The Benefits of Rapid Test Scheduling Software
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 brought to light the many challenges of scheduling and managing virus testing on a global scale. As we continue to look for ways to improve public safety, the need for rapid test scheduling software has become abundantly clear.
Healthcare providers who schedule single or multi-site testing (and particularly those who schedule for high-volume sites) need to have the right technologies in place to efficiently, effectively, and safely conduct rapid tests on a large scale.
What is Rapid Test Scheduling Software?
Rapid test scheduling software is a robust, highly customizable booking and appointment management system that enables healthcare providers to centralize testing efforts. Rapid testing for COVID-19 (or other potential, unforeseen viruses in the future) in massive volumes requires intelligent technology that helps providers understand and manage capacity, resources, and demand.
Because rapid test scheduling software can handle concurrent scheduling and is flexible enough to handle high-capacity appointment bookings, healthcare providers can better understand the availability of their workforce, supplies, and resources. As inventory, demand, and staff availability constantly change, organizations can rely on a powerful test scheduling system to automatically adjust to better support the testing process.
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Common Challenges of Rapid Test Scheduling
Managing and scheduling rapid tests for such a large number of individuals—sometimes at multiple locations across a widespread area—certainly has its complexities. For both providers and the public, this initiative is made even more difficult without the use of scheduling software, or with the wrong system.
Failing to implement the right tools can make the process of operating and accessing testing facilities incredibly cumbersome, and can result in other challenges as well:
- Time-consuming implementation process – If there’s one thing that’s been made clear by the rush to making testing available to the public, it’s that organizations need a system that’s up and running as quickly as possible. Providers and patients simply can’t afford to wait several months for a rapid test scheduling and management system to be fully implemented.
- Lack of reliability – If the rapid test scheduling tool isn’t capable of handling bookings in high volumes, you’ll find your operations aren’t as efficient as they could be. Plus, you might be at risk for a system failure that brings your operations to a complete halt. In fact, there have already been multiple scenarios in which inadequate scheduling systems have compromised providers’ testing and vaccination efforts.
- Difficult to use – Having to get tested for a virus is stressful enough without the added layer of navigating complex, clunky tools to schedule an appointment. On the other end, healthcare providers are already putting their own safety at risk to serve their communities, and tools that don’t offer easy usability can make their tasks even more burdensome.
- Inability to update in real time – Rapid test schedules consistently change throughout the course of a day, as individuals often book and cancel appointments at the last minute (or sometimes fail to show up). A facility’s test supplies, resource availability, and number of open appointment bookings are directly impacted by—and, in turn, impact—testing schedules, so if these details aren’t completely up-to-date, supply and demand will be misaligned.
- Limited ability to communicate – How does the rapid test scheduling system you currently use enable your care providers to communicate with individuals booking test appointments? Homegrown software or inadequate test scheduling technology (e.g. events management systems, school nurse software, etc.) doesn’t offer streamlined communication between providers and the individuals booking tests, which can hinder an organization’s ability to ensure everyone is on the same page. That means those receiving rapid tests may not be properly informed on what to expect or facility instructions (i.e. safety protocol, location details, or required patient forms).
- Lack of patient data collection – A huge part of learning how to better deal with any widespread illness is collecting, tracking, and researching essential patient data in a secure system. If the system you use to schedule and manage rapid testing doesn’t automatically capture these details, your team will likely need to spend extra time manually collecting and sharing them with other groups (like the FDA and CDC) for reporting purposes.
The Benefits of Rapid Test Scheduling Software
Modern, intelligent rapid test scheduling software that’s built specifically for high-capacity use cases can make the entire process easier and more efficient—both for recipients and providers. The right technology offers robust tools that promise proven capabilities, which work cohesively to benefit users in the following key ways:
Enables end-to-end rapid test scheduling
Centralized testing, management, and administration is crucial for ensuring successful operations, especially for providers who perform rapid tests at several locations. High-capacity rapid test scheduling solutions are supported by partners who work directly with test providers to cover the entire testing administration process.
Allows appointment booking based on capacity
When you rely on a system that automatically tracks available appointments, resources, and caregivers, you can accurately schedule tests based on the capacity of your facility. Your team can better ensure that safety protocols (like social distancing) are followed at each testing site, and that the day’s appointments are booked based on actual test, time slot, and resource availability.
Enables communication between providers and patients
A strong rapid test scheduling solution can be easily configured to send custom text messages and/or emails to test recipients, including booking confirmations, reminders, and other key appointment details (i.e. testing location, “know-before-you-go” information, etc.). Clients arrive confident that they’re fully prepared, and providers can rest easy knowing they’ve communicated necessary updates to keep both parties safe and operations running smoothly.
Collects data from individuals who book rapid tests
Your rapid testing initiatives likely aren’t operating within a vacuum: State municipalities, counties, and pharmacies must capture and share relevant patient data with public health agencies for accurate reporting and research. This may include demographic data, symptomatic data, and the number of rapid tests performed during a given time period, all of which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive to manually collect.
Modern, high-capacity test scheduling software automates the process by offering a single source of truth for data input, management, and sharing. That means your staff members won’t need to duplicate their efforts—which is otherwise required if they’re collecting information from paperwork for later input into a digital system—and can instead spend more time providing exceptional services.
Safely checks in individuals as they arrive
As healthcare providers (and the public as a whole) continue to practice safety precautions that help reduce the spread of infection, it’s crucial that testing facilities offer processes that support those same preventive measures. Robust rapid test scheduling software enables providers to send QR codes for socially-distanced check-in, which on-site employees can contactlessly scan via mobile devices upon client arrival. After being scanned, the system can notify the client if they’ve arrived too early (or too late) for their appointment time, which helps reduce the risk of crowded queues or waiting rooms.
Handles concurrent scheduling
Rapid test scheduling software provides a flexible, reliable place for individuals to confidently book a testing appointment. It can even intelligently redirect people to other testing sites if supplies or staff are limited at a certain location. What’s more, those details are updated in real time, so there’s never a system delay between actual availability of resources versus time slots. Without the use of the right tool, this can be difficult—if not impossible—to manage, especially for organizations who schedule testing for large volumes of clients who might be booking or cancelling at the last minute.
Rapid Test Scheduling Software Built for High-Capacity Booking
The process of booking, tracking, and managing rapid testing can be quite complex, particularly for providers who schedule large volumes of appointments. The clear challenges of ensuring safe, effective, and widespread COVID-19 testing have revealed the need for implementing appointment scheduling software that can seamlessly handle test booking and management.
As healthcare organizations around the world search for a solution that will ensure preparedness (for both current test scheduling needs and those in the future), they’ll need to invest in powerful technology that offers tools for improved efficiency, safety, and overall usability.
Skedulo’s high-capacity scheduling solution provides tools for seamless rapid test appointment booking and management. Learn more about what your organization should consider when evaluating high-capacity scheduling software, or book a demo today.