10 Reasons You Should Offer Online Appointment Scheduling

Online Appointment Scheduling

Doctors and other small medical providers may be missing out on visits from existing patients or new ones by not allowing them online appointment scheduling via mobile device or computer.

The public seems to show a preference for doing many things via the Internet or mobile apps these days. It only stands to reason that they want to schedule their doctor’s appointments as well.

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Chalk it up to the convenience factor, as well as the popularity of websites, smartphones and gadgets, which allow us to do so many varying things with the ease of tapping of a screen icon.

PatientPop, an online platform for medical providers that allows for online appointment scheduling, among other things, predicts that, based on research, online appointment scheduling of medical appointments is on an upward track. This trend only stands to grow in popularity, as well.

Researcher Accenture conducted the survey, which took place last month. Polled were 3,105 adults living in the U.S. The goal was to build an understanding as to what percentage of the patient population is using or would use online appointment scheduling to book appointments with their healthcare provider today. The survey also sought to measure what percentage of patients were scheduling appointments online versus via a telephone call.

In total, the survey’s findings are based on an data that included 13,694 appointment requests, as well as 182 medical practice websites.

Small medical providers should offer online appointment scheduling for a number of reasons, some of which are listed below.

It’s What Patients Want

Specifically, research shows 17 percent of patients surveyed scheduled a doctor’s appointment via a website or app within the past year. An additional 42 percent of them said they would have scheduled an appointment online – but that they didn’t have the opportunity.

Online Scheduling’s Future Valued in the Billions

By 2019’s end, 66 percent of U.S. health systems will offer digital self-scheduling. Also, 64 percent of patients will book appointments using these online systems. Altogether, nearly 38 percent – meaning 986 million – appointments will be self-scheduled, a bulk said to be worth $3.2 billion for these providers. If you want to ensure your piece of the piece, jump on this bandwagon.

Practices Can Hone Competitive Edge

By offering the convenience of online appointment scheduling, practices can improve the patient experience, which will provide them with a competitive advantage in their market.

Younger Demographic Prefers It

The 25-34-year-old demographic now used online scheduling the most. In addition, this group reportedly also shows the highest preference for using online appointment scheduling. By targeting this demographic, your practice can leverage this established interest to address the larger 18-to-34-year-old age group. Overall, online scheduling should be viewed as a major component of a company’s retention and acquisition strategy.

Online Scheduling Reduces Strain on Office Staff

According to the survey, 34 percent of appointments that are scheduled online are done after the office is closed. This means that by offering 24/7 convenience of online scheduling, practices can increase their number of overall appointments while reducing any added strain on the business’s office administration.

New Patients Will Seek It Out

The data is clear that new patients are scheduling the vast majority of online appointments, some 63 percent. Common sense proclaims that practices that offer online appointment scheduling can expect to attract more new patients than practices that don’t offer the online option.

Online Scheduling Keeps Waiting Rooms Full

While only 6 percent of online appointment requests were for appointments on the same day that the appointment was scheduled, more than three times that amount, about 20 percent, were for next-day appointments. Most however, (26 percent) were scheduled online for same-day or next-day slots.

It Reduces No-Shows

With phone-call scheduling, the number of people who fail to show up for an appointment (the non-attendance rate) ranges from 10 percent to 25 percent, averaging out at 14 percent. By simply offering online scheduling, practices can keep more their waiting rooms fuller by reducing the number of no-shows.

People Dislike Talking on the Phone

When the survey asked about preference for booking a doctor’s appointment via a website or app, with no need to call the office, some 42 percent indicated this is the preferable scenario.

Demand is There Now

Of the 13,694 appointments requested from practice websites, 6,766, or 49.4 percent, were scheduled via the telephone. The rest, 50.6 percent or 6,928 patients scheduled their appointment online.

Online Booking Photo via Shutterstock


Ed Lieber Ed Lieber is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. He is a journalist and marketing copywriter with 20 years of experience writing, editing and managing for print and digital vehicles.

3 Reactions
  1. Scheduling online is just easier, plain and simple. It’s so much easier to look at a calendar that lists all of their available appointment times than it is to essentially “hunt and peck” through times with someone on the telephone.

  2. Great article Ed. Appointments is simply a great solution that empowers patients, citizens and consumers. Correctly implemented it improves service and customer experience and it saves both customer’s and staff’s time.

    However, there is also a big risk if the system deployed can’t handle appointment flows and drop-in flows simultaneously. Also, I often see so many service providers failing in the actual “arrival phase”; you book online, it works well but then when you arrive to the physical location there is not process/tools in place to seamlessly check me in.

    In those cases the perception of the appointment solutions becomes negative, simply because we as human beings value the entire journey and we remember the really good points as well as the really low points….but more importantly what shapes the perception is how something ended….thus service providers implementing this type of solution should cater for the full journey.


  3. I guess I didn’t realize that there are some people who don’t think that you need to offer online appointment to remain relevant in this day and age… though if the counter argument is that the online option is missing that personal touch then I would give some agreement to that as well. Every personal connect with that person solidifies that relationship further, especially if this is a sales prospect.

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