Allied Health: The Importance of Online Booking

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Have you been meaning to set up an online booking system for your practice? It tends to be one of those tasks that’s important but never urgent. Because you’re busy, it never quite makes it to the top of your priority list.

It should though. Setting up an online booking system helps your practice to grow and thrive. It demonstrates to your patients that you live in their world too. It relieves some of the pressure on your front desk and it opens up new professional opportunities beyond the clinic.

Here are 5 reasons you should put ‘set up an online booking system’ at the top of your to-do list.

1. It creates a better first impression

Most of your patients run their lives from their smartphones, using their devices for banking, social media, navigation, and to search for information.

According to Deloitte, 90% of Australians now own a smartphone and we’re more reliant on them than ever.

You can book your Uber online, order dinner through UberEats, Menulog or a dozen other apps, book your next escape on AirBnB, check your bank account, and send a carefully chosen gift for your mum’s birthday.

This is the world we all live in now. So, of course patients should be able to book their allied health appointments online too.

Offering online booking communicates an important message about your practice. It shows that you understand your patients. You know that most of them are digital creatures who expect to book online so you’re providing a convenient way for them to book and manage their appointments. 

Before they’ve even met you, they feel like you get them. You’ve now made a great first impression.

2. Online booking lets you gain patients 24/7

Google estimates 7% of its daily searches are health-related. That’s 70,000 health-related questions per minute!

Obviously, most people are working during working hours when your clinic is open. That means they’re likely to be asking Dr Google their health-related questions in the evenings or on weekends.

If their searching leads them to the conclusion that they should see an allied health provider, then their next step is to book an appointment. Online booking makes that step easy. Just like that, you’ve secured a new patient.

Without online booking, you risk losing that booking. Your potential new patient has to jot down your number and remember to call you during business hours. Or they can go to the next provider on their list and book online right now with them. What would you do in their position?

3. It offers patients the best of both worlds

Of course, there will always be patients who prefer to phone for an appointment. That’s a familiar way of doing things for many people.

Offering online booking gives you the best of both worlds. Patients can engage with you in their preferred way, rather than being forced to use one option only.

Digitally savvy patients can book online. Those who’d prefer to call, can call, asking any questions they have before booking with your receptionist.

4. Online booking improves your reception

There’s a lot of work to do on the front desk of a healthcare practice. And your receptionist has to do it all in full view of anyone in your waiting room.

Even the calmest, most capable administrator is bound to seem flustered at times, when the phone keeps ringing and the paperwork is piling up.

Online booking relieves some of the pressure on your front desk. It means your receptionist can focus on greeting each patient warmly and dealing with practice admin efficiently.

It also means that the patients who really do need to call are more likely to get straight through rather than be put on hold.

5. Online booking extends your professional opportunities

Allied health is changing. For too long, it’s relied on a bricks-and-mortar model that expects a patient to come to the clinic during 9-5.

Today’s patients expect flexible care that fits their 21st century lifestyle. They don’t want to take time off work to travel across town to your waiting room. They want telehealth, home visits, and after hours care.

An online booking system helps you extend your service offering. The clinic may be closed but patients can book a home visit or a telehealth consult.

Or maybe, there’s no clinic at all. Allied health skills are in great demand. So, why not go freelance?

An online booking system like the Therago app lets you provide your services in a way that suits you. Maybe you want to earn some extra income, keep your registration current or set up your own mobile practice without the headaches and overheads of running an on-site clinic. Online booking is one of the tools that makes it all possible.

So, what’s stopping you? Maybe you’re wary of changing your established system or nervous about using new software.

Change can be daunting. The right change is worth it though. By introducing online booking, you stand to gain a healthier practice, happier staff, and more professional opportunities.

The Therago app lets you add an online booking system to your practice’s offerings and also allows you to extend your services by providing telehealth, after hours or in-home care. If you’re a health professional, learn more about Therago and what it can do for you here: https://hcp.therago.com.au/


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