How Online Appointment Booking Drives Patient Experience

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Online appointment booking systems are fast becoming ubiquitous in modern healthcare, with everyone from local GPs to regional super-hospitals getting in on the act. It’s not hard to see why: as well as being cost-effective in comparison with other methods, online appointment booking enhances several key aspects of the patient experience.

Reflects Modern Preferences

It’s fast becoming a common refrain of healthcare industry think pieces, thanks to a growing body of evidence from the US and beyond, that patients have similar expectations of service from healthcare providers as they have for traditional consumer-facing businesses. For instance, in a recent survey conducted by NTT DATA Services, some 59% of respondents agreed they would like to see their healthcare experiences reflect those they have in the retail space.

This means healthcare organisations moving away from traditional patient-provider communication and embracing the technology patients have become accustomed to in most other settings.

Think about the last time you requested a service or ordered anything, whether it was a taxi, a pair of shoes or a package holiday—chances are you did so online or through an app. Why should healthcare be any different?

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Legacy models such as call centres have become tired and archaic. Worse yet, they may even alienate your patients. As research from software firm Velaro highlights, consumers (and patients) have grown increasingly impatient with call centres, with one-third unwilling to wait on the line at all and a further 27.6% willing to hold for a maximum of a minute.

Online appointment booking represents a common-sense alternative. Not only does it reflect the way a lot of patients actually behave, it’s also better suited to busy modern living. Many of us lead frenetic lives and have come to expect services on demand, so being beholden to normal working hours for something that could be done digitally, at any time of the day, makes little sense.

By taking your appointment booking online, you’ll give patients a service that acknowledges their busy lives and mirrors the convenience they’re used to elsewhere—both of which can only be positive for patient experience. 

Cuts Down Human Errors

We’ve all turned up to an appointment (not necessarily healthcare), only to find that we’ve been given the wrong time or date when booking. It’s frustrating and can leave you feeling undervalued, neither of which is conducive to positive patient experience.

By removing the need for phone calls and face-to-face bookings, an online platform also reduces the margin for human error. Patients are much more likely to get an appointment with the right physician, in a timely manner, and on the right day. It's simple, but a sure-fire way to improve your patient experience.


Another positive of online booking is its user-friendliness. It might not sound much, but the sheer ease of using an app or smartphone browser to book an appointment is a potential boon for patient experience. The reason becomes clear when you consider the alternatives: either visiting the healthcare provider in person or a phone call during which you’ll very likely be put on hold.

An online service, on the other hand, allows your patients to book appointments whenever and wherever is most convenient for them; the only prerequisites are an internet connection and a device to access it.  

What’s more, the benefits extend to new patients who can sign up online or by downloading your app, rather than having to visit the practice in person and fill out a stack of forms. This gives new patients an undemanding sign-up process, which doesn’t eat into their leisure time or require them to take time off work, and your practice a way to grow your patient base with little effort.

Frees-up Staff

This is an indirect benefit, but an important one to discuss nonetheless. Implementing a web-based solution can free your administrative staff to focus on things other than inbound calls and appointment booking.

The benefits of this for patient experience are twofold: 

1. With more time staff can devote some of their day to patient outreach, as well as focus more on particularly vulnerable patients. It goes without saying that both are likely to positively impact patient experience.

2. Staff who aren’t spending all day rushing from call to call and frantically entering data in the rare lulls between the phone ringing, are likely to contribute to a better overall patient experience. Firstly, because they’re likely to be less flustered and stressed, secondly, they'll simply have more time to interact properly with patients, whether on-site or on the phone.

Added Value

Finally, most online appointment booking systems are capable of so much more than their core function.

For example, some systems allow patients to receive SMS or email appointment reminders straight to their smartphone, get updates on practice news and the latest healthcare campaigns, request repeat scripts for medication and set automated reminders for recurring appointments.

The benefits for patient experience are obvious; not only does it offer patients a simple tool that encompasses most of what they’ll need for everyday interactions with their healthcare provider, there’s also evidence it’s what patients want from their care.

In a major 2017 study, 79% of patients said they would like to receive SMS messages from their doctor, particularly about appointment reminders. What’s more, a clear majority in every generation but the baby boomers found the prospect of text and email reminders for follow-up appointments and treatments ‘extremely’ or ‘very appealing’.


In short, online appointment booking tools are not just a vital cog of patient experience, they’re also fast becoming expected by patients. Healthcare providers who fail to make the most of the technology at their disposal risk being seen as old-fashioned and inconvenient, particularly among Millennials, Gen Xs, and Gen Zs.

At Jayex, we’ve long been aware of the potential online booking presents and our system Appointuit is Australia’s most popular medical appointment manager. However, boosting patient experience and engagement is about so much more than online appointment booking to learn more, download our ebook.

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