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4 easy ways to get maximum value from your online bookings

December 13, 2023
According to recent research, over two-thirds of patients prefer online booking when it comes to making medical appointments. It’s hardly surprising – digital convenience has proved to be a desirable quality when it comes healthcare in 2023.
With 94% of people prioritising online booking when looking for a healthcare provider, giving your patients the opportunity to book appointments at their own leisure is guaranteed to cultivate that all-important good first impression.
So, how can you unlock your online booking potential? Whether you've got patients not showing up for appointments or you just want to make life easier for your admin team, we’ve got four simple but oh-so effective tips guaranteed to improve your digital diary.

1. Add 24-hour online self service to your bookings

It takes roughly 2.5 minutes for a patient to book, cancel or change an appointment over the phone. In isolation, this doesn’t sound too devastating – but en masse this will have detrimental effects on the way your practice functions.

For your staff, over-the-phone appointment booking can often be labour-intensive and a source of frustration. And the manual intervention can open your practice up to certain errors, like missed appointments or double bookings.

Allowing patients the autonomy to choose their own appointment online with 24-hour booking allows for flexibility, efficiency, and convenience. Around 34% of appointments are scheduled after traditional working hours, so allowing 24/7 booking opens potential business opportunities that would otherwise be lost.

By giving patients the chance to take their time selecting an appointment time they’d like, and with whom, you remove a level of anxiety that often comes with speaking to a person, avoiding the need to make quick decisions and discuss personal medical matters.

This way, the appointment your patient wants is booked in just a couple of clicks. Plus, the time this frees up for your front of house staff means they can concentrate on more important tasks. It’s a win-win.

Gemma Wilsher, Practice Manager, said that Semble’s online booking system has saved them significant admin hours: “We’ve reduced our filing time by about 75%, saving almost a day of admin work per week that we can use elsewhere in the practice.”

2. Send automated reminders to patients 

Appointment no-shows cost the UK healthcare system billions every year and can be a huge drain on private practice.

Incorporate automated SMS messaging and email into your post-booking communications – remind the patient of their upcoming appointment, and if they can no longer make it, they’ll have the option to cancel or reschedule.

In fact, a recent study showed that over half of patients would prefer to receive appointment reminders via email or text, and there is a 29% reduction in no-shows thanks to automated reminders. A little nudge goes a long way.

3. Add the option for a waiting list

Having a lot of customers is always a good problem to have. And no matter how robust your booking system, there’s always going be no-shows or rescheduled appointments that come through late in the day.

These two things combined create a perfect opportunity. You can alleviate the negative effects of missed appointments by keeping a waitlist of patients who are keen to get an earlier appointment than the one they’ve booked.

4. Allow patients to pay when booking

Taking payment at the time of booking helps your practice remain profitable. Whether in full or a partial amount, online payments increase the probability of your patient attending their appointment.

A safe, secure online payment also helps with streamlining your staff’s administrative tasks. Less payments over the phone, less admin (and more time for important patient care).

Want to make the most of online booking in your practice?

Our knowledgeable specialists will show you how you can start using online booking to bring in more patients. Book a demo with them today.