudio has introduced a new technology, EHR integrated patient self scheduling.

In this article, we will look at the differences between legacy online appointment requests and the updated capabilities of patient self scheduling and discuss key advantages of the PatientStudio self scheduling technology.

Online appointment requests vs. Patient Self Scheduling: What is the Difference?

Online appointment request forms and patient self-scheduling are both methods used in healthcare to facilitate appointment booking and management, but they differ in terms of who has control over the scheduling process.

Online Appointment Requests:

Online appointment requests refers to the use of digital platforms or software systems to manage appointment booking primarily through the use of a form on the website of the provider that can be completed by patients. It can be done by anyone with access to the portal to easily find a time that will accommodate their schedule. Here are some key features of online appointment requests:

  • Centralized control: The scheduling process is typically managed by the healthcare provider or their staff. They use an online platform or software to manage appointment requests input by patients through a form on the website.

  • Provider-driven: The provider determines the available time slots for appointments based on their availability and resources, and then front office staff must reach out to patients who have requested time to complete the booking process.

  • Patient interaction: Patients can access the online platform or website to view available appointment slots and request an appointment. The provider or staff then confirms or adjusts the appointment based on availability.

  • Flexibility: The provider can adjust the schedule, add or remove appointment slots, and accommodate urgent cases or unexpected changes, but all of this must be managed outside of the portal through manual time input by front office staff.

Patient Self-Scheduling:

Patient self-scheduling, as the name suggests, allows patients to directly book appointments themselves using an online system or platform. Here are some characteristics of patient self-scheduling:

  • Patient control: Patients have the ability to directly access the online scheduling platform or website and book appointments based on the available slots.

  • Real-time availability: The online system displays the provider's real-time availability, enabling patients to choose a suitable appointment slot.

  • Convenience: Patients can book appointments at their convenience, without having to contact the provider's office during working hours.

  • Reduced administrative work: Patient self-scheduling reduces the administrative burden on healthcare staff by automating the appointment booking process.

  • Reminders and notifications: Patient self-scheduling platforms often include features such as appointment reminders, notifications, and integration with electronic health records (EHR) systems.

In summary, online scheduling involves healthcare providers or their staff managing the appointment booking process, while patient self-scheduling empowers patients to directly book appointments using an online platform. Both methods offer convenience and flexibility, but patient self-scheduling puts more control in the hands of patients.

Patient self scheduling can make your practice front office run much more smoothly.

How much time can patient self scheduling save medical front office staff?

Patient self-scheduling can significantly save time for physical therapy front office staff. The exact amount of time saved can vary depending on factors such as the size of the practice, the number of appointments, and the efficiency of the self-scheduling system. Here are some ways patient self-scheduling can contribute to time savings:

  1. Reduced phone calls: With patient self-scheduling, the number of phone calls to schedule appointments decreases. Patients can directly book appointments online, eliminating the need for front office staff to handle appointment requests via phone.

  2. Streamlined workflow: Patient self-scheduling automates the appointment booking process, streamlining the workflow for front office staff. They spend less time manually inputting appointments into the scheduling system or coordinating with patients over the phone.

  3. Increased appointment accuracy: When patients self-schedule appointments online, the risk of errors or miscommunication decreases. Front office staff spend less time correcting or rescheduling appointments due to mistakes in the booking process.

  4. Administrative task reduction: Front office staff typically spend a significant amount of time on administrative tasks related to appointment scheduling, such as answering phone calls, checking availability, and confirming appointments. Patient self-scheduling reduces these tasks, allowing staff to focus on other important responsibilities.

  5. Improved time management: Patient self-scheduling platforms often include features like automated reminders and notifications. These reduce the need for front office staff to manually contact patients for appointment reminders, freeing up their time for other essential tasks.

Overall, patient self-scheduling can result in significant time savings for medical front office staff. It allows them to allocate their time and energy to other critical duties, enhancing overall efficiency and patient care.

Do PT offices like to use online scheduling systems?

Yes, many physical therapy offices find online scheduling systems beneficial and choose to implement them. Here are some reasons why medical offices prefer using online scheduling systems:

  • Convenience for patients: Online scheduling systems provide convenience to patients by allowing them to book appointments at any time, from anywhere, without the need for phone calls or visiting the office in person. This flexibility aligns with patients' busy schedules and preferences, enhancing their overall experience.

  • Time savings for staff: Online scheduling systems automate the appointment booking process, reducing the administrative burden on front office staff. It minimizes the time spent on handling phone calls, manually inputting appointments, and managing scheduling-related tasks. Staff can focus on other important responsibilities, improving productivity and efficiency.

  • Reduced no-shows and improved patient adherence: Some online scheduling systems incorporate appointment reminders and notifications, which can help reduce the number of missed appointments. By sending automated reminders via email or SMS, patients are more likely to remember their appointments and show up on time, leading to better patient adherence rates.

  • Enhanced patient engagement: Online scheduling systems empower patients to take an active role in managing their healthcare. Patients appreciate the ability to self-schedule appointments, view available time slots, and have control over their healthcare journey. This increased engagement can contribute to patient satisfaction and loyalty.

  • Integration with other systems: Many online scheduling systems can integrate with electronic health records (EHR) or practice management systems. This integration allows for seamless transfer of appointment information, reduces the chance of errors, and improves overall workflow efficiency.

  • Analytics and reporting: Some online scheduling systems offer analytics and reporting features, providing medical offices with valuable insights. They can track appointment trends, identify peak hours, analyze patient behavior, and make data-driven decisions to optimize scheduling and resource allocation.

Features of the PatientStudio online scheduling system:

As a result of feedback from several of our busiest physical therapy practice managers and providers, the development team at PatientStudio has recently updated the integrated Patient Self Scheduling feature of our PT Practice Management System. Here are many of the most dynamic features:

  • Appointment booking: Clients can view available appointment slots in real-time and select a suitable time for their visit. The system provides a user-friendly interface and allows patients to choose from a variety of available providers, appointment types, and locations.

  • Self-service registration: The system includes a patient registration feature where new patients can enter their personal and insurance information directly into the system, complete any required forms, or update existing information thereby saving time during the check-in process.

  • Automated reminders: The PatientStudio patient self scheduling system offers automated appointment reminders via email, text messages, or phone calls. These reminders can help reduce no-shows and improve patient adherence.

  • Provider availability management: The system allows practice staff to manage provider schedules, block off time slots for vacations or meetings, and update availability in real-time. This ensures that patients only see accurate and available appointment options.

  • Patient portal integration: Integration with a patient portal allows patients to access their medical records, communicate with their providers, review therapy suggestions, and request appointment rescheduling.

  • Waitlist management: Patient self scheduling offers a waitlist feature where patients can add themselves to a list for a preferred appointment time that is currently unavailable. If a cancellation occurs, the system can automatically notify and offer the open slot to patients on the waitlist.

  • Customizable settings: The system allows office staff to customize various settings such as appointment durations, provider schedules, appointment types, and any specific requirements unique to the practice.

  • Reporting and analytics: The patient self scheduling system provides reporting tools to generate data on appointment volumes, no-show rates, patient demographics, and other key metrics. This information can be useful for analyzing practice performance and making informed decisions.

Managing your PT practice is much simpler with patient self scheduling.

Benefits of the updated Patient Studio Self Scheduling System:

Twenty-four hour access

One of the advantages of a self-scheduling system is that it allows patients to book appointments at any hour, providing 24/7 accessibility. This means that patients can access the system and schedule appointments outside of regular office hours, including evenings, weekends, and even holidays. The online nature of the system enables patients to book appointments at their convenience, without being restricted by the operating hours of the medical office. This flexibility is one of the key benefits of self-scheduling systems, as it caters to patients' busy schedules and allows them to manage their physical therapy appointments without time constraints.

Patient Flexibility

Some of the functionalities related to rescheduling or changing appointments in the PatientStudio self-scheduling systems:

  • Appointment modification: Patients can select a specific appointment they wish to modify or reschedule from their list of scheduled appointments. They can then choose a new date and time based on the availability displayed in the system.

  • Availability visibility: The system usually shows real-time availability, allowing patients to see open appointment slots for rescheduling. This helps them find a new appointment time that works for both their schedule and the provider's availability.

  • Automated confirmation: Once a patient requests a change or reschedule, the system may automatically send a notification or confirmation to both the patient and the provider, ensuring that all parties are aware of the updated appointment details.

  • Cancellation and rebooking: Some self-scheduling systems allow patients to cancel an existing appointment and immediately rebook a new appointment in a single transaction. This streamlines the process for patients who need to make a change.

  • Notifications and reminders: After making a modification to an existing appointment, the system may send automated reminders or notifications to the patient to ensure they remember the new appointment details.

Streamlined Patient Journey for Front Office Staff

The PatientStudio Self Scheduling System’s integrated capability makes it possible for office staff to pre-screen prospective patient’s digitally prior to their appointment, thereby cutting down on patients scheduling the wrong provider and billing issues down the line. Because of the connection between the scheduling system and patient records, verification of insurance benefits, prior authorizations and provider notations is a breeze. Front office staff can be sure, prior to any appointment, that a patient is scheduled properly with only a few mouse clicks and that the patient journey for each person who walks through the door is as seamless as possible.

One of the most important factors to the success of a physical therapy practice is the ability to fill the schedules of each of their providers. With the PatientStudio self scheduling system, this process has never been easier for patients, providers, or practice support staff. Schedule a demo of PatientStudio and all of its helpful features today, and start your journey to a better functioning physical therapy practice.

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