What does online doctor appointment scheduling have in common with a night in?
Imagine you’re about to order pizza and pick a movie for a night in. What does that look like? Chances are, you’re opening an app or a website to place your usual order for delivery, and checking out streaming services to choose from the latest releases. Movie rental stores are nearly extinct. It’s often easier to get a complicated pizza order right via an online form versus trying to get it all conveyed in a phone call. Realistically, you could get everything you need for the night without having to talk to anyone.
We’re able to do things in more convenient and efficient ways than ever before thanks to technological advances. So, why would we want patient booking to be stuck in the past with dusty VHS jackets?
Patients and doctors are now using online software and apps to book doctor appointments in the same way you can arrange for a driver, buy clothes, or order a pizza. Here are the 5 reasons patients love online booking, along with easy steps for how to implement it on your site.
5 reasons why patients prefer online booking
The more ways patients are able to book appointments with you, the better. Some people will always prefer calling or sending emails, but many younger patients will prefer the ease of booking using a website, app, or SMS messaging capabilities. With the right patient online booking system, you can give your patients the ability to schedule on your website, social media pages, or Google My Business listing. The more opportunities you give patients to book, the more likely it is that they’ll follow-up.
Online booking is also easy. With a few button clicks and some basic contact information, patients can arrange their next appointment with you. Many people find the online booking process easier than calling, perhaps forgetting the proper extension, and waiting on hold to get in touch with a scheduler. Wherever you can reduce friction in the appointment process, you’ll increase the likelihood of getting more bookings.
24/7 access from anywhere
We all have demands on our time. Between work, family obligations, and other errands, it can be easy for patients to put off scheduling doctor appointments if they have to do the booking by phone, or play tag back and forth in emails.
If you don’t have online booking available on your website, patients have to call during normal office hours, which may mean they need to step away from work or take their lunch break to schedule something. If 43% of patients are likely to book after hours, you’re closing the door to a lot of appointments by not offering online doctor appointment scheduling options built around your patients’ free times.
You know those tasks you put off last minute because they just feel like a hassle? Maybe they won’t take all that long, but you dread the process. Imagine if those to-dos felt more flexible. You’d probably be more likely to do them.
If your patient has a scheduling conflict, they might put off rescheduling until the last minute if the process is a hassle. However, if they were able to cancel and reschedule online, they might do it well in advance, leaving the appointment time open for people with more urgent needs or earlier availability. Some tools even come with automated ASAP List alerts to help you fill up last-minute appointments.
Nothing gets lost in translation
Giving patients other options for booking appointments is not only beneficial from a convenience standpoint, but it can also help empower those who may have a hard time communicating over the phone. Whether a patient has a language barrier, is hard of hearing, or doesn’t feel like they are well understood over the phone, they’ll feel more at ease being able to make a doctor’s appointment online.
We all have busy schedules, and sometimes things fall through the cracks. However, you can reduce the risk of no-shows by offering automated reminders via text and/or SMS alongside patient online booking. Personalized reminders sent at frequencies and times you determine can reduce no-shows and improve the confirmation process.
Implementing online scheduling
If you’re ready to implement online doctor appointment scheduling on your site, you have lots of options. Most scheduling software will allow you to add a booking button or link to your website with a few lines of code, or even a widget. The process for implementation is generally easy, but if you work with a web developer or marketer, you may want to ask them to set it up for you.
Even if you’re on a budget, there are free tools that can help you get the job done. However, if you use a booking software not made for health care out of the box, you may have to go through a few extra steps. You want online booking that is HIPAA-compliant, integrates properly with your practice management software, ensures patient confidentiality, and provides a positive and professional experience for the patient.
While free tools can help get some functionality off the ground for your practice, they may be more trouble than they’re worth if you can’t customize them or make them secure enough. Save yourself, and your patients, any time and hassle by implementing an online scheduling software that has been designed for your industry from day one.
NexHealth’s online booking feature, for example, is HIPAA-compliant and integrates with your existing practice management software. You can give patients after-hours access to schedule at a time that is convenient for them. NexHealth even allows you to put the same “book now” functionality on Google, Facebook, or many other online listings so patients can book wherever they find you online.
In addition to online booking, NexHealth offers email automation, a telemedicine platform, patient surveys, automated reminders, online billing, and more. No need to settle for a software that only solves one problem when you can improve your patient’s experience every step along the way.
Want more information on how you can add online patient booking to your services? Get a free tour of NexHealth’s capabilities today!