May 3, 2023

How online scheduling accelerates practice efficiency and patient trust

Scheduling an appointment is often the first step in a patient’s relationship with a healthcare practice, and an opportunity to establish trust — or lose it.

Staff shortages and burnout are impacting the healthcare industry, making it harder for patients looking for healthcare providers. Independent healthcare practices are particularly affected when trying to maintain an effective scheduling process. With less time and fewer staff available to answer calls, your practice could lose an opportunity to provide a favorable patient experience — or connect with a patient at all — before they ever interact with your staff or providers.

Modern healthcare practices can take advantage of advancements in online appointment scheduling to lighten the workload on staff and give patients a safe, simple experience that improves their access to care. Below are several ways that a secure online scheduling solution will improve the patient experience and increase efficiency and growth at your practice.

Streamline schedule management

Traditional scheduling workflows can be time-consuming for staff, particularly when fewer employees are available, and can result in a divided focus between managing incoming calls and caring for patients in a timely manner.

Here’s how online scheduling can benefit your staff, patients, and practice overall.

Reduce scheduling errors

When an independent healthcare practice solely relies on staff to schedule appointments over the phone, it’s more likely that patients will hit a roadblock due to long hold times or an inability to reach a practice during business hours. Phone calls also create miscommunications and errors, for which there is little room given how much work your practice puts into providing proper care to patients

Increase practice efficiency

A strong online scheduling solution should accurately display a provider’s availability during the booking process, reducing accidental double bookings and the back and forth to negotiate a time that works for both patient and provider. The scheduling process should allow patients to select the service they wish to book. It should also include fields for information, such as insurance, that is required to confirm the appointment.

When a scheduling solution securely integrates with your electronic health record (EHR) or practice management system (PMS), your front office staff can more easily access and manage appointment information between pressing tasks, which improves efficiency and frees them to focus on higher-value patient interactions. 

Offer a better patient experience

Scheduling an appointment is often the first step in a patient’s relationship with a practice, and an opportunity to establish trust — or lose it. When a practice adds secure online appointment scheduling to its website and online profiles, potential patients who are already looking for healthcare information will be clicks away from scheduling the appointment they need. 

Understand what patients want in the scheduling process

Online scheduling creates a lasting first impression by allowing patients to conveniently learn about a practice’s available appointment times and services. Searching for a new provider, especially when a patient’s healthcare needs are most pressing, can be a potentially overwhelming experience. According to a recent study, 67% of Americans prefer to schedule appointments online.

“67% of Americans prefer to schedule appointments online.”


Ensure your patients feel heard

Your practice can build loyalty by ensuring that a patient can easily transmit their chosen appointment time, requested service, and contact information to your practice. Simplifying that process builds patient trust, since patients can begin their journey to fulfill their healthcare needs right away. This responsiveness affirms that your practice can meet the patient’s desire for care and provides vital context for how you can best help, improving patient satisfaction and loyalty. 

Establish patient trust with data security

While there are numerous available solutions that can provide online scheduling on your practice’s website, it is vital that the one you choose is focused on trust and security.

Prioritize compliance and security

Online scheduling involves the transmission of data online, so it is vital that a selected solution transmits and stores data in accordance with standards set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Protecting sensitive patient information not only shields practices from potential legal concerns, but also helps to increase patient trust.

Consider how patients access scheduling 

Look for an online scheduling solution that you can seamlessly incorporate into your website design. Establishing a unified experience builds on the trust a patient should have when visiting your website by not confronting them with add-ons or separate booking sites that could provide discomfort. 

Inform patients of appointment information

Effective online scheduling should include automated communications with the patient that state when your practice confirms an appointment, as well as reminders leading up to the appointment time. These touchpoints help patients  know where to go and at what time, and help your practice to reduce no-shows and cancellations. 

Online scheduling is here to stay

Enhancing your scheduling system builds patient trust and makes life easier for your staff. Investing in the patient experience at your practice will help bring in more new patients and keep your existing ones for life.

Online appointment scheduling is here to stay. Outpace the competition by simplifying your scheduling process so you can focus more on providing the care that your patients need.

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