If your staff is spending hours on the phone scheduling appointments for patients, then an online appointment scheduler may be a wise alternative to modernize the patient experience. Like any other investment, you should make sure your online appointment scheduling tool platform provides maximum value for your practice. Features to look for include:
- Seamless integration with your EHR in real time
- Two-way integrations so that patients can book appointments based on current data
- Functionality for automatic reminders via email, text, etc.
- Push notifications to reduce last-minute cancellations
- Multiple access points, including website, patient portal or mobile app
- Security and HIPAA compliance
While there would seem to be no downside to reduction of work on clinic staff and expansion of patient engagement capabilities, some practices have reason to be reluctant to hand over their scheduling to the patient population. Thankfully, appointment request form submission is a happy medium – as the staff can coordinate slots in a way that best serves all patients.Why Should My Practice Use Patient-Driven Scheduling?
A user-friendly, online appointment scheduler offers much more than convenience. It is an important feature for medical practices that can improve patient engagement, compliance, and satisfaction – leading to better overall health outcomes. Other advantages of an online medical appointment scheduler include:
- Increased patient acquisition
- Faster booking of appointments
- Reduced no-show appointments
When the goal is to capture new patients and drive revenue, the timing must be just right. They may like what they see on your website but can forget all about you in the shuffle of a busy life. Patient-driven scheduling – either with a patient scheduling tool or an appointment request form can lock in the intention of a prospective patient at the exact moment they are most motivated.
The ability for patients to initiate scheduling can have a positive impact on your staff too. When patients schedule appointments online, benefits to staff include:
- Improved efficiency
- Reduced call volume so staff can spend more time delivering a better patient experience
- Eliminating scheduling errors due to miscommunication
Online Appointment Scheduling is a Must Have for Your Website
The ability to schedule appointments online has become less of a luxury, and more of a necessity in the busy life of the modern patient. According to Zippia, an efficient online appointment scheduler is essential to staying competitive. In fact, more than half of Millennials and Gen Xers stated that they would switch providers for the added convenience of booking appointments online. Online scheduling also can have a big impact on your bottom line.
The statistics for online appointment schedulers are compelling:
- 40% of appointments are booked after business hours
- 67% of patients prefer online booking
- Businesses gain an average revenue increase of 27% when using online booking systems
Whether it is the weekend or 11 at night, patients can initiate an appointment with self-serve scheduling or an appointment request form submission. This helps patients stay engaged with their care plan no matter how hectic life gets.
Make a Good Impression with Your Online Appointment Scheduler
Your website is the digital front door to your practice. A clean, modern design and intuitive, user-friendly appointment booking functionality is critical to building trust, boosting your reputation and locking in interest at crucial times.
An outdated website that lacks an online appointment scheduler sends the wrong message to patients. After all, patients expect medical practices to offer the modernized experience they are used to in other areas of life. If you want to have a reputation for offering the latest innovations in healthcare, then your online presence must reflect this.
Mobile-friendliness is essential with your website, and it is also an expectation for appointment scheduling. You must ensure that the scheduling tools you use – whether it is completely self-serve or an appointment request form is an interface patients can use with no issues.
Also, don’t forget social media, which is the first place many patients look to schedule appointments. According to Zippia, 41% of all booking services are found through social media, with 36% of these bookings through Instagram and 22% through Facebook. Be sure that your social media pages include easy click options for patients to quickly book an appointment online.
Online Appointment Scheduling Offers a Better Experience for Many Patients
Research shows that 68% of individuals are more likely to choose a new service provider if that provider offers the ability to book, reschedule or cancel appointments online. That figure is not surprising considering the benefits of online booking for patients, including:
- Scheduling appointments any time at their own convenience
- Faster booking without having to spend time on hold
- Automatic reminders via text, automated phone messages or emails
Automated reminders are a particularly important benefit for both patients and providers. According to Zippia, 72% of patients and 60% of healthcare providers say online booking helps prevent missed appointments.
Considering that the annual loss from missed medical appointments is estimated at $150 billion (about $460 per person in the US) per year, the potential cost savings from online booking are impressive. Your EHR should be sending automated appointment reminders if it is not already.
Summary: Benefits of an Online Appointment Scheduler
Clearly, an investment in an online appointment scheduler is worthwhile for both healthcare professionals and patients. Convenience, compliance, and cost-savings are just a few of the benefits. If your practice does not already offer patients a way to initiate appointments online – either with a user-friendly online appointment request form or scheduler, you are leaving revenue on the table.
Keep Patients Engaged with Convenient Scheduling Tools and Other Digital Enhancements
Every day, over 4,000 healthcare providers meet the public on a website designed by iHealthSpot’s expert teams. Our mobile-friendly, intuitive, and easy-to-navigate custom designs maximize exposure and profitability. We also offer enhancements like online scheduling, appointment request forms, plus:
- Hosting with reliable up-times
- Custom content, design, and navigation
- Mobile-friendly/responsive design
- Parallax scrolling
- Secure patient forms
- Secure online bill payment
- Blog feature
- Video inclusion
- “Search” features
- Custom maps and locators
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation, consultation.