Hold the Phone!
Why Online Appointment Booking is the
Right Call to Make
From haircuts to dinner reservations, online booking has become the norm for those looking to schedule their lives with a little more ease. But one of our busiest and most coveted appointment destinations, the doctor’s office, often still relies on getting through the congested bottleneck at the end of a phone call.
So, the Ottawa Health Team - Équipe Santé Ottawa wants to free up the lines of communication with Online Appointment Booking (OAB). Not only does it benefit the clients, but providers can focus on their core services, enabling the “office” to operate much more efficiently.
The OHT - ÉSO conducted a survey earlier this year, hearing back from almost 80 primary care providers echoing the same challenges. Overwhelmingly, those providers said valuable time is spent by staff answering an ever-ringing phone, triaging cases, and reworking appointment schedules for hours during the day when they could be focusing on other areas.
Dr. Alykhan Abdulla is a family doctor in Manotick. His clinic is one of three canvassed in the Ottawa area taking advantage of OAB, reducing administrative headaches, and increasing patient satisfaction.
“I’ve been able to repurpose staff and relieve some of the administrative burdens for MDs,” says Dr. Abdulla. “And I have better patient engagement.”
In fact, according to Canada Health Infoway, some 90% of Canadians would book a health care appointment online if the option were available.
Family medicine is often the entry point into the health care system, and we recognize the immense pressure the system is under. Removing barriers to access of care will reduce ER and walk-in clinic use, as well as re-admission rates.
It’s something Dr. Abdulla enthusiastically encourages other clinics to think about.
“Do it! Make sure you work with a good provider and spend time going slowly, so your staff are trained and ready to work with the system.”
Eight health care providers, representing approximately 7,200 clients, have partnered with the Ottawa Health Team to implement online appointment booking. The goals are to improve workflows, minimize work and human error, with the added benefit of reducing overhead.
For more information about the program and how the OHT - ÉSO might help bring OAB to your primary care practice, please contact Ernest Ling, Digital Health Lead: firstname.lastname@example.org
Benefits of online appointment booking for providers include:
Safe, secure solutions that protect patient privacy
Improved administration capacity
Digital health record integration
Reduced no-show rates
Fewer scheduling gaps
Benefits of online appointment booking for Ontarians include:
Convenient, 24/7 access to booking options
Automated appointment confirmation and reminders, with appointment details
Fewer or no phone calls required
Ease of integrating appointments into personal electronic calendars
Ability to self-book appointments for patients with hearing impairment
Designated caregivers can access and book appointments for the people they care for