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Review sites such as ZocDoc can help doctors connect with up to 30 new patients per week.

Medical practices are constantly under pressure to manage costs. For many, this is a balancing act that places incredible demands on clerical staff, who are often tasked with completing complex paperwork associated with claims, approvals, and medical record keeping.

Why enable online booking?

More often than not, the same team members tasked with completing admin duties have to answer the phone and book medical appointments. When all the tasks associated with the daily management of a medical practice start feeling like competing interests, and doctors no longer have the bandwidth to augment staffing models, it is time to look into alternative appointment-setting tools that make sense for the practice and the patient.

Connecting with new patients is far more labor-intensive than booking recurring patients. New patients are also far more likely to desist if they encounter an automated system or answering machine when calling a medical clinic for the first time.

To overcome this challenge, many practices are finding that online booking for new patients and regular patients is not only a time-saver, but it also serves as a tool to grow a practice in a way that is cost-effective and conducive to high-quality initial experience.

To create a seamless path for new patients, it is essential that medical marketers understand how patients research and identify potential doctors. More and more review sites serve as catalysts for growth by giving patients sufficient information about a medical practice, to persuade them to select one practitioner over another.

In assessing all of the healthcare-specific review sites, ZocDoc has emerged as one of the most patient-friendly platforms for both patients and practitioners.  Let’s review how their online appointment booking tool can make a significant impact in terms of patient acquisition, while helping your practice reduce costs associated with administrative staff.

ZocDoc gives new patients ample booking options

When a new patient contacts a potential provider, finding an agreeable appointment time can become troublesome. Often, the receptionist will offer an alternate time that may or may not work for the patient.

In contrast, a transparent and easy-to-use medical appointment-booking platform provides potential patients with the full picture as far as doctor availability. Having options reduces frustration, and results in patients whose appointments are at a time of their choosing, which often works better with their personal life.

Online booking drives “phoneless” patient engagement

Millennials, in particular, find that asynchronous interactions such as online appointment interfaces are far better aligned with their lifestyle and preferences.

Read MORE: “Sizing Up the Millennials: Report Reveals Key Digital Trends and Strategies for Healthcare Industry Marketers

Many have a penchant for multitasking and end up booking their medical appointments from a cubicle or other shared work environment where a verbal conversation would be disruptive to others and uncomfortable for the person discussing private health issues.

Furthermore, a patient booking online never encounters the frustration associated with having to remain on hold or having to wait for a callback. Within minutes, he or she is able to secure a preferred time slot and move forward with life without a hitch.

Online appointments make you accessible 24/7

This is one of our favorite features, and one that we consider super valuable in delivering a superior patient experience.

Waiting until the practice opens to book an appointment can be frustrating. Through the ZocDoc platform, potential patients can book at their convenience, without having to be limited by business hours.

With 45 percent of all appointments taking place after hours, the numbers truly speak for themselves.

Online check-in streamlines the patient experience

ZocDoc allows patients to complete basic forms online prior to their appointment. This reduces waiting time at the clinic, making your waiting room less crowded, the experience less frustrating, and the forms far more legible. Because accuracy matters, having complete patient profiles will reduce the need for follow-up when your clerical staff is working on medical histories or billing issues.

ZocDoc can save you money in staffing

Average talk time for a call from a new patient trying to book a first appointment is in the neighborhood of 10 minutes.

With this in mind, and taking into account that review sites such as ZocDoc can help doctors connect with up to 30 new patients per week, the savings in administrative costs are not negligible by any means.

You can send SMS reminders and calendar entries  

A favorite of tech-savvy patients, this feature reduces the likelihood of confusion when it comes to the date and time of an appointment. Patients are able to add their appointments to their Outlook or Google calendars with a single click, and automatically receive reminders about their upcoming appointment via SMS. Patients in the know will be far more likely to arrive on time.

Enjoy compatibility with patient management systems

When you add ZocDoc as one of your marketing channels and turn on online booking, there is no need to use two different systems. In most cases, ZocDoc can be fully and seamlessly integrated to your patient management system, resulting in additional efficiencies and less room for error.

Connects with high-quality patients

One of the interesting facts about online engagement is the quality of the patients that are more likely to use the tools.

95 percent of all patients booking online have private insurance or pay cash. This is at least 20 percent higher than the booking mix taking place via phone. A practice with a high percentage of privately insured patients is far more likely to have high-profit margins and increased patient loyalty.

Private practices looking to amplify patient reach as a means for growth will find that ZocDoc is a strong candidate when it comes to getting the most out of every marketing dollar.

Kevin Kent

Kevin is the Director of Finance and Operations at ReviewTrackers. Every day he finds creative ways to solve business owners' problems and identifies key issues to help them achieve top results.

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