For over a month, my son complained to me that his glasses prescription was bad. The board had become hard to read at school and everything seemed blurry. And yet, it took a month for me to finally get him in. Why? The inconvenience of booking an appointment.
As a busy working mother, I have about a million and one balls in the air at any given time. One of those balls is setting up doctor appointments for my kids. Unfortunately, 99 percent of the time, I only remember that we need to schedule these appointments in the evening—after the practice is closed. That is the moment when I wish my doctor offered online scheduling.
Today, we live in the era where you can grab your phone, push a button, and instantly order food, transportation, or almost anything else you want. Patients want the same when it comes to scheduling doctor appointments. If you’re not making it as easy as possible for patients to book an appointment, wherever and whenever they want, you are missing out. Here are some of top reasons you should offer online scheduling.
- Patients want it. Research shows that 59 percent of patients would prefer to be able to self-schedule (I'm definitely in that 59 percent!). This number is predicted to grow even more in the coming years. Give patients what they want by offering self-scheduling now.
- It fills your schedule. When patients have access to online scheduling, 26 percent select appointments for the same day or the following day. These are appointments that likely would never have been filled without this option. By allowing online self-scheduling, you are filling appointments that would have sat empty.
- It offers 24/7 access. I'm not the only person who wishes they could schedule appointments outside of business hours. It is estimated that one in three online appointments are scheduled during a time when no one is in your office. Work is getting down around the clock and you don't have to do anything!
- It will soon be required to remain competitive. Accenture predicts that by 2019, 66% of practices will provide online scheduling and 64% of patients will make appointments online. If you are not one of those, you will lose out to the competition.
- It reduces your workload. This one is obvious, but bears noting. If people are scheduling themselves online, that eliminates some of your work. Studies show that a phone call to schedule an appointment takes an average of 8.1 minutes. Those minutes can add up really quickly. Online self-scheduling frees up a good chunk of this time so that you can be spending more time in the office face-to-face with patients.
Online self-scheduling is easy, convenient, and desired by patients. It is a great way to offer a benefit that makes you stand out from the competition—all while making life easier for you.
Want to learn more? Check out our free guide "Hold the Phone...Making the Move to Online Scheduling."