The vast majority of communication now takes place online and it’s hard to deny the ever greater role the internet plays in our lives, whether it’s being used for business or pleasure. Online shopping for goods and services is at an all-time high, but it doesn’t stop there. Private healthcare is now a mere click away too.
Patients are now more likely than ever to go online to choose a private practice or doctor, and they expect to receive as much information as possible before they arrive at the clinic. Spurred on by the advent of patient-centred care and all the knowledge in the world at their fingertips, patients book an appointment with a private practitioner only after examining online profiles and reading independent reviews from other service users and regulatory bodies alike.
Victoria, managing director of Clinic Aesthetic tells us all about how she uses Medesk’s online booking module in her medical practice. She goes on to explain which kind of patients book online and why, showing how the whole process serves to improve the patient experience.
How Did You Train Your Colleagues?
Learning how to use the online booking system was as quick and easy as could be. We received a link that we went and tested from the patient’s point of view before proceeding to check how our receptionists dealt with incoming bookings. We began to understand how to handle appointment-related tasks and did some role-play to practise. Before long, we were ready to go live and put a booking link on our actual website.
As well as the website, we decided to add this link to our social media accounts, starting with Facebook and Instagram. We encouraged our clinical staff to do the same to boost their own professional online presence.
Why Is It Important to Allow Your Patients to Book Online?
Because people love it. When they spend all day communicating verbally with their colleagues, family and friends, making a call to the doctor is the last thing they want to do. It involves staying on the phone when you’re already tired while you wait to talk to someone. It just makes sense to book online; it’s quicker and easier.
Our patients tend to be from high-income groups, working long hours and thus spending a lot of time speaking to others. Online booking is the best possible solution as it saves time and lets our patients avoid a call they don’t really want to have to make.
How Does Online Booking Work in Your Clinic?
I’m no longer worried about speaking to a patient and then suddenly having to check the schedule to see which of my colleagues is working and when. All I need to do is tell the patient to book online and they can choose a time and date at their own leisure. It has made my workday so much simpler and improved the patient experience all in one go.
Booking requests land in the Tasks section so our receptionists can confirm appointments and get in touch with patients if necessary.
With the help of secure messaging systems, we are able to work around the clock, helping patients whenever they need us. The main thing is to make sure you can answer all these late-night and early-morning requests on time as the quicker you respond, the better you engage your patient and the more likely they are to keep coming to your practice.
I pay close attention to all the appointment booking statistics to make sure that everything is running smoothly and improving over time. Although we can’t necessarily solve all the problems that arise, the most important thing is that we are able to give our patients as much choice when it comes to appointments as possible.
How Do Your Patients Benefit?
At the moment, we’re actively encouraging our clinical team to make sure their LinkedIn profiles are complete. Patients want to know as much as they can about their doctors, and healthcare providers without an online presence are simply left unable to compete with their peers.
It’s particularly effective to make special buttons for booking links, and this approach has led to us attracting patients from other parts of the country and even from overseas. By using the Patient Portal, our patients can request images, excerpts from their medical history, test results, as well as a call back from one of our team if they need any booking advice.
How Does Your Practice Benefit?
We receive a weekly average of 30 booking requests via our website, and this is even without having spent much time on promoting it. Our next task is to update our site and make it good enough to help us sustainably grow our patient list. To do so, it’s vital that we produce useful online content that will be noticed by internet search engines and our patients alike.
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