Online Appointment Scheduling – Patients DO Want It

September 15th, 2012

According to much of the research carried out, most patients would welcome the opportunity to make their doctor appointment online. The trend is certainly catching on among larger health organizations, and has enabled those organisations to streamline workflows and so improve services – While patient appointment scheduling is certainly essential, the time of your staff can usually be “better spent” dealing with more demanding tasks; such as billing and patients! It seems curious that despite the “people” wanting it, and the clear advantages it has for medical practitioners, online appointment scheduling remains unavailable to many patients.

Improved Confidence
Self scheduling might seem like a HIPAA compliant nightmare to some medical practitioners. However, there are HIPAA compliant online schedulers available. Technology had moved on leaps and bounds over the last few years. While the “fear factor” with regards to using online systems is certainly still around, on the whole the public have accepted and embraced the opportunity to “go about their business” online. Today people routinely book holidays, restaurants, theatre tickets etc online They use online systems to deal with their tax returns, banking and a whole myriad of other “sensitive” tasks – To which, this improved confidence means the opportunity to book a doctor appointment online would be a welcome service to many: Primarily because of the sheer convenience of it: They can make a doctor appointment 24/7 without ever having to “endure” hanging on the end of a phone (or an overworked and so over stressed receptionist!)

With an online appointment scheduling system in place you can improve services cost effectively. In actual fact, automated scheduling systems have helped many medical practitioners as well as large health organizations reduce no-shows as well as enhance overall patient experience. In this way, automated appointment scheduling has improved revenues. Research carried out by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) indicates, around fifty percent of American family medical practices use software to deal with patient health records. In addition, around forty-four percent use e-prescribing. In stark comparison, only around twenty percent of family doctors used an online scheduler to deal with patient appointments.

Ready?
In 2014 the “boomer group” will be looking for health care. The boomer group are accustomed to the internet and running their lives online. Is your medical practice ready to give them what they (almost certainly) want? No, perhaps there is a need to rephrase that – Today people do not only want online scheduling, they positively expect it: And in a competitive world, that can be catastrophic for business…

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