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Understanding Online Appointment Booking
Not all of your patients, can schedule an appointment using an Online Appointment Booking System with you during business hours. Most of them are probably at work, plus they live a busy on-the-go lifestyle. Speaking from personal experience, I’d be very happy if I could schedule an appointment anytime with my doctor online. Also, how convenient would it be to easily schedule an appointment if you’re feeling ill in the middle of the night? Super convenient.
On the point of view of your front desk staff, it would help to remove one of their major pain points – having to answer the phone/book appointments while juggling other administrative tasks. If only there was another way for patients to schedule an appointment with you, right?
Don’t worry! There actually is a way to make things easier and more convenient. Not to mention, it can bring in more appointments which means more money for you. Yay!
Importance of Online Appointment Booking
So, the big question here is, why is having an online appointment booking system important? It’s because patients find it more convenient to use their smartphones to do everyday tasks.
According to The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), every age group and every level of education has increased their internet use. Even Americans 65 years old and older are now using their mobile devices. In addition, smartphones are becoming more accessible and internet user rates are continuing to drastically climb as well.
As a healthcare provider, obviously, there’s a need for you to accommodate the continuous rise of people who prefer to use their smartphones to schedule and organize their time. If people can easily make dinner reservations then it should be that easy to book an appointment with their medical provider too.
And, did you know that according to Software Advice, 72 percent of Americans check out a doctor’s online reviews before deciding to pay him or her a visit? Once they’ve decided who they want to have an appointment with, their next step would be to actually set up an appointment by calling the doctor’s office or booking an appointment online. However, only 11 percent of healthcare providers offer patients the ability to book appointments online.
7 Reasons Your Practice Should Offer Online Booking For Patients
Let’s get to the real point of this blog, shall we? Incorporating an online appointment booking system is the newest trend nowadays. With more people having access to smartphones than ever before, gone are the days where you have to line up or calling an office to get an appointment. In today’s digital world, almost everything can be done using our mobile devices.
We’ve taken the time to compile some of the top reasons why an online appointment booking system is such a good investment. Here are our top seven reasons:
#1 Patients don’t like calling in and being on hold for 5 minutes
One thing that can definitely pull the “I’m annoyed” string for patients is when they’re on hold for at least five minutes to try to get an appointment scheduled. Nobody wants to wait that long just to do something as simple as booking an appointment. Scheduling an appointment should be a breeze for your patients. Make it more convenient for your patients! With an online appointment booking system integrated on your website, your patients will be able to book an appointment with you anytime during the day, even after you close your clinic.
#2 Millennials prefer it
When it comes to today’s generation, the young professional population (or more commonly called ‘Millennials’) care about convenience. Being the largest age group in America, they have a lot of spending power. Numerous studies have shown that they prefer online appointments when calling in to schedule an appointment with their healthcare provider.
Some impressive statistics you can ponder on:
- 60.4 percent of doctors who are millennials are using Electronic Medical Records (Truven Health Analytics and NPR).
- 63 percent of millennial patients prefer to give doctors their health data by wearing devices so that their doctors can easily monitor and track their overall health.
- This year alone, 64 percent of patients will book online appointments compared to 34 percent three years ago.
- 70 percent of millennial patients would like to keep track of their health records from their doctors via a doctor-provided app or website.
- 75 percent of millennials said that one of their desires would be for their physicians to easily share information at any time and anywhere through a mobile device.
Millennials love telehealth services. And, as this age group gets older, telehealth medicine will be a very convenient and popular service that every doctor should consider.
#3 The future of online booking is worth billions
Did you know that by the end of 2019, with over 64 percent of patients booking appointments online, which is around 986 million appointments will result in a $3.2 billion in value which is a competitive boost for health systems?
Accenture did a recent survey that revealed that 77 percent of patients agree that it’s very important to have the ability to book, change, or cancel appointments online. Therefore, if you provide your patients with the option to book appointments online, it can significantly boost your financial status, help you keep your patient base (and maybe even increase your number of patients), improve organizational flexibility, and enhance your operational efficiencies.
#4 It’s what your patients want
According to a recent study, 42 percent of patients prefer to make an appointment with their healthcare provider through a website or app rather than calling the medical clinic. If you know that’s what patients prefer (including your patients!), but sure to give that to them.
#5 You’ll gain a competitive advantage
If there are five pediatricians in town and you’re one of them, you’re sharing the patient population with four other pediatricians. So, how can you gain a competitive advantage? Provide convenience!
Patients love what’s convenient for them. So, if among the five pediatricians patients can choose from, you’re the only one who has provided them a way to schedule an appointment with you without having to call or visit your clinic, then trust me, they’ll choose you.
#6 It can reduce administrative work
On average, your front desk stays on the phone for at least 8.1 minutes before they can answer another call. That’s a lot of time spent on the phone with patients. By offering patients the ability to schedule their own appointments online, your front desk staff won’t have to spend the majority of their day any more booking appointments.
Plus, it will free up their time to focus on other important administrative tasks. And honestly, it would be extremely difficult for your front desk staff to provide high-quality service to your patients when the phone keeps on ringing.
Now, if your patients have the ability to book an appointment online, your staff will spend less time answering phone calls and more time ensuring that your practice provides an amazing experience to patients who are physically present in the office.
#7 An online appointment booking system works round-the-clock
More than one-third, or 34 percent, of appointments are made after business hours. Doesn’t seem much? Really, it is. Just from that stat alone, it shows how many appointments you could be missing out on.
By providing your patients with the opportunity to book appointments online, they can rest assured knowing that they can schedule an appointment even after business hours. An online appointment booking system that integrates with your website works 24-7. Your patients can even book appointments during holidays or on weekends when your clinic is closed.
Now, do you understand the importance of offering your patients the ability to book appointments online? If you don’t currently have an appointment booking system in place, Website4MD can help you with that. We have an online Appointment Booking System that seamlessly syncs with your calendar. Want to learn more? Give us a call now!