Optometric Management Tip # 269   -   Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Appointment Schedule on Paper vs. Computer

Iím surprised at the fairly high number of eye care practitioners that I speak with who still use a paper appointment book. Even among offices that use popular office management software programs, which obviously offer an electronic appointment system, there are a significant number that stick with the book. I think many of these doctors and staff members believe that the book is easier, but there are many benefits to computerized appointments that make it the clear winner in my opinion. I think most paper appointment book users donít know what theyíre missing.

Objections

Most of the time, offices that still use paper appointments are middle to smaller sized offices that think the benefits wonít apply to them. Actually, most of the benefits I know of apply to any size practice as youíll see below. Since receptionists and staff members are the main people who schedule appointments, the resistance to going electronic is often traced back to them. Some staff members do not like technology and some simply have not had the proper training and practice on the electronic appointment system. Once you jump in and start using the appointment section of nearly every major office management program on the market, youíll find itís pretty easy to master.

Advantages of electronic scheduling

Here are some of the advantages to keeping your appointment schedule on your computer.

Now is the time

Those are some big advantages. If you still use paper appointment books, now is the time to acquire office management software that does it electronically. If you already have an office management system, itís time to dive into the appointment module. Allow your staff to use both the paper book and the computer for a couple weeks if they feel more comfortable, but set a deadline and after thatÖ hide the book and make the switch!

Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management