Discover the benefits of online scheduling and maximize its efficiency for your practice. Whether you're already using it or not, gain insights to optimize your appointment management.
Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, wellness, and how they merge.
The days of lugging out an appointment book and risking human error every time someone is scheduled for a procedure are over. Online appointment scheduling isn’t necessarily new, but it is transforming the healthcare industry.
Digital scheduling systems come with countless benefits for both patients and providers. You’ll optimize appointment management, reduce no-shows, improve patient satisfaction, and enhance your overall operational efficiency. Plus, you’ll reduce the risk of human error and confusion.
Whether you’re currently using online scheduling or not, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of its benefits, so you can determine how to use it most efficiently and effectively for your practice.
The care and comfort of those who come to your practice should always be a top priority. Thankfully, online scheduling can make the appointment process easier for patients right away. Whether they have healthcare anxiety, they’ve been avoiding an appointment for a while, or they just don’t like the hassle of calling in, online scheduling removes quite a few barriers for patients to streamline the scheduling process.
First, online scheduling frees up phone lines in your office, so patients who have questions, comments, or concerns can call in without being put on hold or having their call go to a machine. It also allows for 24/7 scheduling, so potential patients who might not be able to contact your practice during normal “business” hours can still set up an appointment at their convenience.
Offering online appointments can also help to reduce cancelation rates and no-shows. Online appointments are canceled less often because they tend to put the power in the patient’s hands. When a patient is able to go online and get as much information as they want about a practice, including reviews, and is then able to set up their own appointment time, they’ll undoubtedly pick a time that works best for them. They’ll feel more in control and less likely to avoid showing up.
Having online scheduling affords patients more accessibility when it comes to rescheduling. Emergencies arise and we often find ourselves in need of last second rescheduling for appointments. Having accessible booking systems like TIMIFY allows patients to reschedule from wherever they are without having to phone in. This too helps reduce the number of no-shows and wasted appointment slots.
Finally, by allowing online scheduling, you’re showing your current and potential patients that you’re willing to meet their needs and work around timeframes that best fit their lifestyles. When you think of a patient scheduling an appointment as a first impression, that’s a fantastic way to stand out and help them feel comfortable. When you’re able to foster those feelings of comfort and trust with that patient, you’ll form a positive relationship and improve loyalty.
There’s no question that the healthcare industry can be stressful. Healthcare workers tend to be at a greater risk of developing mental health issues caused by stress, and they’re also more likely to experience burnout. You might not be able to change the pace of the system or the trauma your team might have to face on a regular basis, but you can establish a more positive work environment that focuses on stress-reducing strategies.
Online appointments can also help make things run more smoothly for your staff. Patients are more likely to show up, and be on time, if they set their own appointments. This can go a long way to ensuring your staff are not overworked. This in turn can help create a positive workplace culture. Having a beneficial workplace culture can lead to improvements like:
At the end of the day, your practice is still a place of business, and it’s important to keep things moving forward. When your employees are happy and aren’t struggling with burnout, you’ll see better results internally – and you’re likely to see happier patients.
Technology has created major advancements and shifts in the healthcare industry throughout the last few years. Some of those advancements, including telehealth, grew out of necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While telehealth services already existed before the pandemic, doctors across the country were utilizing them more frequently to assist patients as much as possible while keeping everyone safe at home.
Of course, as both patients and providers began to realize the greater benefits of telemedicine, it became clear that it would be here to stay. Some of those benefits include faster care, greater accessibility, and even reduced costs in some instances.
Technology continues to advance the industry through things like cloud-based data storage and even scheduling appointments on cloud-based software. A patient can set up an appointment online quickly and easily, speak with a doctor on the phone or via a video chat, send in test samples, get results, and work with that doctor on a treatment plan all from the comfort of home.
There will always be needs that require a patient to come in for a physical visit. But, utilizing technology in every aspect of your practice will make the entire process more efficient and less stressful for everyone involved. Online scheduling might seem like a small step forward, but you’ll be surprised by how much of a difference it makes in streamlining your appointments.
Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, wellness, and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for the community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore