Digital Health Has Arrived
Any first contact between a patient and a clinic is more likely than ever to occur over the internet. Patients use specialised search engines and directories to discover medical practices and then proceed to choose their preferred practitioners according to online reviews and comments made on social media. Instead of picking up the phone and calling your reception desk, many patients find it far more convenient to tap a mobile phone screen a couple of times and book their appointment online via their very own patient portal.
The main issue clinics face is that the patient journey from browsing the internet to having made a booking is opaque. Many practice managers don’t know where to start when it comes to investigating the patient journey at this stage. It’s unclear where the patient came from, which aspects of the clinic they paid attention to most, and how they made the decision to book an appointment. To recreate and evaluate the patient journey from their first web search on to appointment booking online, you’ll need to investigate with the help of practice management software that can gather and analyse this data.
To this end, let’s explore how healthcare software system Medesk employs coloured tags to help your staff effortlessly collect information that will form the basis of all kinds of decision-making processes.
Online Booking and Specialist Directories
Modern patients are used to making decisions with the help of the information they find on the internet. They can easily find what they need to know about a given clinic or doctor by using Google, asking others on social media, and reading reviews written by past patients. Ultimately, such patients feel empowered to make a decision about which clinic to visit and which specialist they would like to see.
However, problems often arise when patients manage to locate contact and callback request forms but are unable to find anything relating to appointment availability. You can solve this issue by implementing an online booking page, a link to which you could place on your practice website, specialist directories, and social media pages. Patients can book an appointment at a convenient time without any need to call your practice, thus simplifying the patient journey from the internet to the consulting room and regulating your colleagues’ schedule and workload.
Online booking has become quite a trend in 2018, with the last 6 months showing a 52% growth in related Google searches. However, only around 10% of practices have a website or other means of online booking that could be considered “live” as described above.
Specialist clinician and practice directories represent another major online patient acquisition channel. These sites give priority to those practice websites which display live appointment availability and give patients the opportunity to book a doctor’s appointment whenever they want. For some Medesk users, these specialist directories are recorded as the main acquisition channel for up to 45% of all first-time appointments booked online.
To be continued.
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