Appointments in the palm of your hand

This article first appeared in the November 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

The ability to book an appointment online – and preferably through a smartphone app – is usually in the top three when patients are asked to rate what they value most in electronic interactions with their healthcare providers. There are now a number of online booking systems out there, many accompanied by a searchable or practice-specific app.

Online appointment services have been around for a number of years and most can be integrated into practice management systems to streamline the appointments process and free up reception staff. Not all practices have taken advantage of these systems, but the ones that do often report productivity gains as well as providing an extra service to patients as the main benefits.

And with patients increasingly expecting to be able to search for or book appointments online or through an app, for practices open to new patients these services are becoming a must have. Even practices that don’t take new patients are being encouraged to offer an appointment app or at least an online booking capability to realise some of those productivity benefits.

The online appointments market itself is hotting up, with MedicalDirector recently announcing that it has built its own internal system within PracSoft and HealthEngine announcing it is offering its booking service for free to AGPAL-accredited practices, which account for approximately half of all general practices in Australia.

Many are now also accompanied by an app, with the majority of online booking services now making them available either as a consumer app in which patients can search for the nearest practitioner or the best appointment time, or as practice-specific apps, which directly link to the practice’s online system. We take a look at what’s on the market.

To read the full story, click here for the November 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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