07 Jul Medical Scheduling goes online to improve efficiency and patient care
By the end of 2019, Accenture predicts that 66% of US health systems will offer Online Scheduling solutions, while 64% of patients will book appointments digitally. Nearly 38% of all appointments will be self schedules – that’s nearly 986 million appointments creating $3.2 billion in value for the healthcare industry.
77% of patients today think that the ability to book, change or cancel appointments online is important. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that the average time to complete a scheduling call is 8.1 minutes, while agents transfer 63% of patient calls, “far exceeding cross-industry best practices for call handling”.
Almost 40% of the top 100 US health systems and 10% of remaining health systems currently offer the ability to digitally self-schedule appointments. Patients currently self-schedule 2.4% of appointments, compared to the roughly 11% that can be self-scheduled.
While the healthcare industry is often early to adopt the latest and greatest administrative technology, implementing it efficiently is a whole different ball game. Amidst this coming explosion of Online Scheduling for healthcare, providers and professionals need to consider the strengths of different solutions and how they can improve both their internal efficiency and their patient care, particularly before they fail to meet their patients’ expectations when it comes to online booking. Check out this demo website to see more about how doctors can engage any type of patient!
Enable your patients to book according to their needs, online!
So in considering the right software for your clinic, hospital or medical practice, Online Scheduling can be crucial in both improving the way you engage patients and the performance of your staff. Because it encourages clients to book their own appointments and take advantage of a variety of features, Online Scheduling saves time and consolidate behaviours that may have once consumed too much of a hospital’s day-to-day activities. Things like calls back, comparing schedules, or even the phone tag that unfortunately happens with busy patients become a thing of the past.
To delve deeper into these benefits, it’s important to segment the specific positives online scheduling can represent to both your medical practice and its patients. Within the software and its use, there are phenomena that enhance the smooth functioning of your office as well as your patients’ satisfaction. These phenomena include:
- Let your patients book appointments 24/7
Too often, patients are only able to book appointments at the end of their busy work day, or they may only remember to book appointments while running through their to-do list before bed. Unfortunately, these delayed bookings represent a huge and hidden inefficiency for any clinic, hospital or medical practice. Imagine how efficiently you could fill your schedule if you knew your patients were able to book as soon as they were ready, whenever that may be? With Online Scheduling, as many as 40% of bookings take place outside of working hours. It would be unreasonable to keep your secretaries on call for all those hours, but with inexpensive online scheduling makes those bookings easy and simple!
- Avoid patient double-bookings and doctors’ scheduling mistakes
Doctor’s offices may often use online calendars or even paper agendas, but these practices don’t automatically update based on what patients are booking. They require manual inputs that are subject to human error, while also being unable to sync consistently with other professional appointments or personal exemptions and vacations that doctors may have. To prevent these double-bookings, Online Scheduling not only shows every appointment availability in real time, but also offers 2-way syncs with doctors’ digital calendars to ensure that they other appointments are automatically respected while also continually updating them on new bookings. What’s more, these availabilities mean your patients also have more confidence in their appointments with a simple, streamlined self-booking process.
- automated notifications and reminders reduce patient no-shows
No-shows are the ultimate bane of every medical practice, not only because of the opportunity cost affected on medical professionals by the lost time for an appointments, but also because often critical preventive care can be forgotten by a no-show that may impose greater costs on patients and doctors in the future. With automated notifications and reminders, patients receive emails and text messages which update them on any changes to their booking, as well as reminders in the days and hours leading up to an appointment. These reminders alone can reduce no-shows by as much as 80%!
“Our patients love their automated notifications and reminders, while simplicity and flexibility let us get the most out of Online Scheduling for everyone. That way, we can focus on what matters most: our work, not our schedule.”
- Dr. Horea Barsan
Clinique du Val Ouest
In considering the essential benefits of Online Scheduling for clinics, hospitals and doctors, there are a variety of additional effects, features and capabilities that make it more than a benefit for patients and staff, but also magnify your confidence in the way you work.
Better manage your practice and your doctors’ hectic schedules
The additional benefits that an Online Scheduling solution can have for medical practices and professionals come from the essential integrations that are possible through the right software, whether with personal online schedules, mobile apps, or a native app. From there it’s possible to understand the tremendous time-savings and efficiency increases that come with the right software. What’s more, saving time and energy for staff that is usually overworked has knock-on effects that improve the overall quality of work they do, as well as the attention they provide patients.
- Let your doctors see their whole day in real time
While within Online Scheduling, it’s easy to set special periods or vacations where doctors need not be booked by patients, synchronizations with online calendars mean that medical professionals can see their entire day in real time. Doctors can also color-code their appointments and services, giving them a better picture of their day before they even get into the details of their schedule. These features particularly appealing to younger doctors who by default look to integrate more efficient digital technology in their everyday lives.
- Manage patient profiles so you stay on top of their history
With Online Scheduling, each interaction and confirmed booking auto-generates patient profiles in a native CRM, organized according to name, email, phone number and more. Over time, every single booked appointment is recorded. With the ability to record notes and additional biographical information specific to each client, Online Scheduling enhances your ability to instantly relate to clients in a sector where personal care and attention is of the utmost importance.
- Manage schedules from your mobile device
Medical professionals work hard and appreciate flexibility that accommodates their lifestyle and enhances their ability to enjoy leisure time. With that in mind, the ability to manage your patients and practice’s schedule through a mobile app is crucial to ensuring things can stay organized from anywhere, at any time. Online Scheduling enables the mobile app management that is crucial to the smooth functioning of a modern medical practice.
- Save time for your support staff
Online Scheduling can save up to 75% of the time you and your staff used to spend coordinating appointments. Beyond that time-saving, however, the quality of preparation for and performance during appointments is drastically improved in ways that are difficult to measure. Properly implemented online scheduling software can have a tremendous effect on not only the peace-of-mind of patients, but that of doctors and their assistants as well.
For healthcare providers and professionals, Online Scheduling is the crucial next step in organizing for change. Advanced business software can have tremendous benefits to both organizational efficiency and in enhancing the quality of care patients receive. In a sector where intelligence is often abundant but resources may be scarce, enhancing the relationships within an office and between staff and patients can be the cooperative catalyst that pulls an organization forward.