Are You a Patient Self-Scheduling Innovator or 10 Years Behind the Times?

Recently I spotted an article about online reservations for GP’s, where patients make their own appointments via the Internet. “Some practices rave about the money and time they’ve saved by allowing patients to schedule visits through the Internet,” But so far, many allied healthcare practices are not that enthusiastic.

It turns out that the article was published more than ten years ago when the concept of patient self-appointments was “way out there”.

Fast forward to today’s private practice healthcare marketing, where patients are increasingly consumer-minded and empowered shoppers, and the watchwords of patient experience and satisfaction are access, quality, and affordability.

Both health care clinics and patients share the benefits of digital self-scheduling. The proliferation of smartphones and high-speed Internet access has consumers making reservations for dining-out, buying movie theatre tickets, or booking an Uber. Individuals now expect the same faster and easier convenience and efficiency in healthcare.

  • An online appointment can be scheduled in about a minute
  • Patients can make, change or cancel appointments at their convenience outside of office hours
  • Many patients like and want online or digital communications with their healthcare providers
  • Self-appointment software options also enable automatic reminder notices and reports
  • Demand for staff time, for answering phones and appointment setting, is relaxed

And on the clinic side, it is a point of differentiation and quality service that saves costs and is operationally efficient.

What is your place on the adoption curve for your practice? Did you get aboard early with online patient appointment bookings, or are you holding out?