The Intake

Insights for those starting, managing, and growing independent healthcare practices

Patient scheduling opportunities your medical practice is missing

Maximize your online bookings by taking advantage of these online patient scheduling options.

online scheduling

Online patient scheduling is expected to deliver $3.2 billion in value to U.S. healthcare systems, according to Accenture. 66 percent of healthcare systems U.S. offer the ability to book appointments online.

If online patient scheduling is already offered by your practice, it’s time to start using it to your advantage. According to a recent survey, 81 percent of patients would schedule a doctor’s appointment online if they had the ability, and 40 percent would even consider switching providers for this convenience. Here are tips on how to maximize online bookings at your practice.

Use your medical website to prompt for appointments

Your practice website tells your story. Potential patients visit your practice online to learn more about the services offered, and existing patients often check back when they need your contact information.

Incorporate an online scheduling tool onto your website, and work it into the content in a manner that speaks to the right patient. Include a call-to-action (CTA) on multiple pages, so it’s easy for patients to book an appointment with your practice online. If people have to search around for the one page where online patient scheduling is available, they might give up and move on to another provider.

Considering 77 percent of patients place a high value on the ability to book, change, or cancel an appointment electronically, including this feature on your website is a must. If you don’t, most patients will assume it isn’t offered by your practice online.

Utilize Medical Directories for online appointment opportunities

When searching for a provider, prospective patients don’t always land on your website first. Many learn of your practice on third-party directory websites such as Yelp, webmd, and others, so allowing them to book appointments directly on these sites just makes sense. (Fun fact: Yelp founder Jeremy Stoppelman was inspired to create the review platform in 2004 after searching to no avail for doctor recommendations in San Francisco, according to the company blog.)

google for patient appointments

Add appointment prompts to your social media posts and profiles

Hopefully you are curating a robust social media presence to stay connected with your patients and prospective patients. Since you frequently share updates that appear in newsfeeds, it’s possible they’re visiting your social media profile(s) on a regular basis.

Make booking an appointment easier than ever by placing an online patient scheduling tool directly on your social media profile(s). If people have to navigate to your website, they could put the task off until later, which could ultimately cause them to delay care, forgo it entirely, or choose another provider who makes online scheduling more accessible.

Use your Google Business Profile for direct appointments

If you’re not taking advantage of Google to enhance your online patient scheduling, it’s time to change that. A relatively new Google feature (formerly called "Google My Business" feature"), Reserve with Google is found in your search results and in Google Maps under your profile.

This feature offers many benefits, including the ability for patients to book an appointment at your practice without having to visit your website. Tebra conducted a test with thousands of listings with active homepage and appointment links. Those with a Book/Reserve call-to-action realized a 7.7 percent increase in bookings compared to the weeks before they instituted business profile booking features.

It doesn’t get much easier than making an appointment without leaving a Google search page. If new patients have to choose between two highly-rated providers, there’s a chance they’ll go with the one who makes booking an appointment a seamless experience.

Offering online patient scheduling gives you an edge on the competition, but get the most from it by maximizing your reach. Allowing patients the flexibility to book online appointments from multiple sites provides the ultimate convenience, which fares well for everyone.

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Written by

Nadene Evans

Nadene Evans is a marketing expert with years of healthcare journalism under her belt, having researched and published medical content for NurseFly, Vivian Health, and other healthcare provider publications. An advocate for independent providers, Nadene helps small practices promote their businesses through digital marketing and great content.

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