The healthcare industry is at an inflection point. On the one hand, it is poised for transformation – technological advancements are pushing care forward and even helping experts predict trends in health. However, at the same time, doctors are still spending two-thirds of their time doing paperwork rather than directly working with patients. Manual processes and outdated tools are not only holding healthcare workers back when they are needed most, but they are also affecting these healthcare practices in another way: credibility.
Today’s Millennial and Gen Z patients look to user experience, ease of use and convenience as benchmarks for assessing the credibility of a business and the quality of an interaction – including even doctors appointments, vaccinations or tests. Fifty-five percent of Millennials say their expectations for customer service have increased over the last three years, and according to a 2020 Accenture study, 68% of consumers demand an integrated, seamless experience on all channels.
Individual healthcare practices – from chiropractors, to optometrists, to psychologists – need to keep pace with these expectations. When it comes to health and wellness, patients want to work with professionals who know the most modern methods and cutting-edge tools, especially since the healthcare field is constantly evolving. If aspects of their experience are outdated, whether that’s a low-quality website or paper-only processes, patients may question how up-to-date the entire practice is.
Online Appointments for Doctors, Vaccinations and More
For many patients, their experience with a healthcare practice begins with scheduling the appointment. If the only option for scheduling is to call the office and the phones are busy, Millennial and Gen Z patients will immediately be concerned. In addition to feeling inconvenienced, they may ask questions such as, Why does this business still rely on phone-only scheduling? Why were they too busy to pick up – are they understaffed? These questions may lead to more doubts, including, Does this mean the office is busy/booked up? If I go in person, will I have to wait for a while? Will I get enough attention when I go? And worst of all, If their scheduling process is so outdated, what do the rest of their tools and processes look like? As a result, the patient may take their business elsewhere.
To ensure a positive, credible first impression, healthcare practices should invest in HIPAA-compliant healthcare scheduling software. Online healthcare scheduling software allows clients to securely book appointments at their convenience – anytime, anywhere. It saves patients the headache of having to call to schedule the appointment, which actually increases the likelihood that they will schedule an appointment and not choose another provider. Imagine: instead of waiting on hold or working through a maze of recorded voice messages, patients experience the instant gratification of accessing a provider’s digital appointment book 24/7 and selecting the best time slot based on their schedule. All barriers are removed. Some patients are extra appreciative of providers that create this level of convenience, given any type of healthcare appointment can come with a level of stress. Providers that take the time to reduce anxiety and effort around appointments win loyalty with their patients.
From there, healthcare providers can set up automated email confirmations and reminders that will ensure appointments stay top of mind for patients. Once patients book the appointment, they will receive an email confirmation with the time and date – helping to reduce no-shows and create yet another touchpoint for digitally-savvy individuals. This online, automated system improves credibility by letting patients know they will not fall through the cracks. Their provider knows how to use the latest and greatest technology to ensure they have a positive, fruitful, attentive experience – which is what most patients ask for. Even better, because the emails can be customized, providers don’t need to worry about losing the personal touch with their patients.
Healthcare Scheduling Software Benefits Staff
With a HIPAA-compliant, user-friendly interface, scheduling becomes easy even in the lives of fast-paced healthcare and wellness providers. Healthcare scheduling software streamlines employees’ booking workflow, leaving one less thing to worry about as they navigate their already full plates. By eliminating the need to schedule appointments over the phone – or call patients in the event of back-and-forth or rescheduling – employees save time and money along the way.
The healthcare scheduling system can also help keep track of HIPAA agreements, intake forms, insurance cards, medical records and other sensitive paperwork. With an optional document upload plug-in, workers can upload Excel, Word or PDF files directly into the software. These capabilities not only help reverse the ratio of time that providers spend on paperwork vs. patients, but the built-in HIPAA compliance ensures documents are safe and secure. As industry regulations grow and become stricter, healthcare providers must remember they are not immune to auditors, no matter the size of their business. Compliance must be a priority, especially as they adopt new technology such as scheduling software. With compliance taken care of, patients can rest assured that their information is in good hands – further strengthening credibility for the business.
Remember: Patients are Consumers, Too
In this day and age, healthcare practices need to think like businesses and compete for the attention and loyalty of patients. Convenience can be a differentiator when it comes to winning and losing patients – just like customers. Getting access to needed healthcare can be stressful enough, especially during a global pandemic that has exacerbated existing challenges in everyone’s lives. What’s more, as individuals have to balance remote work, at-home school, online workouts, Zoom hangouts with friends and more, their personal schedules have also become more virtual. Healthcare practices that can create experiences that fit into their patients’ lives – like allowing 24/7 online access – will make those patients feel like people first. Now that Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation, it will become increasingly important that healthcare providers cater to these preferences.
By making scheduling seamless and virtual, healthcare practices will ensure more positive patient experiences from the get-go. Learn how AppointmentPlus’s healthcare scheduling software can give your business the polished, touch modern patients want.