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Why you should consider implementing online scheduling in your dental practice

Nov. 5, 2018
Online scheduling in your dental practice has numerous advantages. Besides demonstrating that your practice is up-to-date, it will make both your team members and patients more satisfied with your practice.
Sally McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Management
Your patients are busy people, and they often do not have time to call your office during the workday to schedule appointments. Even when they do find a few minutes to jump on the phone, they’re often placed on hold or told the team is out to lunch, which leads to frustration that could very well prompt them to call another practice.

Of course, this hurts your patient retention and costs you money, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Scheduling an appointment should be as easy and stress-free as possible for your patients, which is why I recommend implementing online scheduling. With online scheduling, patients can make an appointment when it’s convenient for them, no matter where they are or what the time of day.

Not convinced online scheduling is right for your practice? Read on to learn about the many benefits for your patients and team, and how to make online scheduling work for your practice.

It shows patients your practice is up-to-date—These days, most patients expect to do just about everything online, including scheduling appointments. If your practice doesn’t offer this benefit, patients may wonder what other technologies you’re behind on and decide to make an appointment at another dental practice.

Your team members will love it—Like your patients, your team members are busy and would rather not spend a lot of time on the phone. If patients can schedule appointments online, team members won’t have to handle nearly as many calls, which frees them up to perform other tasks.

Now don’t get me wrong. Team members should still be properly trained and prepared to handle phone calls. They just won’t have nearly as many, and this will enable them to better focus on your patients who are in the office.

Online scheduling improves practice efficiencies—If your online scheduling system is synced with your practice management system, appointments will show up as soon as patients schedule them. This reduces the amount of data entry required, which again gives team members more time for other tasks that benefit the practice.

Choosing a solution

Now that you’re interested in online scheduling, you’re probably wondering what’s available and what kind of system you should purchase. There are many systems available, you just need to determine which one will work best for your practice.

Some systems will totally sync with your practice management software, and some will only partially sync, which is something to consider when shopping for online scheduling solutions. The whole point is to offer your patients an easy scheduling option, so you’ll want a system that enables them to schedule from your website and social media profiles. Your practice-specific URL should also include information about your office. Don’t panic. You don’t have to design the website or figure out how to make the scheduling feature work. The company you choose to work with will handle all of this. You’ll just need to provide up-to-date-information about your practice.

What’s the benefit of choosing a system that syncs with your practice management software? It makes the process seamless. Patients will be able to see which appointment times are available and choose the ones that work best for them. The appointments will show up in your schedule without anyone on your team doing a thing. If the systems are not synced, there’s a chance patients might pick times that aren’t really available, and this means a team member will need to contact patients to reschedule. This is not exactly ideal for anyone.

There are other systems that can read your schedule but cannot add appointments. So, after an appointment is confirmed through the booking system, someone needs to manually enter it into the schedule. Other systems allow patients to email the practice to request appointments. This might require some back and forth to find a time that works, but it does eliminate the need for phone calls.

Online scheduling can help grow your practice

Scheduling an appointment should not be a hassle for your patients. Online scheduling makes it possible for patients to schedule appointments when it’s convenient for them, giving you access to patients who simply do not have time to call during the day. Do some research to determine which system is best for you, then develop a plan to implement it into your practice. Once you do, you’ll see an increase in practice productivity and revenues.

Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, a full-service, nationwide dental practice management company. Contact her at (877) 777-6151 or at [email protected].
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