Patient self-scheduling is another example that the paradigm shift toward consumerism in healthcare is here to stay. Other industries have given consumers convenient ways to access their services from banking to shopping to reservations. With easy access to the all these services on the internet, it only makes sense to put your patients in charge of their own scheduling, as well.
Think about the last time you tried planning a night out with friends or family. You finally all agree on the new restaurant everyone is raving about. You dread being put on hold by the busy hostess, so you simply go online and look for a time that works, fill in your name and you’re done! A process that used to take several minutes now can be done in seconds. It should be the same with scheduling your doctor’s appointment – no need to call the receptionist anymore!
Let me Put You on Hold
Do you cringe when you hear, “let me put you on hold”? Your patients certainly do. Your patients are super busy, it’s often a challenge to get everything done and remember to schedule a doctor appointment for a parent, child, or even you own annual check-up. Patients need an easier way to access healthcare.
With the age of consumerism upon us, your patients expect the same conveniences and 24/7 accessibility as they do when scheduling a dinner reservation. In fact, a recent Accenture study noted that 77% of patients want the ability to book, cancel or change appointments online. Furthermore, 9 in 10 were willing to change doctors if the practice didn’t offer an online-digital experience.
Imagine if in the next few years, 9 out of 10 of your patients started switching to another doctor. For most practices, this would result in drastic revenue loss and potentially having to close your doors. Remember when restaurants didn’t allow you to make reservations online? You showed up to a 2-hour wait – you left and ordered take out from the restaurant up the road.
TIP 1: Allow patients to schedule their appointments online – they’ll be happier and so will you and your staff.
Keep a Full House
Let’s face it – if you’re not offering online patient self-scheduling, you can bet your competitors will. It is estimated that by 2019, 66% of health systems will offer patient self-scheduling and 64% of patients will book appointments online.
Today, many practices have issues with their ‘old school’ scheduling. When patients don’t show, your staff spends hours on the phone rescheduling. If patients are late or appointments run over, you end up with a waiting room full of disgruntled patients. It’s a lose-lose.
Fortunately, allowing patients to book or change their appointments online has shown: significant reduction in no-shows, lower call volume, and increased patient satisfaction. One large pediatric practice in Cincinnati, Anderson Hills Pediatrics, struggled with high call volumes, a tedious collection process, and many other manual processes. After introducing online patient self-scheduling, the practice drastically streamlined their appointment process and had 108 appointments scheduled online within the first 24 hours of their flu-clinic being open. Read more here.
TIP 2: With online patient scheduling, you can set your own office requirements to avoid no-shows, maximize your provider’s time and avoid long wait times in your office.
It’s Happy Hour
Offering online patient self-scheduling is a win-win for both your practice and your patients. Your patients get to book an appointment when it’s convenient and you see fewer no-shows. You have a happier staff that can spend less time on the phone and more time with patients. Your patients may not like spending time at the doctor’s office for their yearly physical, but they know it’s necessary to stay healthy. By offering more consumer-friendly options, you will leave your patients more satisfied and happier with their healthcare choices.
Added bonus, when introducing online patient self-scheduling, you’ll see your patients engage even more with you – messaging you on your portal, paying their bills faster with online bill pay, or reviewing their tests results — they’re playing an active role in their healthcare. It’s a win-win!
TIP 3: A happy patient is a happy (and thriving) practice.
To learn more about Anderson Hills Patient Self-Scheduling experience, download our case study.