It’s estimated that around 40% of patients would like to book their own appointments and would appreciate the opportunity to book appointments after hours. So it’s no surprise that having an online booking system improves patient engagement and practice revenue.
As a society we are continually striving to save time in our increasingly busy lives. Many people no longer function in a 9 to 5 work routine and appreciate the convenience of online bookings.
Benefits to the Practice
The benefits to the practice are enormous. Firstly reception can be freed from involvement in bookings, appointment changes and cancellations. Using an online booking system a new patient can complete their details on-line which reduces the admin burden for your busy office staff. People that book on-line are less likely to miss appointments which is good news.
How do we encourage patients to use the online booking system?
While we know that many patients embrace the convenience of booking through an on-line portal how can we convince the remainder to adopt on-line bookings? It all comes down to communication.
Firstly, ensure patients are aware that online bookings are available and the benefits to them. Patient convenience is a primary driver. Providing patients with the ability to book appointments anywhere and anytime allows them to make the booking when they remember, they don’t have to wait for the practice to open.
Patients often realise they need to see a doctor when they are unwell, and this isn’t always during surgery hours. Patients can become anxious not knowing if they will be able to see their doctor when the surgery opens. When they are able to book online, they feel less anxious.
Many on-line booking systems also send patients reminders which also provide them with the opportunity to reschedule their appointment if the time is no longer suitable. There is no need to call, they simply login and select a convenient time.
There are some other effective ways to advertise online bookings to your patients, these include:
- Display posters in your waiting room that promote the convenience of online bookings
- Add a message to any external signage or marketing collateral
- Promote on-line bookings on your social media platforms
- Include an article in your newsletter
- Add a message to printed receipts
- Ensure the appointment booking button is easy to find on your website
- Include a message on the bottom of your emails.
If you’re ready to improve patience service levels and practice efficiency with on-line appointments, please click here to contact us.