“Fly” Through Scheduling: Transform Online Booking to Airline-Like Ease

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Blakely Roth | November 30, 2023

Patients want the freedom to book appointments at their convenience, just like booking a flight online. In this article, we’ll explore how online scheduling can be as easy for patients as booking a flight, while still meeting your practice and provider’s booking requirements. In today’s world, this approach is possible and it’s helping practices increase patient acquisition and booking accuracy. See what patients are looking for in a self-scheduling solution and how you can make the transition with ease.

Without Self-Scheduling You Lose Patients Every Day

The demand for patient self-scheduling has skyrocketed in recent years, with 76% of patients surveyed expressing a desire to schedule appointments online. Patients no longer want to rely on phone calls or wait for office hours to schedule an appointment. Today, 61% of patients report that they’ve skipped doctor appointments altogether due to challenges associated with scheduling, including being directed to schedule appointments via a traditional phone call. Moreover, 82% of patients prefer a provider who offers online scheduling, further emphasizing the significance of embracing patient self-scheduling.

Patients demand the flexibility to book appointments anytime, anywhere. They’ve become accustomed to this approach as it’s common place today, from booking flights, cosmetic appointments and even grocery store pickup. This shift in patient behavior is driven by a desire for more control over their healthcare journey and a need for convenience in their busy lives.

When discussing their switch to patient self-scheduling software, Director of Operations at The Orthopaedic Group, Jennifer Lott, shares, “It’s the time we’re living in. Everything is advancing, and I truly believe more and more patients will use self-scheduling.”

What Do Patients Want in a Self-Scheduling Tool?

It’s simple, patients want ease, convenience and confirmation.

Ease: Patients want a seamless experience that allows them to quickly find available time slots that fit their schedules. They also value transparency regarding providers’ availability and specialties, ensuring they can choose the right provider for their needs. They don’t want a lengthy process or multiple steps standing between them and securing an appointment. A streamlined and intuitive interface is key to ensuring patients can navigate through the scheduling system effortlessly. By minimizing clicks and offering clear instructions, healthcare practices can make the booking process feel effortless.

Convenience: Have you ever calculated your call abandonment rate to see how many patients you’re losing by not offering convenient booking options to patients? Just like booking a flight, reservation or cosmetic appointment, patients want 24/7 online booking. Patients want to make appointments while they’re top of mind, anywhere, anytime. With this convenience, patients won’t forget to book important healthcare appointments and won’t have to designate 30 minutes in their day to call around to practices and wait on hold.

Confirmation: There’s a clear difference between requesting an appointment and actually confirming an appointment. When patients go to book an appointment, they don’t want to wait and see if their appointment request is approved, especially if they’re booking on a weekend or overnight and have to wait for your practice to open up to get an answer. They want to know if they can plan on the date and time they selected so they can adjust the rest of their busy schedule accordingly. The confirmation piece is often the piece missing in self-scheduling solutions that can lead to angry patients. Today, confirmation is essential to any high-growth practice’s approach to patient self-scheduling, yet it’s often the first piece missing, as providers and practices can feel hesitant about using an online tool to confirm bookings.

How Self-Scheduling Meets Provider & Practice Requirements

Tailored to the needs of any number of on-staff providers: Regardless of the number of physicians or unique practice specifications, a smart scheduling system can be tailored to meet the diverse requirements of healthcare practices and physicians. Going on, The Orthopaedic Group implemented online scheduling, resulting in an increase in new patients every month and no complaints from their 26 on-staff providers. Lott says, “The online scheduler has been huge in helping book patients in the way that meets provider requirements, and now it is really on autopilot for us. It has been so seamless and improved our scheduling efficiency.”

Accuracy is a top priority: Patient self-scheduling software not only enhances efficiency but also minimizes the risk of human error. The key advantage lies in the digital solution’s ability to adhere strictly to pre-built workflow requirements, eliminating the possibility of inaccuracies in patient bookings. This automated system operates on autopilot, ensuring precision in scheduling without relying on manual staff intervention.

Lott shares, “When patients book with Clearwave, we know it will be accurate, which isn’t something you can always guarantee in an over-the-phone interaction. Clearwave was even able to add a pop-up consent in our scheduling workflows. Now, when someone indicates that they’re uninsured we can have patients review and acknowledge our financial policies via the online scheduler.”

Drop staff workloads: While they will still have to field phone calls from patients with billing and healthcare questions, by directing a majority of scheduling traffic online, administrative staff will have fewer calls to field. Additionally, administrative or check-in tasks can be streamlined with online scheduling workflows. A digital scheduler allows for specific patient interactions, such as reviewing and acknowledging financial policies, to be seamlessly integrated into the online scheduling experience.

Why Risk Missing Out on the Benefits of Patient Self-Scheduling Software?

Calculate your annual missed revenue from abandoned calls to get a peek into what your current scheduling approach is costing you.

Transforming online booking from requestable to airline-like ease. Meet patients where they are while helping your practice increase acquisition, loyalty and booking accuracy — all while dropping staff workloads. See The Winning Formula To Bring In More Patients, without added costs or staff work abandoned

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