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5 benefits of online scheduling for healthcare practices

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Patients today value convenience. In fact, 51.3 percent of all patients list convenience and access as the most important healthcare factors influencing their decision making.1 That’s above insurance coverage and even quality of care. Thus, it’s important healthcare providers are prioritizing convenience when it comes to patient scheduling, too.

If your practice doesn’t yet offer online scheduling, it’s time to add this tool to your website and online profiles. More than 80 percent of patients say they would schedule their own appointment using a secure web service,2 yet practices often don’t give patients the option.

Not only would offering online patient scheduling give your practice a competitive advantage, but it can also help minimize your staff’s workload. More than just an innovative perk, investing in an online scheduling system is good for business. Here’s what you have to gain by taking your booking digital.

5 benefits of online scheduling for healthcare practices

1. Patients prefer practices that offer online scheduling

When booking an appointment, patients are generally looking for the easiest option. In a survey, 80 percent of patients said they would switch providers for convenience factors alone.3 By offering online scheduling, you’re giving patients the ability to decide what patient scheduling method works best for them.

Patients like having options. In fact …

68 percent of patients say they are more likely to choose medical providers that offer the ability to book, change, or cancel appointments online.4

This number is up 10 percentage points from 2016.

Some people may also just prefer to only book online, and if you’re not offering this option, you may be missing out on this demographic. This could also be a good option if you experience a high call volume and your front office staff have trouble answering the phone when it rings.

2. Online scheduling systems operate 24/7

Patients who work or have other commitments during daytime hours can have trouble finding time to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment during normal business hours. Online scheduling offers patients the ability to book available appointments even when your practice is closed. 

All PatientPop customers are equipped with a modern website complete with an online scheduling system.

More than one-third of appointments booked with a PatientPop practice (35 percent) are scheduled outside of normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m).5

Thus, a significant amount of patients will take advantage of online scheduling after hours.

If you’re promoting your practice online, your marketing campaign will bring patients to your website, and ideally, convince them to book an appointment. The last thing you want is for a patient to find you online and be unable to reach you.

3. Online patient scheduling helps fill appointments gaps

Online patient scheduling can help keep your schedule full. This is a win-win for both your business and for patient satisfaction.

It takes an average of 24 days to schedule a new patient appointment in 15 of the largest cities in the U.S.6

However, among PatientPop practices, most appointments scheduled online were for available slots between 5 and 8 days after the date the appointment was scheduled.7

Online patient scheduling can allow for patients to see you sooner due to last minute cancellations or other changes in your schedule. This is important because research has shown that new patients who wait more than a month for their appointments are twice as likely to cancel than those who are scheduled within a week.8

4. Online scheduling reduces burdensome administrative tasks for staff

If patient scheduling is only available by phone, your front office staff likely spends most of their day answering calls.

In a survey, 32.6 percent of healthcare practices said they spend more than 10 hours a week on returning patient emails or phone calls.9

Booking appointments isn’t a task that requires a human touch, so it’s not an efficient use of their time.

Delegating this responsibility to a software program gives employees extra time to focus on other activities. This allows them to accomplish more each day without having to put in overtime.

5. Online scheduling could help staff provide a better experience for patients

Online scheduling can increase patient satisfaction even before a patient visit.

Inconvenient office hours and being put on hold when scheduling an appointment frustrates 56.1 percent of patients.10

Online scheduling can help alleviate this problem.

Plus, if your staff is less burdened by phone calls, they can focus on providing patients with a positive experience in the office as well. A friendly conversation can go a long way. If any patients in your waiting room have a question, your staff remains available to help answer those.

As an added bonus, a good online scheduling system will often include automated appointment reminders, which can help you reduce no shows or late cancellations. Your patients will also appreciate the reminder.

Adding an online scheduling system may require an investment on your part, but the business you stand to gain will make it worth your while. PatientPop offers healthcare providers online scheduling via a complete practice growth solution that helps them enhance all touchpoints along the patient journey. PatientPop customers are also equipped with automated appointment reminders and feedback requests. Learn more at patientpop.com.

Download the free whitepaper

By submitting my email address above, I acknowledge that PatientPop may use my information as described in its Privacy Policy.

5 benefits of online scheduling for healthcare practices

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