The administrative burden placed on physicians is at an all-time high. Regulatory requirements surrounding reporting and documentation are increasing in stringency, meaning physicians themselves now have a lot more on their plates than simply caring for patients.
Alongside these strict regulatory requirements, many practices are also faced with a deluge of phone calls from patients seeking appointments; with vaccinations now readily available, greater numbers of patients are now safe to return to physical appointments. Not all practices will have escaped the worst of the pandemic with their entire staff intact meaning these calls will only serve to place an even greater amount of stress on those still left.
While not an all-encompassing solution, implementing online after-hours booking might alleviate some of this strain. Allowing patients the ability to self-schedule round the clock offers much greater convenience, something they have already come to expect due to the consumerization of healthcare. The latter point makes it a necessity for any practice looking to thrive in the present times. Let’s take a more in-depth look at all of the benefits this prospect offers:
The changing demands of younger patients
Modern consumers, for whom instant connectivity and high-speed Internet are ubiquitous, seek a certain level of convenience and control, through experiences tailored to their unique routines and preferences, of all the services and products they avail themselves of. The Internet is a fundamental part of their daily lives, and this need for constant connectivity and control extends to their healthcare needs as well.
However, there is a downside to this. Today, patients are much more likely to consult their symptoms on a search engine than with an actual physician, seeking self-diagnosis. This creates a dangerous situation: the patient is misdiagnosed and self-medicates because of this misdiagnosis, worsening the original symptoms or creating entirely new ones. The best way to avoid these situations is for physicians to be available where these patients seek their medical advice: the Internet.
It is a necessity to reach patients through digital means
The benefits of offering after-hours booking are not just limited to patients. As mentioned above, younger generation patients rely heavily on the Internet in all facets of life, including healthcare. Therefore, a strong online presence will facilitate access to providers.
Convenience continues; online booking allows patients to book appointments at any time, without the restrictions of having to call or visit during office hours. Modern practice management solutions can handle all of this easily, avoiding complications such as double booking.
Effective and efficient time management
Vacant appointment slots can serve as a major source of annoyance for providers; not only is it inefficient in terms of time, it is also a wasted opportunity for generating revenue. This is another area where online booking offers a solution: patients can schedule last-minute appointments for time slots that were previously empty, eliminating any time wastage, and creating an opportunity for revenue generation.