In our previous blog posts, we have discussed the benefits of outsourcing appointment booking and self-registration to the customer through a company or organization’s electronic booking system. By using the electronic booking system, customers can book, reschedule, and cancel their own appointments, which streamlines the entire process in many different ways. In this blog post, we will bring together the advantages of various functions of electronic booking and self-registration systems from the perspective of time-saving.
The first and essential benefit of an electronic booking system is its user-friendliness, which directly translates to time-saving. When a customer can independently book appointments for a healthcare facility and manage their own reservations in the system, it saves time for the customer, healthcare customer service representatives, and professionals working at the clinics.
Previously, appointments had to be booked via phone or email, and busy phone lines during weekday mornings are unfortunately familiar to many. Self-booking and online appointment management also save resources for traditional call centers and make it more likely to avoid long wait times on hold listening to hold music.
In addition to phone calls, appointments have also been canceled or modified via email. Scrolling through email message chains and finding the right information can take minutes out of one’s day, which could easily be avoided with an electronic booking system – daily minutes can quickly accumulate to wasted hours at the end of the month.
The benefits of an electronic appointment booking system also include the automated and immediate transfer of customer-specific information within the system, and the ability to restrict locations, procedures, and times based on that information.
When a customer authenticates into the system through strong authentication, a reservation right can be formed based on potential previous referral and examination requests, which limits the times available for the customer to the appropriate procedures and directs them to the correct place and time at the time of booking. For example, authentication with online banking credentials or mobile ID and the use of preliminary information helps ensure that the customer does not accidentally select an unsuitable procedure or location, thus avoiding resource-intensive false reservations and unnecessary visits to medical facilities.
Automated customer guidance can also reduce the burden on call centers, as customer-specific referral information is often sought through customer service channels.
Also, the self-check-in system used in the on-site locations saves time. When a customer arrives at a healthcare center, for example, they can check in for their appointment using the self-check-in kiosk located in the lobby. Once checked in, the customer can see their appointment number on the lobby display, which is used to call customers in turn to see the professional. This way, customers can easily avoid waiting in line at the reception desk.
The self-check-in is also visible in the working area for the professional waiting there. For instance, a doctor can see that their patient has arrived and can call them in with just a press of a button on their own device. Therefore, the professional does not have to walk back and forth between the waiting room and their office to check for patients.
The advantage of the self-check-in system is that if a customer has not booked an appointment in advance, they can also check in for a queue number using the same system through the kiosk during their visit – the customer only needs to use one device during their visit. The lobby display shows separately the appointment customers and the customers who have checked in for the queue, and professionals can manage these queues on their own device view.
If a healthcare facility serves both appointment and walk-in patients, the queues may be managed with multiple systems simultaneously, and navigating between multiple software naturally slows down practical work. In addition to simplifying the customer check-in process and the management of the patient flow from the professional side, a self-check-in system allows for the use of only one system within the same facility.
In the same service view, both appointment and walk-in patients are visible, and professionals can select patients from these queues even alternately without jumping between multiple electronic systems. In addition to calling customers, the professional can reserve customers in their service view and mark ongoing or completed procedures visible to other professionals. A unified and shared system enhances and streamlines operations, which inevitably saves time.