Best Practice Software

Should I Let Patients Self-Book In? – The Novelty and Convenience of a Self-Service Economy

Across America, pink, LED-illuminated ATMs can be found affixed to streetside walls. Customers with cravings for sweet treats queue night and day, patiently waiting for their turn to swipe their bank cards. Rather than dispensing crisp dollar bills, however, these ATMs cut out the middleman and serve up freshly baked cupcakes. Open 24 hours a day, The Cupcake ATM has some of the best, freshest cupcakes to satisfy the cravings of sweet tooths; no matter the time of day. To stand out, these magical machines resemble what bank ATMs might look like if Barbie was their head of design.

However novel the idea of these machines may have been at their inception, they have now been around for over a decade. They, along with the now universal self-checkout isles at grocery stores, are just another sign of the rise of the self-service economy. This begs the question: should you enable online self-booking for your practice?

The short answer is yes, an online booking solution provides tangible benefits to both your business and your patients. The long answer is a tad more nuanced, and let’s sort out the details…

Cupcake ATM

Helping Patients Help Themselves

Late-night sugar cravings aside, have you ever woken up in the wee hours of the morning thinking about the appointment you forgot to book the day before? One of the top reasons to enable online booking is to capture appointments when your admin team is off-the-clock. Like you, most of our patients are also working 9-5, offering your patients the freedom to book their appointments is one of the clearest ways that you can help your patients help themselves.

In addition, it’s possible to do just about anything from a mobile device – order food, order a taxi, buy a plane ticket. It’s only natural that we also want the convenience of getting an immediate answer from a business, right? Even when a patient calls and leaves a voicemail, no appointment has been booked or confirmed. Nine times out of ten, you’re probably going to have to call them back. People want to be able to solve things by themselves. More and more people like the autonomy and freedom that self-service provides.

Telephonobia - It's A Thing, And It's More Common Than You Think.

What is telephonophobia? Also known as phone anxiety, telephonophobia refers to avoiding conversations over the phone. Talking on the phone can be daunting because of the absence of all other social cues – including gestures, body language, and eye contact. People can often feel self-conscious of the sound of their voice and choice of words. This phenomenon is most notable among younger adults, who grew up with texting and rarely had to make phone calls. People are increasingly becoming more reluctant to use their phone as a phone. Without an online booking solution, you might be doing your patients a disservice by leaving them with no other choice than to call you. 

When a patient can look at all the available options and book their own appointment at a time that best suits them, you are minimizing the communication gap with your customers. Look, select, book – easy as pie. Plus, with the added benefit of automated text message or email reminders, you can expect to see fewer patient no-shows in your practice. 

An online booking system for a doctor’s practice provides convenience, enhancing patient experience, much like online restaurant reservations have revolutionized dining. Just as diners can conveniently book a table from their phones at any time of day – regardless of whether the restaurant is open or not – patients can have the same ease in scheduling medical appointments. With an online booking system, patients can select appointment times that fit their schedule without any back and forth over the phone.  

Give 'Em The VIP Treatment

Best Practice Bookings, when paired with Bp Premier, you can opt not to share your online booking page publicly, and instead reserve it for your most trusted and loyal customers. It’s a little bit like a VIP pass for people who are already familiar with your practice.

Doctors on different schedules? No problem! You can configure your settings to their individual schedules. For example, Doctor Pyefinch does script refill appointments every Tuesday between 3 – 5 pm, and a skin check clinic every 2 weeks on a Monday between 9 – 11 am.

From automated Cupcake ATMs to online booking platforms in your practice, self-service technologies have revolutionized the way we interact with businesses and services. Is online patient bookings the automation that your practice is missing? Best Health Booking by Best Practice Software might be the icing on top of the cupcake that your practice needs! 

Authored by:

Lucy Saul
Marketing Specialist at Best Practice Software

Share this article: