Digitalisation and automation remain some of the most common buzzwords around any industry and businesses are constantly told that they must digitise their interactions with customers in order to prosper.
The medical sector is no exception, where digitisation is expected to revolutionise everything from robots performing operations to patient consultations undertaken online.
Aside from the broad technological innovations across medicine, TIMIFY works with many clients in implementing an advanced online appointment and calendar solution to their everyday appointments process. Here we frequently see that paper-based calendars and scheduling are still commonplace across clinics and practitioners both small and large.
Online appointment scheduling is shown to improve customer interaction, internal organisation and time management, to name just a few benefits. However, inertia around changing deep-seated and traditional practices in customer bookings remains widespread.
Through our conversations with organisations across the sector we have noticed some recurring explanations for why digital booking systems have been resisted. Below we outline those common concerns and our response to them.
1. A paper calendar is easier to manage, I can carry it with me everywhere and i can easily make changes to it
Our response: Any organisation that switches to a digital calendar is almost certain to never go back. One of the major reasons why is security. Imagine keeping all of your customer contacts and appointment planning in one paper agenda. If one day that agenda is lost or stolen, all of your customer’s sensitive data is immediately exposed. Furthermore, with no back up, your crucial data is gone for good. In this sense, a paper agenda represents a huge risk.
Meanwhile, a paper-based calendar can only be accessed from one location. Online calendars can be accessed anywhere and from any device (TIMIFY offers dedicated apps for tablet, mobile and desktop).
You or your staff can add, modify or delete appointments, or access and amend client information wherever and whenever. Not to mention that modifying or deleting appointments is clean and clear in a digital schedule, compared to a messy process in a paper version.
A final and major advantage is that adding a recurring series of appointments is simple and error-free in digital, even when adding entries many months or years into the future. On paper, it’s an onerous manual task to add appointments one-by-one.
2. With an online calendar I will have to manually enter appointment information on each of the devices I want to have access to it.
Our response: Once a patient reserves an appointment online or an appointment is manually entered at the reception on site, it will automatically appear in the schedule on all devices, in real time. No re-entering on any other device is necessary.
If you are using other digital calendars such as Google, TIMIFY will also synchronise data seamlessly between them.
This means you need not replace calendars your staff are already familiar with using. To boot, every time a change is made in your agenda, you will receive a notification, keeping you up-to-date and informed at all times.
3. I will lose the personal touch my patients value so much about our practice
Our response: Millennials and Generation Z are used to booking their hotels and fights online, and expect other services to offer the same speed and convenience. They are unlikely to tolerate being put on hold on the phone or even waiting in a surgery to book an appointment.
Personal contact remains important for this demographic, but more around the experience they receive when arriving for an appointment as well as the appointment and treatment itself. Freeing staff from manning phones and updating appointment books should allow them to focus more on the experience of those arriving for appointments. Meanwhile automated reminders and follow up messages assure patients that they remain important and cared for pre- and post-appointment.
Of course, for the older generations using your services, they may wish to continue booking appointments in person or over the phone, but they should find this service less busy and more attentive with other patients switching to online booking.
Furthermore, as technology evolves and booking becomes even simpler, this group may come to highly value the ability to book appointments from the comfort of their own home.
Overall, communication and connection with your patients will become more efficient. Appointment confirmations, reminders and notifications are automatically sent via email and SMS, which is far more appreciated than your team calling patients every day.
4. I’m afraid that after implementing online booking I will lose control of my agenda
Our response: While one of the benefits of online booking is that you will receive bookings 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this does not mean you will need to be hands on with the system 24/7 as well.
The system works for you, organising the schedule, blocking errors or double-bookings and auto-messaging patients to confirm bookings have been made successfully.
You set the rules for the system; which days or times are available for bookings and which practitioners can receive bookings or not. If staff are unavailable for certain periods, or even if you wish to limit online booking only to certain times or services, it’s a simple one-time set up before leaving the technology to handle it.
5. I run a small practice and I don’t think an online booking is the right fit for me
Our response: Any practice can benefit from an online booking system, no matter the size or number of resources and services it offers. Online booking goes further than just allowing people to book appointments over the Internet. It allows you to build your own patient database, that can be printed or saved as you wish, and provides the peace of mind that all your patients‘ data will be safely and securely backed up in the cloud.
With TIMIFY you can also manage working hours, holiday and sick days for you and your whole team.
You can also take advantage of the many apps on we offer on our Marketplace – one app, for example, allows you to create and send invoices directly from your TIMIFY account.
Don’t be scared of using an online booking system. Make it work for your business.
To find out more about TIMIFY’s online appointment scheduling for the healthcare sector, speak to our expert support team via our website: