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Written by Balaji R

An online doctor appointment booking system can prove to be a boon to doctors and patients alike. For those among us who have seen the waiting room of busy doctors, it will draw memories of patients and their attendants crowding around the receptionist. It was not necessarily first-in and first-out. Many times it was based on who was able to throw their weight around and seize the opportunity to stride in to meet the doctor even before the earlier patient had walked out. In some cases tokens were given out that represented our number in the queue.

The wait could be quite long and if the patient was not quick to mark her presence when called out it could mean a further wait. Patients being sick, there was always a high probability of the attendants also falling sick as everyone was crowding around each other. This evolved to a telephone based appointment booking, mainly managed on paper. It was hardly flexible. No-shows were very common. With the advent of Personal Computers, appointments were maintained in the desktop. This certainly brought more order, however appointments still required the patient to phone in to the receptionist to book the appointment. Widespread use of mobile phones and the internet has driven the need for doctors to offer the facility of online appointments booking – a far superior option for both doctors and patients. We have listed below the key advantages of using an online doctor appointment booking system.

1. 24*7 booking: Anytime Anywhere

A manual system to manage appointments necessarily requires the availability of a receptionist or office staff. A doctor appointment booking system, available on the internet, allows patients to book an appointment from the comfort of their homes, using their computer, laptop or mobile, and at any time. No matter where they are, they can contact doctors of their choice in any location. Even when they are traveling they can consult with their doctor. Doctors can also adopt technology in the form of teleconsulting to reach out to patients in remote corners. True outreach.

2. Organise your schedule better

Imagine a situation where multiple appointments are queued up because of manual error. As a doctor, you control the number of people who would be at your clinic at any point of time. This is particularly important given that social distancing is becoming the new normal. With an online appointment booking system, the doctor is in full control and can plan his/her day without any sense of trepidation.

3. Minimise patient no-shows

One of the biggest challenges of a manual or telephone based appointment booking system are patient no-shows. Patients may simply forget their appointment given that there are no automated reminders. A doctor appointment booking system can be configured to send reminders to patients prior to the time of their appointment.

4. Making employees and staff more productive

A doctor appointment booking system is a self-service tool for patients to book appointments. Your staff have their time released from handling phone calls from patients desiring appointments. Instead they can focus on other tasks and improve their productivity.

5. Seamlessly integrates with your E.H.R

The appointment booking system should integrate well with your E.H.R. Doctors should be able to see the list of appointments at any time in addition to knowing the status of the appointment in terms of whether the patient has arrived, whether her vitals have been measured.

6. Access appointments on your computer, laptop and mobile phone

As a doctor, you can access the patient appointment information on any device. You should have the ability to reschedule or cancel appointments in the event of any emergency. The online appointment system that is hosted on the cloud can give you all the appointment details at any day in the past, today or in the future.

7. Improves patient satisfaction

Patient experience is of paramount importance. No patient would like an experience that is not smooth. An online doctor appointment system enhances patient satisfaction. Patients no longer have to be worried about the wait times in your clinic. They can plan their daily schedule better. They spend less time waiting to meet the doctor. All this goes a long way to enhance patient satisfaction.

8. Integration with a payment gateway

Digitisation is the way to go. The online doctor appointment booking system can be integrated with a payment gateway of your choice. This means less work for your staff in terms of collecting payments. Instead, all fees can be collected prior to the appointment.

9. Multiple locations and multiple doctors

A good online doctor appointment booking system can manage multiple locations and multiple doctors. Your clinic may be operational in multiple places and each clinic may have multiple doctors each of who is available in a particular time slot. Does your system have the capability of managing these complexities? There should also be no requirement to have multiple staff to manage all this. Instead the system should manage multiple locations and doctors.

Conclusion

Patients are increasingly looking at convenient ways to book appointments. They prefer to use options available on their mobile or laptop to book appointments. An online doctor booking appointment system that integrates seamlessly with an E.H.R is ideal for doctors as well. It reduces fatigue and frustration. Adopting digital technologies involving the use of appropriate tools is recommended for doctors. The pandemic has made sure that digital modes are embraced even by sections of society that was either hesitant earlier or had limited access to the internet or such tools. Patients are also likely to be more welcoming of these tools. Having a presence on the internet is a starting point. Having a convenient appointment system using which patients can reach you is the next step. Every doctor should adopt digital tools lest they be left behind. At Genamet we offer this to doctors. In addition to building a digital presence for doctors, we also integrate the appointment booking system which in turn integrates with the E.H.R. Please contact us for a demo.

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