Several times a week, LEVO Health is approached by physician groups or surgery centers looking for help with their website, or ways to increase patient appointments volume. Before each discovery call, our team goes through their online presence and begins to build an online scorecard, highlighting any strengths and weaknesses for discussion during our call.
The most prevalent weakness our analysis shows is that most of these doctors offices aren’t fully leveraging online patient scheduling properly – or at all. Tech-savvy consumers and younger populations, such as millennials, don’t want to pick up the phone to schedule an appointment if they can do so from their phone or computer. Even more important is, unlike a medical practice’s front office, these online patient scheduling platforms work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What Happens if There’s No Option to Schedule Online?
Today’s healthcare consumers are conditioned to expect information, results, and purchases to be readily available at the click of their mouse. The feelings of instant gratification are no different when ordering a pair of shoes than when finally getting an appointment with a specialist with a 4-week wait list. If the option to schedule an appointment, or at least fill out a request for an appointment online isn’t available, these potential patients may head elsewhere.
Regardless of tech-savviness or age, calling the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment can be time-consuming. A provider-focused study from the consulting firm Accenture found that, on average, patients spent 8 minutes on the phone with front office staff scheduling an appointment. In comparison, the average time to fill out an online patient appointment request is less than 2 minutes.
How Can Doctor Offices Integrate Online Patient Scheduling Within Their Practices?
The process of integrating an online patient appointments scheduling platform depends on the end goals of the practice, and the capabilities of the staff and current EHR/EMR. While companies like Zocdoc make it easy for practices to integrate online scheduling, the downside is, by design, these companies provide patients access to other doctors from competing medical practices as part of their platform. Groups should weigh the benefits between the ease of implementation, and the potential erosion of patient loyalty to specific doctors. In an effort to capture these potential patients, practices should look for ways to keep patients on their websites as long as possible.
Whether it was paid marketing, organic SEO or other referral sources that brought the potential patient to the practice’s website, the hard work has already been done. Now the pathway to scheduling needs to be clearly defined to easily find the right doctor; matched with the patient’s symptoms and requested date/times. This way the practice’s patient care coordinators can quickly follow up with these potential patients and more easily convert them into patients. Setting up these types of captive online patient scheduling platforms is just a small piece of what LEVO Health does for each client engagement.
If you are interested in learning more about ways that LEVO Health can help your medical practice, surgery center, and multi-specialty clinic implement online patient appointments scheduling, please give our office a call at 855-234-0232.