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This Critical Tool is a Must for Healthcare Practices In the healthcare and technology industries, the term 'business as usual' will destroy the patient experience and limit the clinic's success.

By Matt Prados

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Online scheduling and time management are crucial for any business owner. But, if your business is appointment-based, you absolutely need online scheduling.

Patients are people and people are busy. Expectations have been raised. Rules have changed. And, instant gratification is in high demand. For the healthcare industry, technology has not kept up with the growing demands of consumer expectations. As a result, the majority of patients still have to schedule doctor's appointments by phone. And the patient experience suffers because of it.

Providing online scheduling is a simple way healthcare practices can reinvent themselves, revolutionize the way they run, and provide an exceptional patient experience.

Related: How an Automated Scheduling Tool Helped a Wellness Center Shape Up

Keeping up with consumer demand

Online scheduling is a huge differentiating factor when searching for a healthcare practice. It's not enough to be the nearest practice to that person's area anymore.

When given the choice between doctors with a similar experience, proximity, availability and patient satisfaction ratings, 80% of patients reported they'd switch providers for convenience factors alone.

This is why technology is the key to pushing this industry forward because millennials, Gen Z, and beyond are not only the most tech-savvy generations, but they're the most tech-dependent. Emerging generations do not know a way of life without smartphones, iPads or laptops. And they will choose whoever can make it the fastest, simplest process for them.

People want to reserve their appointments when it's most convenient for them. In today's busy and fast-paced environment, that can often mean booking appointments after hours. Self-service is the way of today. Not offering online scheduling directly results in lost leads and a backlog of work to come back to in the morning.

By making it easier than ever to take charge of their health, more patients will come and keep coming back.

Related: 3 Tactics Small Businesses Can Use to Reduce No-Shows

Creating a captivating patient experience

The patient experience goes beyond what happens at the physical appointment. What happens before they get through the door is equally as important. Turning the process of finding and booking a patient visit into a patient experience that caters to the needs of the patient will create an unforgettable memory.

No one wants to sit on the phone for 20 minutes trying to schedule an appointment, much less leave a message and wait 24 hours for a returned call. Online scheduling gets the practice staff off the phones and present in the moment. When they don't have to deal with scheduling changes, appointment reminders or paperwork, they can get patients in and out as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Adapting to the changing landscape requires a shift from "business as usual". Deploying the right type of tool that facilitates the experiences the modern-day patient craves — like convenience — is the critical piece of the puzzle that must be solved to create the ultimate patient experience.

Increasing your bottom line

Every business owner has a bottom line. Far too many practices focus on reducing costs to increase their bottom line when it really comes down to two simple priorities. For a practice owner, it has to be the perfect blend of investing in patient satisfaction to grow their practice which increases the bottom line.

Eliminating back and forth communications and reducing wait times will create happy patients, and happy patients will refer their friends and family.

Online scheduling is the fastest and simplest way to reduce no-shows and cancellations and save your practice thousands, if not millions, of dollars per year while simultaneously attracting new patients.

People are busier than ever these days. They don't have time for phone calls, and neither do healthcare practices. It's a research-backed fact that automated reminder systems are far more influential for getting people to show up on time.

The future of healthcare lies in working hand-in-hand with technology. It's time to recognize the practice of the 1990s isn't going to cut it when it comes to the growing expectations patients have in 2021. A digital transformation will help practices reach more patients and improve the quality of life for their community by giving them the opportunity to take charge of their health.

There's no doubt that online scheduling and the patient experience will shake things up in 2021. Those willing to prioritize these two areas will give their practices a competitive advantage.

Related: Is Technology Redefining The Healthcare Industry In India?
Matt Prados

CEO and Founder

From a young age, Matt Prados has had an insatiable curiosity about how technology could improve lives. His passion for marketing, combined with his roots in chiropractic, inspired Review Wave.

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