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.