Online Scheduling for Physical Therapy: From No-Shows to Fully Booked
The healthcare industry is rapidly evolving and physical therapy clinics are no exception. In an effort to improve patient experience and streamline practice operations, many clinics are adopting online scheduling as a way to manage appointment bookings. Online scheduling for physical therapy clinics offers a number of benefits that can help to improve the overall patient experience, save time and reduce administrative workload, and even increase patient satisfaction and retention.
I’m a PT. Do I Need Online Scheduling?
By offering the convenience of online appointment booking, physical therapy clinics can stay ahead of the competition and provide their patients with the exceptional experience.
If you still don't believe me here are the stats:
40% of appointments are booked after business hours.
67% of patients prefer online booking.
26% of online appointments are for same-day or next-day appointments.
Only 33% prefer booking appointments by phone.
54% of appointment bookings that occur during working hours are made on the go.
34% of appointments that are scheduled online are done so after the office is closed
Worried about local competition? Online scheduling can be the difference maker! 94% of individuals would be more likely to choose a new service provider if that provider offered online booking options.
Online Scheduling VS Appointment Requests
Before we dive deeper into online scheduling for physical therapists, we must first understand the differences between true online scheduling and an online appointment request.
Online scheduling refers to a system that allows patients to book appointments with a physical therapy clinic through a web-based platform. This type of scheduling system provides a convenient, real-time experience for patients to book appointments at their own convenience.
In contrast, appointment requests via website form require patients to fill out a form on the clinic's website, which is then reviewed by a staff member to determine availability. This process is less convenient for patients as it can take longer to receive a response and requires patients to wait for a staff member to become available. Oftentimes, the patient has now been lost to a competitor or reduced urgency.
Online scheduling eliminates these delays and provides a more efficient and convenient scheduling experience for patients.
Convenience for Patients
Convenience for patients is a major benefit of online scheduling for physical therapy clinics. With online scheduling, patients can access available appointment times and request appointments anytime, anywhere. This means patients can schedule appointments at their convenience, whether it's in the middle of the night or during their lunch break.
Online scheduling eliminates the need for patients to make phone calls and leave voicemails requesting an appointment, which can be time-consuming and frustrating for both patients and clinic staff. Patients will often move on to a competitor after leaving a message or appointment request.
With real-time availability of appointments, patients can quickly see what appointment times are available and choose the one that works best for them. This can also help reduce no-shows or cancellations, as patients are more likely to keep appointments they scheduled themselves at their convenience.
Improved Practice Operations
Online scheduling not only benefits patients, but it also greatly improves clinic operations.
Streamlined Appointment Booking
With online scheduling, patients can book appointments on their own without the need for a receptionist or other staff members to assist them. This frees up staff time to focus on other tasks, such as patient care and administrative duties.
Reduction of No-Shows and Cancellations
When patients schedule appointments online, they are more likely to keep them. Online scheduling software can also send automated appointment reminders to patients via email or text message, which reduces the likelihood of no-shows and cancellations.
Less Administrative Burden
With online scheduling, there is less need for administrative staff to spend time scheduling appointments and managing the appointment book. This reduces the likelihood of errors and frees up staff time for other tasks. Overall, online scheduling can help clinics run more efficiently and effectively.
Increased Practice Revenue
Online scheduling can positively impact a clinic's bottom line in several ways:
Increased New Patients
By making it easier for patients to book appointments, online scheduling can increase the number of new patients. When patients have to wait on hold or leave a voicemail to request an appointment, they may become frustrated and seek care elsewhere. With online scheduling, patients can easily book an appointment without any extra hassle, leading to more patients for the clinic.
Reduced No-Shows and Cancellations
Missed appointments can cost a clinic money and waste valuable staff time. Online scheduling systems can send automatic appointment reminders via email or text, reducing the likelihood of no-shows or last-minute cancellations. Some scheduling systems also allow clinics to require a credit card on file or a deposit at the time of booking, which can further reduce the likelihood of no-shows.
Accepting Payment as Part of the Scheduling Process
Online scheduling can also make it easier for patients to pay for their appointments. Many online scheduling systems allow patients to pay for their visit as part of the scheduling process, making it more convenient for them and increasing the likelihood that they will follow through with the appointment.
6 Critical Features of Physical Therapy Online Scheduling Software
In order for online scheduling software to be effective for physical therapy practices, it must have certain features that cater specifically to the unique needs of these clinics. These six features are critical in ensuring a seamless and efficient scheduling process for both patients and staff.
1. Real-time appointment confirmation allows patients to book appointments online without any staff intervention or effort. This saves time and resources for the clinic, as well as providing patients with immediate access to available appointment times.
2. Integration with the EHR practice calendar. This ensures that the appointment is booked or "reserved" on the practice calendar with the proper provider at the correct location. This eliminates the risk of double-booking and ensures that the appointment is properly recorded for both the patient and the clinic.
3. Automated reminders are critical in reducing patient no-shows. These reminders can be sent via text or email, and serve as a gentle nudge to remind patients of their upcoming appointments.
4. Customizable booking rules allows physical therapy clinics to display provider and location availability based on their specific needs. This ensures that the scheduling process is tailored to the unique structure and workflows of each clinic.
5. Mobile-responsive booking page. This ensures that the booking page and calendar work across multiple platforms and devices, making it easy for patients to book appointments from their smartphones or tablets.
6. Secure online payments. This allows clinics to take credit and debit card payments in advance, which reduces the administrative burden of processing payments in-person or over the phone. Overall, these six critical features are essential to a successful online scheduling system for physical therapy practices.
Online scheduling is a vital tool for any physical therapy clinic looking to improve patient satisfaction, streamline clinic operations, and increase revenue. By offering patients 24/7 access to appointment booking, reducing administrative tasks, minimizing no-shows, and accepting payments online, clinics can transform the way they deliver care to their patients.
If you are interested in learning more about how online scheduling software can benefit your practice, we encourage you to schedule a demo of PatientStudio's comprehensive online scheduling software. With our real-time self scheduling, EHR integration, automated reminders, customizable booking rules, mobile-responsive booking page, and secure online payments, PatientStudio can help you take your clinic to the next level. Contact us today to learn more!