Does Online Patient Appointment Scheduling Lack the Personal Touch?

April 7th, 2012

Automated appointment scheduling is growing in popularity as people become more proficient and comfortable with the internet. Online patient appointment scheduling offers up a myriad of advantages to medical practitioners and their patients. Some might feel automated appointment scheduling lacks the ‘personal touch’ they believe is important to the patients in their care: And for this reason (despite all the practical advantages) continue to work with ‘paper and pen’. However, a survey carried out by the Wall Street Journal suggests that is not in fact the case. Instead, the majority of adults who voted said they preferred to make appointments online. In actual fact, one could say online appointment scheduling is MORE personalized: In the way it gives patients total control.

All The Advantages…
Indeed, the advantages of an automated patient appointment scheduling system are many. One of the greatest advantages is that patients can schedule a doctor appointment 24/7, giving them total control: No waiting for their call to be answered in or outside of office hours – Some of the more advanced appointment schedulers can also deal with emergency calls 24/7. For the hearing-impaired online patient appointment scheduling is extremely convenient: Putting them in complete control of their own health care.

Without the Disadvantages
While initially automated appointment scheduling may seem impersonal, when you think about the advantages and people´s lifestyles today, it is actually more personalized…in all the right ways. Unlike every human being an automated system does not have bad days. It is never rushed, brusque, harassed or distracted. To which, when the pressure is on there are times when the ‘personal touch’ is actually a disadvantage.

Reduce No-Shows
An online appointments scheduler can generate patient appointment reminders automatically. Reminder calls have proven to reduce no-shows. However, in a busy medical practice they can be omitted simply because staff are too busy. An automated appointment scheduler can call patients as well as send email and SMS text reminders. Patients have the option to confirm, reschedule or cancel their doctor appointment quickly and easily – Usually, automated reminders are more economical than postcards and calls, which is comparatively labor intensive. In this way, an automated reminder service is a cost-effective and so financially viable option.
Online appointment scheduling can help to reduce the pressure on the front desk as well as minimise no-shows and eliminate scheduling conflicts. Indeed, an online patient appointment scheduler can enhance communications, improve workflows and reduce conflicts: In this way actually improving levels of patient care – So, if that is something you would like to do cost-effectively it IS worth taking at look at the options…

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