The Value of a Great Appointment Management System

 In Operations

Are you absolutely sure you’re doing everything in your power to boost the efficiency of your healthcare practice? If you’re not currently using an appointment management tool, the answer is a hard and fast “no.”

Physicians and other medical providers can compromise the integrity of their practice and lose both new and existing patients due to faulty or outdated appointment scheduling systems. Here’s why you need to jump on the digital bandwagon and introduce online appointment scheduling for your healthcare practice.

Why Is Virtual Appointment Scheduling Important?

Think about it: In today’s society, people expect to do everything from their smartphones. They book flights, purchase tickets to concerts and movies, and they order takeout from local restaurants. Why shouldn’t they be able to just as easily book an appointment to see their family physician, dentist or chiropractor?

You count on patients to make a phone call to book an appointment. You also depend on staff to manually input appointments into the system. But this creates endless opportunities for someone to slip through the cracks. What happens when the lines are busy and a patient can’t get through? What if the staff confuses dates or times?

Research shows online appointment scheduling is the way of the future. According to a study conducted by management consulting firm, Accenture, 77 percent of patients consider online accessibility for scheduling or cancelling appointments a top priority. Perhaps that’s why Accenture projects that by the close of 2019, 66 percent of U.S. healthcare systems will provide digital self-scheduling. If you’re hesitant to modify your current appointment system, you just may find your practice is left in the dust.

10 Advantages of Online Appointment Scheduling

Are those numbers enough to persuade you to make the switch? Check out the many benefits of virtual appointment scheduling if you need more convincing:

1. Retain patients:

Patients, particularly millennials, who are able to conveniently schedule appointments online feel like their needs are understood and supported. This will make them more likely to stick around.

2. Reduce mistakes:

Human error accounts for a great deal of accidentally canceled or overbooked appointments, resulting in angry, dissatisfied patients. Online scheduling eliminates that problem. Plus, reminders are sent out automatically. This way, there’s no chance for patients or staff to get the dates or times mixed up.

3. Cut down on phone calls:

When patients are able to schedule, cancel or change appointments online, your phone line is freed up for more urgent circumstances.

4. Eliminate strain on staff:

Manually scheduled appointments require your staff to juggle a variety of tasks at once. With fewer calls coming in, they can use their time and effort to attend to patients who are currently in the office.

5. Offer round-the-clock accessibility:

Patients who can’t call during office hours to book an appointment may just go to your competitor. With online scheduling, they can check your availability and book appointments any time day or night.

6. Decreases no-shows:

Empty appointment slots translate into a loss of capital for your practice. When patients can easily pick up same-day or next-day appointments online, you’ll easily fill canceled slots and endure fewer no-shows.

7. Alleviates excess paperwork:

Virtual appointment management systems help your office cut down on unnecessary paperwork by compiling all appointments and other patient information into a single online database.

8. Enhances patient engagement:

Virtual scheduling systems incorporate a wide range of features, such as medical records access, so patients can see tests results and other key info in the same software where they keep track of appointments.

9. Helps new patients find you:

Some new patients may dread calling a practice to talk to someone they don’t know. These people will keep searching until they find a practice with online scheduling.

10. Enables you to stay competitive:

Patients are less likely to pass you up for a more cutting-edge healthcare practice when you embrace technology and give them what they want.

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