5 Benefits of Online Appointment Scheduling for Your Health System

by
Raven Cobb
Clearstep Team

Today’s patients demand convenient healthcare, and they’re not afraid to switch clinicians if that convenience isn’t provided. Patients will switch providers to get the experience they want.

So how can healthcare organizations prevent their patients from leaving? Improving convenience and access for your patients will satisfy them — and online scheduling can do both.

Related: Pushing the Boundaries of Virtual Care

If your health system isn’t offering online appointment scheduling, it’s time to add this feature now. It’s relatively simple and affordable and can immediately increase your patient satisfaction.

Transitioning to online scheduling can help bring in new patients, empower your existing ones, reduce administrative burdens for care staff, and more. Invest in online appointment scheduling so that your healthcare team can focus on important patient requests and in-person visits.

5 Benefits of Online Appointment Scheduling

Here’s what your medical group stands to gain from investing in online scheduling:

1. Bring in New Patients

Because patients are beginning to prioritize convenience, offering online scheduling is one way that organizations are bringing in new patients. Other than insurance coverage, convenience is the number one factor that influences peoples’ healthcare choices.

And since scheduling is often someone’s first interaction with a new healthcare group, it’s essential to present a seamless process to make a great first impression.

When you offer your patients online scheduling, they can book an appointment whenever it’s most convenient for them instead of calling your front desk/call center during business hours and playing phone tag.

2. Empower Your Patients

Traditional office hours no longer cut it for healthcare consumerism — it’s a dated concept. In many industries, 24/7 customer service and chatbots are standard. In contrast, many healthcare organizations only accommodate appointment requests during regular office hours, causing frustrations for patients who have commitments during the day.

Almost 20% of patients hate having to wait for their provider to open to schedule their appointments, and 42% of them state that being put on hold is their biggest annoyance.

Online scheduling can be a logistical life-saver for times when your phone lines are tied up or your office is closed.

At Clearstep, we provide independent medical groups with AI chatbots and features that allow patients to check their symptoms, view their options, and book their appointments online. Learn more about how we can help you give your patients the convenience they crave!

Related: How AI Chat Builds Brand Loyalty

3. Fill Appointment Gaps

An empty hospital lobby

The most successful medical groups keep full schedules by optimizing and maximizing their appointment volume. However, last-minute cancellations and patient no-shows make their efforts useless, hindering growth and leading to less revenue.

Online patient scheduling can help solve this issue, too. By offering this service, patients that want quick appointments can check your up-to-date availability at any time, filling up slots that might otherwise get lost or go unfilled.

Many online scheduling platforms offer automated reminders and appointment confirmations, which also help reduce late cancellations and no-shows. And because a missed appointment means lost revenue, implementing these simple tools to help minimize schedule disruptions directly supports your bottom line, helping your long-term growth strategy.

4. Reduce Administrative Burden

Employee burnout has become an issue for healthcare organizations everywhere, especially since the start of the pandemic. One survey found that almost one out of five healthcare workers left their position during this time. In addition, about half of them are overwhelmed by the increased demand in the wake of COVID-19.

So how can healthcare organizations help support their employees better? By reducing menial and tedious tasks — like by implementing self-service, online appointment scheduling.

When medical groups don’t offer online scheduling, the front desk/call center staff are left juggling duties in an unsustainable way. Between taking incoming phone calls, helping patients during their visits, and trying to schedule appointments, their workload is overwhelming.

Many organizations waste hours and hours each week manually scheduling their patients when online systems can meet their patients’ convenience requirements while freeing up time for their front desk staff.

Using online appointment scheduling lets your busy staff focus on other areas of the health system to accomplish more throughout the workday without needing overtime — another significant contributor to burnout.

5. Deliver a Better Patient Experience

You want to set the stage for patient satisfaction before their first visit — like with online appointment scheduling. Over half of patients get frustrated by inconvenient office hours and waiting on hold to schedule an appointment.

Giving them options to self-schedule online means they don’t have to schedule an appointment around your office hours or sit on hold while your staff manages other, more pressing duties.

In addition, when your staff spends less time scheduling appointments, they can spend more time providing your patients with a better in-office experience. They have time to make welcoming greetings, thoroughly answer questions, and pay attention to the details that ensure an efficient and great experience.

And for healthcare organizations that employ digital marketing strategies to grow their business, online appointment scheduling makes for an effective call-to-action, improving conversion rates, increasing your ROI, and driving growth.

If you don’t offer online scheduling, you risk losing potential patients who make it to your website but can’t find an easy way to book an appointment with you.

Get the Benefits of Patient Satisfaction With Clearstep

A doctor holding hands with his patient

Implementing online appointment scheduling is an excellent investment in your medical group, enhancing both efficiency and profitability. Doing so can positively impact your patient and staff satisfaction.

Related: What’s Next for Virtual Care?

With Clearstep Patient Services, you can reduce your staff’s administrative burden and provide more convenience for your patients by automating their most common requests.

Your patients can easily search for and schedule their appointments online without any phone calls or long wait times, allowing your staff to spend more time on urgent calls and in-office duties.

Patients can also check their insurance eligibility, reducing billing uncertainties, and gain price transparency. And Clearstep integrates with other healthcare technologies, allowing you to automate workflows like prescription refills, follow-up scheduling, collecting payments, etc.

Ready to start getting the benefits of online appointment scheduling? Book your demo of Clearstep to improve your patient and staff satisfaction today.

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