This article is sponsored content brought to you by Core Practice.
These days, digital self-scheduling is so commonplace across the healthcare profession—from GPs and physiotherapists to psychologists and podiatrists—that dental patients have an increasing expectation that it will be offered on dental practice websites. The good news is that a simple and efficient online booking system offers multiple benefits for dental clinics.
The gold standard
To take full advantage of a self-scheduling system, a realistic benchmark for online bookings should be set at 30 per cent of all appointments. The system should offer automatic confirmation and generate a reminder SMS prior to the appointment. All online appointments need to be tracked and analysed.
It should also be remembered that to reach a 30 per cent target, effective marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) must be in place in order to drive clients to your website. Then a simple and efficient online booking system encourages clients to schedule their own appointments.
Here are five ways online bookings benefits any dental practice.
1. The family way
The Australian Bureau of Statistics project there will be 9.2 million families in Australia by 2041—and mums and dads love online booking. It allows them to organise all their appointments once the kids are in bed. Likewise, if a child complains of a toothache, the parent can jump online and make a booking for the next available spot. The growth of families in Australia is a unique opportunity for dental clinics to find loyal patients—and an online booking system is an essential enticement.
2. Open for business 24/7
The greatest advantage of an online booking system is the 24/7 convenience. Often clients don’t have the opportunity to book during business hours, preferring to deal with personal matters in the evening or on weekends. Online booking allows clients to book anytime, meaning that your practice is no longer time restricted. Allowing patients to schedule an appointment at a time that best suits them is the ultimate convenience.
3. Turn enquiries into appointments.
The convenience and instantaneous confirmation provided by an online system encourages people to commit to an appointment. Patients can look at available times over multiple weeks and decide what suits them. When patients have control over their own appointments, they are more likely to commit and there is less chance of a cancellation. Online bookings reduces time spent re-booking appointments and moving others into different time slots.
4. Frees up staff
A self-scheduling online booking platform frees up staff time so they can address other issues in the practice. Whether they are assisting in surgery, maintaining the database or helping patients, their time is spent more efficiently and productively.
5. Youth of the nation
Younger clients have embraced a lifestyle where nearly everything is done online. Gen X, Gen Y and Millennials are prospective patients who can potentially have a relationship with your practice for decades. To meet the expectations of this sector, an online booking system is essential. The system should be simple to use and accessible from any device.
The way forward
If your practice does not currently offer online booking, it reflects badly on your business. It indicates a reticence to embrace technology and—no matter how skilled a clinician you may be—gives the appearance that you’re behind the times.
Some dental practice websites offer an email-based booking form. These forms require clients to input all their details, request a day and time and then send the email. The patient then waits until someone contacts them, accepting or denying their appointment.
This type of booking system is not integrated in real-time and relies on staff to manually enter information. The process creates unnecessary overheads and is not efficient.
Prospective patients often choose a practice purely on the convenience of the online booking system. This is particularly true of patients who are changing practices and looking for a new dentist.
The Core Practice dental software system uses state-of-the-art technology to provide a streamlined management system incorporating the commercial, clinical and clerical. Our online booking system is an easy-to-use interface for patients and a powerful tool for practice owners. All bookings are updated in real-time and synchronised with the Core Practice calendar.
Patients love the ease of use and owners can keep track of booking figures and statistics. Core Practice offers a streamlined system that will soon have your practice achieving a 30 percent online booking target.
To find out more, contact Core Practice on 1800 317 008 or visit core.my/bite