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Healthcare Scheduling Software Systems: How to Build, Features, Cost

Missed appointments, scheduling confusion, and workflow bottlenecks are operational issues that trouble medical establishments. When working with our healthcare clients, I’ve noted how medical professionals struggle to balance administrative workflows with patient care. Likewise, patients had a hard time trying to reschedule consultations they had missed.

According to a survey, 7.2 million GP missed appointments were recorded in 2019, causing the NHS £216 million. For hospitals and private practitioners, the figure impacts their revenue growth and profitability. Hence, physicians are turning to medical scheduling software to resolve scheduling issues.

Yet, creating a medical scheduling application is not easy. You’ll need to consider:

  • Types of software and their respective infrastructure;
  • Tech stacks required to build the app;
  • HIPAA and other regulatory requirements;
  • User experience and accessibility and more.

In this article, I’ll explain what a healthcare scheduling system is, expanding into the advantages, features, costs, and you'll get to know 7 main steps to develop one.

Healthcare Scheduling Software Systems

What is a Healthcare Scheduling System?

Healthcare scheduling software is a healthcare app that allows patients to browse, reserve, confirm, and reschedule their appointments with medical institutions.

Self-scheduling software also allows physicians and medical staff to render care deliveries more efficiently without being bogged down by tedious administrative tasks.

Patients can schedule appointments on the app instead of visiting the clinic or hospital. Moreover, they can receive reminders of upcoming appointments. So, healthcare scheduling software is basically an app that does what a medical staff does – but more conveniently.  

Likewise, physicians and nurses coordinate work arrangements with manual practices that involve tedious paperwork. Scheduling software frees them from repetitive and redundant workloads, enabling them to focus on delivering better patient care.

Physician Scheduling Software: Pros and Cons

As healthcare providers race to cope with surging patient demand, developing or purchasing scheduling software proves useful. I share several benefits and potential challenges of doing so.

Pros

  • Reduce missed appointments. Self-scheduling systems ensure patients receive timely notifications leading to their appointments. A study showed that automated reminders decrease patient no-shows by up to 7.4% for a primary care clinic.
  • Reduces booking time. Patients no longer need to spend time in commutes and queues when scheduling an appointment. Within minutes, they can browse available slots and reserve them from the patient scheduling app.
  • Remotely accessible. Both patients and medical administrators have more flexibility in confirming appointments and follow-ups without being limited to specific locations. Scheduling software for healthcare allows 24/7 access for all users.
  • Minimizes human error. Automated scheduling software prevents double bookings and oversights that rob healthcare providers of valuable resources.
  • Provides comprehensive information. Medical scheduling systems allow physicians access to extensive patient information for optimal care delivery. In practical applications, you can integrate scheduling software with existing platforms to consolidate electronic health records detailing historical patient journeys.
  • Improves productivity. By going paperless with automated scheduling software, medical staff can collaborate more efficiently and free themselves from tedious manual work. For example, nurses can manage their shifts without manual coordination. This also benefits the medical establishment by improving patient experience, reducing operational expenses, and increasing revenue growth.

Cons

  • Inadequate digital literacy. Adopting health software systems for appointments requires awareness and a degree of technological proficiency among medical staff and patients. Some users need help navigating the solution to access scheduling features.
  • Privacy concerns. Shifting manual scheduling to online platforms involves storing personal records on networked storage. Some users may have concerns about governance in healthcare applications and security measures that hospitals and clinics can provide to prevent potential breaches.
  • Implementation cost.  Despite offering positive business outcomes, adopting patient scheduling software requires capital expenditure, training, and support costs that cause some stakeholders to hesitate.

How to Create a Custom Healthcare Scheduling Software: 7 Key Steps

Healthcare providers eventually opted for custom scheduling software because of growing workflow complexities, evolving patient needs, and rapid technological updates. Here’s how to build one from scratch.

healthcare scheduling software systems

1. Define your goals

Are you building scheduling software to overcome existing bottlenecks or expanding EHR systems? Align your objectives with specific business needs. Reach out to stakeholders, including patients, doctors, nurses, medical staff, and management, to obtain a consensus.

2. Analyze current scheduling processes

Map out the gap between the desired scheduling outcomes and your current practices. Specify data requirements, user roles, and features that support the required outcomes.

3. Decide the tech stack

Determine software technologies, platforms, and development tools you need to build the scheduling software. For example, we use Kotlin to build Android apps and Swift for iOS. Developing cloud-based scheduling system adept skills in frontend developments and cloud infrastructure. Consider the interdependencies, compatibility, and security of each software module you use in the tech stack.

4. Focus on UI/UX

Medical professionals and patients need software that allows them to schedule and manage appointments easily. Before developing the solution, work with UI/UX designers to ensure that layouts, controls, descriptions, and other visual elements are optimized to support the user journey. Also, it’s important to include accessibility features that allow a more inclusive user experience.

Read more on how to develop a good UX design for healtchare app in our blog.

5. Develop the software

Once you’ve finalized the specifications, build the solution. This involves writing codes, assembling software modules, provisioning cloud infrastructures, implementing UI/UX designs, and more. While developing the scheduling system, ensure the effort aligns with the user’s needs.

Some healthcare providers engage their own software development team, while others outsource to an external software agency, like Uptech. Hiring app developers let you focus on your core business without worrying about the technicalities involved.

Want to learn more about medical web development? Check our ultimate guide!

6. Test and deploy

Before onboarding healthcare users onto the app, run appropriate tests to ensure all features are functioning and reliable. Also, perform unit, integration, and security tests to identify bugs and technical issues affecting users. Then, put the app on a trial run and remediate any teething issues. Once all problems are resolved, release the app for public usage.

7. Post-release support

Train physicians and medical staff on how to navigate through the software. Compared to patients, medical users will need access to the backend portal for appointment tracking, reporting, reminder setups, and more. Adding helpful user guides or tutorials would help to ease the learning curve. At the same time, ensure your software team is available to resolve issues that arise after the launch.

Healthcare Scheduling Software Systems

Must-Have Features to Include in Healthcare Scheduling Software Systems

Scheduling software for healthcare may offer distinct functionalities, but most share overlapping features essential for automated appointment booking.

healthcare scheduling software systems

Self-scheduling

Patients can book, reschedule, and cancel their appointments online without manually contacting administrative staff.

Take a look at our Dribbble shot with a design concept. On the 1st and 2nd screens you can see how scheduling feature may look like.

healthcare scheduling software systems

Appointment tracker

This lets patients stay updated on the appointment queue and plan their visits to the healthcare establishment.

Automated reminder

The app sends reminders at specific intervals to reduce missed appointments and alert patients of unplanned disruptions.

Calendar integrations

Physicians can synchronize appointment calendars with other calendars in their systems to prevent double booking.

Here's one more design concept Uptech team created. This is how calendar integration may look like in your healthcare scheduling software.

healthcare sceduling system

Teleconference

Adding video calls, text chat, and messenger functionality into the app allows patients and healthcare providers to communicate easily.

Team scheduler

Doctors, nurses, and medical workers can plan their shifts and workflow more effectively with an automated scheduler.

Mobile and web plugins

These widgets let practitioners embed the scheduling tool in their websites and mobile healthcare apps.

If you want to include AI-driven solutions into your healcthare app, like AI assistants, AI chatbots – check our article about ChatGPT in healthcare. Learn how you can revolutionize patient care with AI, and how Uptech can help.

7 Examples of Healthcare Scheduling Software Systems

The quickest way to implement self-scheduling is to purchase readily available software from vendors. Remember that off-the-shelf software differs in features, supported platforms, and use cases. I share several healthcare scheduling apps I found on the marketplace.

1. Nursegrid

Nursegrid is a scheduling app that enables nurses to plan and manage their shifts with an intuitive calendar. Nurses can use Nursegrid to access their schedules at all times, swap shifts with their colleagues, and expand their professional network.

What it offers

  • 24/7 access to schedules.
  • Compare calendars with fellow nurses.
  • Track shift availability.
  • Coordinate schedules in multiple locations.

Supported platforms:  iOS and Android.

2. Theranest

Theranest is a comprehensive healthcare practice management solution for streamlining patient care and medical workflows. It provides a scheduling feature that helps therapists, counselors, and psychologists reduce appointment cancellations.

What it offers

  • Automated appointment reminders.
  • Organize schedules with in-app calendars.
  • Client portal for patient-practitioner communication.
  • Integration with Wiley Practice Planners for easy note-taking.

Supported platforms: Web.

3. Goldie

Goldie, formerly Appointfix, is a scheduling app tailored for independent professionals, including therapists and wellness consultants. The app offers essential features for streamlining appointments, communication, and reporting for healthcare practitioners.

What it offers

  • Appointment scheduler with follow-up reminders.
  • Accept deposit payment when reserving a slot.
  • Targeted marketing and rebooking messages.
  • Manual or automated booking review and approval.

Supported platforms: iOS and Android.

4. Epic Cadence

Epic Cadence is a medical scheduling module that integrates with the Epic EHR management system. The plugin allows medical staff to schedule appointments and ensure updated patient information throughout their care journey.

What it offers

  • View scheduled appointments for multiple locations simultaneously.
  • Drag-and-drop appointment rescheduling tools.
  • HL7 Compliant integrations with other Epic modules.
  • Includes Epic Snapboard, which simplifies appointment scheduling.

Supported platforms: Web browsers.

5. Missed.com

Missed.com is an online scheduling service that provides a streamlined booking workflow for various industries, including healthcare. Therapists, counselors, and psychologists use the software to manage patient appointments online and reduce missed or canceled bookings.

Key features

  • Organize and update schedules in real time.
  • Sharable booking link.
  • Collaborative tools include whiteboard, video calls, and text chat.
  • HIPAA-compliant video conference and data storage.

Supported platforms: web, iOS, Android.

6. Nexhealth

Nexhealth is an online solution that digitizes patient experience for dental support organizations (DSOs). Dental clinics using Nexhealth reported increased online bookings, operational efficiency, and business growth with its robust scheduling tools.

Key features

  • Real-time scheduling and automated reminders.
  • Waitlist to fill up last-minute appointment gaps.
  • Synchronizes appointments with EHR systems.
  • Digitize registration forms with pre-built templates.

Supported platforms: Web.

7. Weave

Weave is a suite of healthcare management systems that help medical practitioners deliver engaging online patient experiences. It includes an online scheduling tool that allows customers to book an appointment slot from the practitioner’s website.

Key features.

  • Synchronizes appointments with EHR/PMS systems in real-time.
  • Manually approve appointment requests.
  • Text templates to personalize responses.
  • Automated reminders with in-app confirmation.

Supported platforms: Web, iOS (patients/providers), and Android (patients).

Nursegrid Theranest Goldie Epic Cadence Missed.com Nexhealth Weave
Platforms iOS and Android Web iOS and Android Web Web, iOS, and Android Web Web, iOS, and Android
Users Nurses Medical staff Independent practitioners
and clients
Medical staff Independent practitioners
and clients
Dentists Dentists, medical staff
and patients
Automated reminders Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Patient rescheduling N/A No Yes Yes No Yes No
HIPAA compliant Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Communication Text Video Text No (Need plugins) Video Text Text

How to Choose Healthcare Scheduling Software?

As healthcare providers seek to transform their practice, they need help choosing the right healthcare scheduling software.

factors to consider while choosing healthcare dev provider

Consider scalability

Choose scheduling solutions capable of supporting user growth without compromising responsiveness and availability when running a medium or large-scale medical establishment.

Specific use case

Not all scheduling software is designed for your target users. For example, NurseGrid is meant for nurses, and Goldie is designed for single practice.

Cost

Compare how software vendors price their solutions, including support fees and licensing for additional accounts. Decide one that fits into your budget and the projected revenue growth.

Explore our guide to web app development cost to figure out the numbers.

Flexibility

Each healthcare establishment and practitioner is unique. Choose a solution that you can customize to align with existing workflows. For example, some software allows doctors to disable automated appointment approval and review each request manually.

Integrations

Digitizing medical scheduling often involves integrating existing EHR, CRM, and PMS solutions. Ensure your chosen software seamlessly connects with the respective systems without disrupting functionalities. Also, choose scheduling software that enables seamless migration from legacy applications.

HIPAA compliant

Data security and patient privacy are top priorities when introducing a self-scheduling healthcare solution. Evaluate security measures the provider offers, such as encrypted storage and secure communications.

Ready-made vs. Customized Medical Scheduling Systems

Readily-made solutions are generally more affordable and faster to start with than customized scheduling software. They are better when you have a tight budget but need to digitize medical scheduling. However, you have limited or no control over data security, feature updates, cost structure, support responsiveness, and other factors that might impact long-term commitment.

While you pay lower upfront costs for off-the-shelf solutions, there are times when building a custom system is more viable. For example, a custom medical scheduling app is ideal when:

  • You require features that no ready-made solutions offer.
  • You need complete control of data movement, privacy, and security.
  • Software licensing fees for multiple establishments or accounts result in hefty recurring expenses.
  • Aligning patient scheduling experience with specific business needs, brand values, and healthcare workflows is important.
  • You prefer dedicated ongoing support from developers to support your business growth.
  • You need an ISO 13485-certified scheduling system heavily integrated with software or hardware platforms.

How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Healthcare Scheduling Software System?

Development costs for healthcare scheduling systems may vary on several factors. Scheduling software requiring complex features and integrations takes longer to build and incurs a higher cost. Likewise, you will pay more when developing software natively targeting different platforms, such as iOS, Android, and the web.

At Uptech, we recommend building an MVP to quickly gauge the response before proceeding with a full-featured solution. An MVP consists of fundamental features that we can develop with minimal cost. It helps you to reach the market quickly and test for a product-market fit.

Figure out the approximate cost of your product development based on the:

  • app type;
  • number of features;
  • app design;
  • tech stack

Check out our app development cost calculator!

Healthcare Scheduling Software Systems

How Uptech can help

Uptech is a software development agency that helps clients worldwide create apps their users love. We design and develop healthcare software for doctors, hospitals, labs, medical manufacturing companies, and healthcare startups. Check our custom healthcare software developement services and contact our team if you need extra hands to build your product.

Backed by a multi-disciplinary software team, we have completed numerous projects that allow our clients to remain competitive in fast-changing digital environments. We’re also equally knowledgeable in developing healthcare and scheduling apps.

Besides adhering to HIPAA requirements, our team practices internal policies and procedures to ensure data integrity and security according to the ISO27001 and NIST standards. Moreover, we use security-by-design principles to implement best industry practices, such as OWASP, for mobile and web development.

We recently developed a mental health app for the US market. The app allows users to schedule consultations with licensed therapists and receive ongoing support. Developing the app requires strict compliance with HIPAA and other regulatory guidelines imposed by US authorities.

mental health app

Another notable work we did was the Anytime app. Anytime is an appointment scheduler for professionals to manage their time more efficiently. In this project, we helped the client revamp the app to fit the user’s journey better. We studied user behaviors and applied UI/UX best practices to introduce seamless user flow into the app.

Whether you’re a healthcare provider or technological vendor, Uptech is more than capable of launching your medical scheduling software from scratch. We listen to our clients and their users when developing solutions. Our values and framework have allowed us to gain trust and positive client feedback consistently.

Summary

Medical scheduling software helps healthcare professionals and patients streamline appointment bookings, optimize resources, and reduce no-shows. Several ready-made scheduling software are available in the market, but most healthcare providers prefer building their own solutions when they scale.

I’ve shown the necessary features a medical scheduling software should have. Also, I’ve described how you can build such software from scratch. While some establishments may engage an internal software team, most would outsource to a reliable software partner.

Let us work together to develop your healthcare scheduling software.

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