5 Reasons Real-Time Scheduling Improves the Digital Patient Experience

November 1, 2022
min read

Key Takeaways

  • Real-time scheduling Is Essential: Patients demand convenient online booking like other online services. 90% of millennials and 42% of all patients prefer it to phone calls.
  • Eliminate Phone Wait Times: 42% of patients dislike phone scheduling, and 63% of calls get transferred, leading to frustration and lost conversions.
  • Faster Access to Care: Online scheduling removes time barriers, especially for urgent cases and patients with busy schedules. 40% of appointments are made outside office hours.
  • Improve Staff Efficiency: Free reception staff from making phone calls for scheduling to focus on in-person care and provide a better overall experience.
  • Reduce No-shows and Fill Gaps: Online scheduling leads to fewer cancellations and allows patients to fill last-minute openings quickly. 26% of patients prefer same-day or next-day appointments.

In a digitized world, your practice needs to implement modern solutions to meet patients’ expectations and eliminate barriers that prevent them from getting to you. Real-time scheduling, like Doctible’s Smart Scheduler, removes challenges that discourage and inconvenience patients. Faster, 24/7 scheduling expedites your patients’ care, making them happier and growing your practice.

How Accessibility Makes a Difference in Your Practice’s Growth

As a healthcare provider, the very nature of your business depends upon your patients' experiences. They seek you for your expertise, but regardless of the skills you've acquired in your industry, how your practice manages their reception can ultimately reflect the quality of your business. Every provider should look for ways to modernize patient experiences and care team workflows in an increasingly digital world. One of the most effective ways to do that is by implementing real-time online scheduling.  

Since acquiring this vital tool can mean the difference between your success or inferiority in your industry, it's essential to know more about it and how it can impact your practice's growth. Read ahead for five reasons real-time scheduling can improve your digital patient experience.

1. You give your patients what they want

The need for an efficient care journey is now greater than ever. More patients seek the same easy access to appointments they would find by making a dinner reservation online. For example, a 2021 patient access survey confirmed this sentiment. They found almost 90% of 45- to 54-year-olds would prefer the flexibility of scheduling their own appointments any time they want on their computer or smartphone.

It’s also important to acknowledge a generational shift attributed to technology’s widespread growth. Today, millennials outnumber baby boomers by 10%. This younger generation is far more digitally savvy than their parents, and they expect technology to be a sizeable factor in their daily lives. As such, your patients should be able to schedule a dentist's appointment like anything else these days: online.

2. When they wait on the phone, they hang up on your practice

One substantial reason that real-time scheduling leads to more conversions is that customers don't have to wait on the phone to make an appointment. Specifically, data outlines that 42% of patients don’t want to talk on the phone.

Imagine taking valuable time to call the provider and then spending it being put on hold or transferred. What's more, if your practice doesn't already implement real-time online scheduling, you may have played a part in why people dread making appointments by phone: patient calls are transferred 63% of the time.

Afterward, if there are any patients left that haven't hung up, they aren't happy. These inefficient appointment practices can reduce acquisition rates, causing your clinic to suffer. And while you may offer outstanding services, it's a moot point if other healthcare organizations can get to your patients quicker.

3. Patients need you faster than ever before

Another compelling reason for faster patient intake is the public's concern for negative health outcomes due to increased rates of poor lifestyle choices. Unhealthy diets, constant stress, and lack of exercise have generated a population in urgent need of care. Moreover, delaying care is dangerous for the patient. It's also likely to cost them more if they let serious diseases go unchecked.

For patients that need alarming issues addressed, convenient online scheduling that works on their time can make a world of difference. Real-time, 24/7 scheduling eliminates barriers. Your office hours conflicting with their schedules won't stop them from putting off the treatment they desperately need. In fact, an astonishing 40% of appointments are made after business hours, underlining the necessity of flexible online scheduling.

4. Your reception staff will spend less time on the phone

We don't have to set the scene for you because we're sure you can already imagine it. In addition to other billing and administrative duties, if your front office is busy answering the phone to schedule clients, they're less likely to provide those in front of them with the service they expect and deserve.  

Online scheduling benefits both parties: If patients schedule appointments with you on their own time, your front office faces a significantly lighter workload. In turn, your staff can provide better care to office visitors without being abrupt or frazzled. They can welcome patients and give them a higher quality experience.

5. Easily plug schedule holes with real-time availability

One of the biggest problems with the old scheduling workflow is its inability to offer an efficient solution to last-minute cancelations. With real-time online scheduling, patients can view your availability in detail, including updated time slots due to cancelations. Such an advantage minimizes revenue losses as patients hoping for same-day appointments can easily see open timeslots and fill them. Plus, 26% of patients prefer to make same-day and next-day appointments.  

Also, it's worth noting that allowing patients to schedule appointments online will lead to fewer cancellations and no-shows. Because they have the freedom to make an appointment that fits their lives, they're more likely to show up. Or, if they do need to cancel, they will be more likely to let you know because they're more engaged with your practice.

For Happier Patients, Modernize Your Practice with Doctible's Smart Scheduler

Busy schedules and work and family obligations often crowd people's daily lives. Not only are they in need of medical care—which can sometimes be dire—but they must search for it. Complicated intake processes lead them along difficult paths that discourage them from getting the care they need.

For them to trust and value your practice, you must consider ways to lighten their burdens. Easy, real-time scheduling with Doctible's Smart Scheduler eliminates patient barriers that would otherwise bar them from coming to your office.  

Fully Customizable to Fit Your Practice’s Needs  

Doctible’s Smart Scheduler offers a variety of customizable digital health tools to suit the specific needs of your practice. Smart Scheduler pulls data from your EHRs to give specific procedures and appointment types estimated length times, allowing you to adjust details where needed.  

Your patients benefit greatly, as they can make detailed appointment selections in a few minutes. With this feature, they’ll know roughly how much time they’ll spend at your practice and can continue planning their day accurately.

Fast Appointments You Can Easily Adjust

The Smart Scheduler accelerates the appointment process by allowing patients to select a service, provider, and location with one click. And it still allows your practice to have ultimate control over the schedule. Moreover, your staff can decline appointments or change booking details to discuss the best time frame or provider. This way, your office operates efficiently to give the best patient experience.

Increase Patient Satisfaction to Grow Your Business

Doctible’s Smart Scheduler gives your patients what they want. It eliminates long phone calls, eases your staff’s workload for friendlier service, and offers flexibility that allows patients to make appointments at a time that works for them.

Today, patients want modern, easy, and time-saving solutions, especially when accessing healthcare. As a healthcare provider, you already have the tools to provide exceptional care. Now, you need the tools to be easily accessible. Only then will you have the right mechanism to grow and sustain a successful business.

January 25, 2024

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