Online Appointment Scheduling: a Guide to Optimal Results

Despite its growing popularity among patients, physicians and managers, there are still many practices that have not realized the benefits of an online appointment system.

Instead, they continue to rely on outdated methods like phone calls or online forms to manage their appointment schedules. For example:

  • Businesses offering appointment scheduling options online observed a 24% increase in call volume (Healthgrades).

  • A 30% to 45% revenue increase is highly possible with appointment scheduling software (Yolantis).


However, as patient demand for simplified scheduling increases and the need for efficiency becomes more important, there is no way around implementing an appointment scheduling system (OAS). 

But not all OASs are created equal, and implementing a solution requires thorough research. We have compiled the most important points for the introduction of OAS and show you how you can optimize your already installed OAS systems.

What are Online Appointment Scheduling Systems? 

An OAS offers numerous benefits for both healthcare providers and patients. Firstly, it allows patients to conveniently book appointments at any time, from anywhere, without the need for phone calls or waiting on hold. This flexibility and accessibility greatly improve patient satisfaction and engagement. Additionally, an OAS reduces the administrative burden on healthcare staff, freeing up their time to focus on delivering quality care. It also minimizes the risk of errors or double bookings, ensuring efficient use of resources.

What features does a good OAS have?

When considering an OAS tool, it is crucial to explore the different systems available and find one that suits the specific needs of the practice. Some OAS platforms offer basic functionalities such as appointment scheduling and reminders, while others provide advanced features like patient portals, online payment options, and integration with electronic health records.

  • For example, online appointment research showed that re-booking reminders result in a 30% growth in repeat appointments (Yocale, 2021).

Assessing the requirements of the practice and understanding the available options is essential to make an informed decision. Apart from basic appointment scheduling functionality, features like automated reminders, patient self-scheduling, waitlist management, and real-time availability updates are highly beneficial. Integration with communication channels such as email or SMS can further enhance patient engagement and reduce no-show rates. Advanced features like online payment options, telemedicine integration, and analytics for performance tracking can also add significant value to the OAS.

What if my OAS doesn't deliver my desired results?

However, implementing an OAS system does not guarantee immediate success. Some practices may find that their chosen system does not deliver the desired results. It could be due to poor user interface, limited customization options, or inadequate technical support. In such cases, it is crucial to evaluate the shortcomings and consider alternatives. Switching to a different OAS system or collaborating with the provider to address the issues can help optimize the scheduling process and improve patient engagement.

Optimizing your OAS for best results

To enhance or optimize an OAS system, there are several strategies that practices can employ. Firstly, ensuring the system integrates seamlessly with the practice management software and electronic health records is essential for efficient workflow. Customization options should be explored, allowing the practice to tailor the system to their specific needs and branding. Additionally, regularly gathering feedback from patients and staff can provide valuable insights into areas of improvement and help refine the OAS to better meet their expectations.

OAS is the future of patient engagement

Implementing an online appointment scheduling system is becoming increasingly important for healthcare practices. It offers convenience, efficiency, and improved patient engagement. However, choosing the right system, optimizing its functionality, and ensuring it has key features are crucial steps to maximize its benefits. By embracing an OAS and continuously refining its use, practices can enhance their scheduling processes and provide better care experiences for their patients.

Steer Health offers advanced OAS for convenience, efficiency, and improved patient engagement. Learn more how you can benefit from Steer's seamless OAS during a free, 15 min call with our expert team.

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