How self-scheduling trends can benefit optometry practices and patients

The convenience of online self-service has changed the way we do everything from paying bills to making a dinner reservation. Consumers increasingly expect instant access to all the information and services they need, including when they plan to visit a healthcare provider. In a study conducted by Accenture, 77 percent of patients said it was important to have the options of booking, changing or canceling appointments online.

The Accenture report projected that by the end of 2019, 66 percent of U.S. health systems will allow patients to book their own appointments online, but the trend has already arrived. Eye care professionals should seize the opportunity to get on board by adopting self-scheduling software. Making it as easy as possible to schedule appointments is good for both patients and the long-term growth of an optometry practice.

What's happening in self-scheduling

A wide range of industries have boosted customer satisfaction and streamlined processes by embracing self-scheduling. For service-oriented businesses like salons and spas, it's become common practice to adopt scheduling and management platforms that eliminate the need for a constant stream of phone calls. As Modern Salon pointed out, allowing patients to make appointments from any connected device is especially helpful for small or solo operations that don't have the staff or time to handle booking by phone.

Self-scheduling has also been a big help for busy human resources specialists who must arrange a large number of screenings and interviews. In February 2018, Home Depot announced the launch of an online platform to aid in hiring for over 80,000 positions in the spring. A pilot program begun in November revealed that 80 percent of applicants chose to use the self-scheduling tool when it was available.

Empowering optometry patients

Self-scheduling is becoming a routine aspect of healthcare. According to Accenture, 40 percent of the top 100 US health systems now have such a system in place for at least some types of appointments. For optometrists, putting more power in the hands of consumers can simplify everyday processes, improve patient relationships and set a practice apart from its competitors.

An effective strategy for self-scheduling requires software with an array of appealing features, starting with the capability to book an appointment at any time from anywhere. Mobile optimization allows patients to use the system intuitively whenever it's most convenient. Confirmation via text messages or email ensures users and practices both have visibility into all relevant information.

A self-scheduling system is a powerful way of bringing in business, but eye care providers must be committed to getting the word out. A “schedule an appointment now” button should be clearly available on the practice website and heavily promoted on social media. Businesses benefit from high visibility in Google search results that make it easy for consumers to find the business location and set up an appointment right away.

Prime Nexus™ offers the means for eye care businesses to get on top of self-scheduling trends. The intuitive solution provides patients an easy, reliable way to set and manage appointments while integrating with a variety of top practice management systems.


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