02 Nov 5 Reasons why your hospital needs an online patient scheduling system
In today’s era, patients demand ease and convenience. This becomes the biggest reason why brand loyalty is rapidly declining amongst medical practitioners. In the last few years, patients have switched from the providers they had known for years, for a better and smooth experience being offered elsewhere. The number of consumers making a switch in just the last two years is more than one-third due to ‘’lack of access’’ stated as the primal reason.
This raises an important question; How do independent and private healthcare providers avoid attrition? The answer is improving patients’ convenience and access. This will produce more results in comparison to having a leading medical group on your panel. With online scheduling, you will be able to manage both, simultaneously.
If your practice isn’t offering online scheduling system, this can come as a red flag to your revenue. This basic tool can result in patient satisfaction with more than 70% of them wanting to book their appointments online.
We’ll pen down the top 5 benefits you would encounter once you have a reliable online scheduling system in place for your practice.
- Its the Patient’s choice
Convenience becomes a top priority for today’s consumers, and online scheduling is a way to provide just that. As per statistics, after insurance coverage, convenience is rated as the most significant decision-maker when it comes to choosing a medical provider.
When patients are given the option to schedule their appointments online, they can tally what time is the most convenient for them without interacting with your help desk office. This feature also allows website visitors to book an appointment instantly without calling in, especially if the line is busy or the facility is closed.
- Patients make their terms
With technology on the rise, office hours have become an old concept. In other consumer industries, businesses provide 24/7 live chat service as standard support. Similarly, a consumer would expect the same proficiency when choosing a medical provider. Healthcare facilities mostly take appointments during office hours except for lunch breaks and national holidays. Patients who are working would often keep the same working hours and the lack of access could become quite frustrating for them. One in five patients has stated that the most agitating part is having to wait for their provider to open the office. 42% of patients claim to ‘’dread’’ being put on hold.
For these people, online scheduling can be a blessing. This is a solution for booking appointments when the office is closed, or the phone is busy. Patients prefer flexibility and not having to abide by time restraints during the day.
- Omit scheduling gaps
A successful practitioner would keep a busy schedule and would like to make their working hours productive. However, this becomes a challenge when patients don’t show up, cancel or reschedule appointments. This results in a subsequent loss in revenue and hinders the growth of the business.
If you provide your patients with online scheduling, they can check your practice’s real-time schedule updates without any delays. This way, time-sensitive appointments can be accommodated without any lag. They would often choose slots that are last-minute cancels and would otherwise go unused.
Most online scheduling software and platforms would also generate booking confirmations and reminders which assist in minimizing missed appointments and late cancelations. Missed appointments simply mean missed revenue. By putting in place these digital tools, your practice can minimize scheduling disruptions.
- Reduce the burden on staff
Healthcare providers remain to be one of the busiest professionals in the country with record-breaking numbers of employee burnout. A recently conducted survey showed that one in five healthcare practitioners quit their jobs during the pandemic of COVID-19. Another survey indicates that all healthcare providers are swamped with extra work and hours post-pandemic. In this situation, a practice should look into supporting its medical staff as much as possible. By reducing menial and tedious tasks, practitioners will have more time to focus on caring for patients and avoid burnout. On this front, online scheduling can become a great help.
Medical providers that don’t offer online scheduling, have their front office desks swamped with work. The staff is juggling tasks. This enhances the chances of errors and does not provide sustainability. Between taking calls, catering to the patients, booking appointments, and maintaining all the records, the workload can get overwhelming. Instead of wasting hours each week scheduling consultancies, the online system can easily take over and provide convenience to the front desk staff.
- Enables staff to deliver a better patient experience
Before the patient sets foot in the healthcare facility, they already come with a positive mindset if your practice offers online scheduling. A study indicated that 59% of patients get frustrated while waiting on the call to make an appointment.
Offering the patients self-schedule appointments directly through your website or platform means they don’t need to wait around on call or in person. When the patients are aware that you’re a provider that offers convenience, your staff will be able to provide enhanced help once they walk into your facility.
Staff who are less burdened by menial tasks tend to focus more on providing patients with a better experience and care. They would utilize their energy on answering questions proactively, welcoming patients, and facilitating their needs.
Choosing to implement online scheduling is a beneficial investment and can greatly increase efficiency. This will also help in achieving higher staff and patient satisfaction. By providing a comprehensive appointment scheduling system, your practice will open the window to growing revenue and prevent losses that can easily accumulate into a damaging number.