Online scheduling — a software tool that allows patients to request or book appointments online in just a few clicks — has grown in recent years. A study by global professional services company Accenture predicts that 66% of U.S. health systems will offer digital self-scheduling by the end of 2019.
But it’s not just hospitals and large healthcare networks enabling online scheduling; private healthcare practices are, too. Here, we share a few reasons why you should enable online scheduling at your healthcare practice.
Our research shows about 42% of patients would rather make appointments using a website or app than by calling a practice. This could be for a variety of reasons. Patients seeking mental health or addiction services, for example, could feel embarrassed to pick up the phone. So, too, could patients looking for an OB-GYN or cosmetic specialist.
Regardless of reason, healthcare practices that prioritize patient satisfaction should be quick to enable services that nearly half of patients want.
When a healthcare practice enables online scheduling, our research shows an average 63% of appointments booked online stem from new patients. The more you think about this, the more it makes sense: A patient who can instantly take action on your website is not likely to continue looking for another provider.
It’s not always easy for patients to schedule appointments during your office hours. When you enable online scheduling, they no longer have to. Online scheduling is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even when your practice is closed.
This might not seem too significant, but our research shows more than one-third (34%) of appointments scheduled online are booked after hours.
Online scheduling makes it easy for healthcare practices to fill open appointment slots. Of appointments booked online, 6% are for the same day and 20% are for the following day, according to our research.
Of course, this is a big benefit to patients: A patient who is suddenly ill after dinner can schedule a next-day appointment from their phones before bed. A person who develops an aggressive rash can peruse a provider’s same-day availability — even if a practice is closed for lunch. It’s also a benefit to your healthcare practice, as empty appointment slots equal lost revenue.
It can be incredibly difficult for your front office staff to provide quality service to patients in the office and to complete billing and other administrative tasks when they are constantly interrupted by phone calls. Plus, when patients call to book an appointment, it can be difficult to deliver a positive patient experience. Long hold times and curt customer service are both possibilities.
When patients have the ability to book online, your staff could spend less time booking appointments over the phone and more time providing a great experience to patients who are physically in the office. For patients who book online, online scheduling is consistent, predictable, and modern.
Are you ready to offer online scheduling to your patients? PatientPop can help. Visit www.patientpop.com to discover how our practice growth platform helps healthcare providers attract more patients, modernize the patient experience, and automate routine office tasks.