Embrace Online Booking for a Smarter, More Effective Workflow for Your Practice

April 24, 2023 • 5 minute read

According to research conducted by Zippia and Accenture, nearly two-thirds of patients book medical appointments online, and more than half would prefer to receive appointment reminders via email or text message.  While this form of scheduling might not be appropriate for every patient, especially at the onset of their relationship with you, it is not […]

According to research conducted by Zippia and Accenture, nearly two-thirds of patients book medical appointments online, and more than half would prefer to receive appointment reminders via email or text message. 

While this form of scheduling might not be appropriate for every patient, especially at the onset of their relationship with you, it is not surprising that a big chunk of them would prefer to make appointments this way, given the convenience and speed that it offers. This holds even more true for Millennials and Gen-z demographics who are averse to phone calls to the point of anxiety; 83% of them in the UK prefer booking online. So in the next coming years, we expect e-bookings to gain more traction.

For your practice, not having an online scheduling system is tantamount to missing out on potential clients. It has been reported that wellness spas, which share similarities with medical practices in terms of appointment scheduling, could lose up to 46% of bookings if they do not offer online booking options. This translates to a substantial loss in revenue and missed opportunities for practices that have yet to adapt to the growing trend.

Why is Traditional Scheduling no longer right for your Practice?

If you’ve relied on traditional methods of appointment scheduling, you’re probably all too familiar with their challenges; they’re fallible, inefficient, labour-intensive and often frustrating.

Using paper scheduling usually involves numerous phone calls to continually manage new appointments, reschedules, cancellations and to prevent double-booking patients for the same time slot. This not only demands constant manual intervention but also significantly impedes the operational efficiency of the organisation. Your staff, who could be better utilised for other essential tasks within the practice, are often bogged down with scheduling, to ensure the practice runs smoothly.

Oftentimes though, inexorable errors crop up and important information can be overlooked, and a failure to update the system with real-time changes – such as cancellations or reschedules– can lead to grave mix-ups.

These errors can undermine the efficiency and dependability of your practice, leading to a loss of trust from your patients.

Online Appointment Scheduling Systems

The difficulties of traditional appointment scheduling are considerable, with mistakes and inefficiencies making the process cumbersome and onerous. Online booking, on the other hand, offers solutions by using modern technology to provide greater convenience, efficiency, and flexibility. This can greatly enhance the patient experience and improve treatment outcomes. 

As we explore the advantages of online booking, it becomes clear that they have the potential to transform healthcare delivery and change the way patients interact with their providers.

Online Booking Systems Offer Convenience

Convenience is a key factor in any patient’s decision to book an appointment. As more and more medical practices move online, the convenience factor has become increasingly important. Online booking provides a level of convenience that phone reservations or walk-ins simply cannot match.

There are several factors that contribute to this convenience, including:

  1. Accessibility: Online booking provides patients with 24/7 availability to book appointments, making it much easier for patients with busy schedules to make an appointment. With just a few clicks, patients can quickly and easily schedule appointments at any time of the day or night. For those who don’t speak the prevalent language, your system could be mutli-lingual to cater to a diverse audience.
  2. Speed: Online booking is faster than traditional phone calls. Patients can schedule appointments quickly, eliminating the need to navigate a phone menu or wait on hold. This saves time for both patients and staff, and helps to reduce wait times for all patients.
  3. Flexibility: Online booking allows patients to easily reschedule or cancel their appointments online, providing them greater control over their treatment process. This is especially valuable for patients with hectic schedules or those who travel frequently.
  4. Ease of decision making: With online booking, patients can take their time to review their schedules and select the most convenient appointment time for them, eliminating the chances of selection of an inconvenient  time slot.

Online Scheduling Empowers Patients

Online appointment scheduling not only offers convenience but also empowers patients in several ways:

  1. Caters to different communication preferences. Introverts and those who prefer not to engage in phone conversations may find online booking systems more appealing. Additionally, tech-savvy patients who prefer digital solutions will appreciate the option to book appointments online.
  2. Reduces social discomfort and anxiety. Some patients may experience anxiety or discomfort when speaking on the phone, especially when discussing personal health matters. Online booking systems remove this barrier, allowing patients to schedule appointments without the potential stress of a phone call.

Online Booking Streamlines Operations for your Practice

Implementing an online booking system can also lead to significant improvements in practice operations:

Reduced administrative workload

By offering online appointment scheduling, healthcare providers can reduce the number of phone calls their staff members need to manage. This frees up time for staff to focus on other tasks and helps create a more efficient work environment. Moreover, online booking systems often include automated appointment confirmations and reminders, further reducing repetitive tasks. 

More than half of the doctors in this survey claimed that the use of mobile phones in their practice expedited decision making in administrative tasks, so it’s only natural that this usage will extend to scheduling to unlock the same advantages.

Improved appointment management

Online booking systems provide real-time updates on appointment availability, which helps reduce the risk of double bookings and scheduling conflicts. This leads to a smoother appointment process for you and your patients.

Also, the information used for appointment scheduling, such as email address and phone numbers, can be used to support your e-marketing efforts, bringing in more visits by new and existing patients.

Patient information collected on online booking portals is also likely to be up-to-date compared to the information provided on paper during the initial registration.

Increased client base from after-hours booking

According to this source 34% of appointments that are scheduled online are done so after the office is closed. So if your business does not support 24/7 scheduling, you could be missing out on potential business.

Enhanced privacy management

When patients book appointments online, they can complete any necessary online forms regarding their reasons for the visit and medical history. On the other hand, if a receptionist handles phone bookings, patients might share sensitive medical information with the receptionist instead of the practitioner, which could raise privacy concerns. Online booking systems help to address and mitigate such privacy issues, ensuring that sensitive information is only disclosed to the appropriate professional.

Increased Online Payment and Reduced Cancellations

Allowing patients to book and pay for appointments online can reduce the likelihood of missed appointments and can ensure your schedules remain full. Additionally, offering discounts on consultation fees or a free follow-up consultation can incentivize patients to utilise online appointment scheduling services. With online scheduling systems providing a safe and secure payment platform, patients are more comfortable than ever making payments digitally.

By integrating an online booking system into your practice’s workflow, you not only cater to the evolving demands of modern healthcare consumers, but also unlock numerous benefits such as increased efficiency, reduced no-shows (an average of 15.3% of missed appointments is reported in the UK), and the ability to attract and retain patients. 

Choose our All-in-one Practice Management Suite

At Meddbase, we offer a comprehensive practice management solution that includes an online scheduling feature. Instead of using a separate vendor for appointment bookings, practices can benefit from the seamless integration of Meddbase’s suite of features, which include patient portals, electronic prescribing, report and auditing, telemedicine, and more. 

By using a unified platform, your practice can streamline operations, reduce administrative burden, and improve the overall patient experience.


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