The COVID pandemic has changed the future of healthcare forever. Now, more than ever before,...
The Benefits of an Online Doctor Appointment
We live in a world where convenience is king. If people can get something without having to leave their home or office, then most will take the opportunity to do so. Hence why online shopping, remote meetings, and even remote hiring have gone through the roof in popularity.
So, offering an online doctor appointment service could be life-changing for your surgery.
With the world becoming more and more digital every day, it’s no surprise that we’re starting to see a shift in how people are interacting with their doctors. If you think about it, there’s really no need for a person to drive into town and sit around waiting rooms when they can just log online and speak to the doctor via video call.
We wondered what the other advantages of an online GP were, so we’ve explored the 10 advantages of being able to talk to a doctor online.
You can provide your patients with a prompt reply
One of the greatest advantages to offering online consultations is that you can provide patients with a much more efficient service.
Patients can talk to you from the comfort of their own home, and not have to worry about taking time off work or making their way into the medical practice. With regular appointments, it can often take hours or even days after phoning a receptionist before patients are seen. Going virtual can work to eliminate this problem.
Being an online doctor means that, as soon as patients message you, you can respond. Providing prompt replies to your patients will ensure you can give them the medical attention they need as soon as possible.
Plus, doctors can provide convenience during all hours. Online doctors can (if they wanted to, of course), be available 24/7. So, if patients wake up in the middle of the night feeling unwell, they can simply log on, book an appointment, and get instant answers. If you want to provide excellent patient care, offering online doctor appointments is the perfect solution.
It can help doctors see more patients
As well as quick booking and speedy replies, an online GP practice can also see many more patients. It can give patients who live in remote areas access to medical-grade care with much less hassle involved.
If there was no option for online consultations, these people might be forced to travel miles for treatment, medicines, or just basic care. But with online appointments, they can talk to a doctor online instead, not have to leave their house, and be seen much sooner.
This is not just beneficial for patients. Doctors who are set up for online consultations also have the flexibility to work from anywhere with internet access. This means that they can potentially see thousands of new patients and really give their clinic a boost.
It saves time for patients and doctors alike
Typically online GP consultations are between 15-20 minutes, while in-person office visits can last up to an hour. In today’s busy society, the quicker appointment is instantly more appealing to patients as nobody really enjoys waiting around.
Once again, doctors are able to provide better, more convenient care and be more efficient.
Plus, patients aren’t having to take even more time out of their day to drive back and forth to the medical practice. Doctors won’t technically have to make this journey either – if they’re providing all remote consultations, as they could simply work from home.
Online doctor appointments allow you to book whenever you like
An online doctor appointment allows patients to book any time of day.
They can schedule the appointment at midnight before they go to bed, or first thing in the morning, or even on a weekend day when their usual clinic might be shut.
This means a lot less hassle for receptionist staff too because they can just log onto their computer and see who has booked, rather than deal with phone calls all day.
It can help reduce stress and anxiety
Virtual appointments can also help reduce anxiety and stress for patients. Since patients are not physically with you during an online consultation, they might feel more comfortable sharing information without fear of judgment. Rather than saying aloud what is wrong, they have the option to type it in during a video chat.
This means that patients can effectively hide behind a screen. There are much fewer discomforts than there can be seeing a doctor in person and less need for self-consciousness when discussing sensitive topics.
This makes things more comfortable for both parties and doctors. Patients can be more open and honest with explaining what’s wrong, and doctors are able to focus on more accurately treating whatever issue has arisen.
For those who suffer from social anxiety or have a fear of public speaking, this can be a game-changer.
Ultimately, this is more of a benefit to patients, however, from a doctor’s perspective if more patients feel like they are comfortable with online appointments, then you could end up with more customers.
Online doctor appointments can be more accessible for people with disabilities
If you’re disabled, seeing an online GP is often much easier than visiting your local clinic. Many people with disabilities struggle to drive or have difficulty accessing public transport. So online consultations make things much more accessible when getting around isn’t easy.
This ultimately means less stress, easier appointments for those with disabilities, and better patient experience overall.
It reduces patient no-shows
Since online consultations are more accessible and convenient for everyone, the likelihood of patients not turning up to their appointment will decrease. In fact, 10to8 can reduce patient no-shows by up to 90%.
This is once again down to simplicity. Patients won’t be likely to get caught in traffic on the way to their appointments, or simply not have time to travel into town. They’ll just have to go about their day as usual, and then log on via PC, or click a meeting link in their smartphone to join their appointment.
As a doctor, you’ll spend less time scheduling appointments and trying to find ways to contact people who haven’t shown up, and more time treating those who do. Many online booking systems will send an automatic reminder to patients, so they definitely won’t forget their appointments.
Eliminating harmful appointment no-shows will also have long-term benefits, such as more efficiency, better patient experience, and significant admin cost reduction.
Patients will still have access to safe prescription services
Virtual doctors and telemedicine services are usually able to provide prescriptions online based on your virtual diagnosis. They can diagnose conditions like asthma, dental problems, mental health issues, and many more online and provide prescribed medication too.
Of course, patients may have to travel to a pharmacy to pick up their medicine. However, some online doctors even offer a prescription delivery service, cutting out this issue too.
As such, patients will never have any problems getting prescriptions with an online GP.
It’s easier for an online GP to manage their schedule
As a doctor, patients will be able to book appointments with you anytime and anywhere. But you’ll also be able to receive them from any location, log them straight in an online booking calendar, and keep track of them.
You’ll be able to have automatic notifications sent to your phone when you have an appointment coming up, and when someone books, and so you will always be aware of when something new is in your diary. This eliminates a lot of potential human error and gives you complete control of your calendar.
With all these features seamlessly integrated into an online doctors system, it’ll be much easier for you to stay on top of your busy schedule.
If you’re not very tech-savvy then you might be put off by setting up your clinic for online doctor appointments. However, don’t worry because most of the time, this process is much simpler than most people think.
Many types of medical scheduling software have a simple ‘sign-up-and-go’ setup, and those that need a little extra configuration usually have a great support team or chat system to help you through the process.
It’s easy for your patients too. You’ll simply have to send them a link to your booking page, and they can book an appointment. You can include the link on your website or social media profiles so they can easily find it, and voila!
Using online consultations is a great way to keep the environment clean. What we do in our homes or at work can have major implications on the world around us, so it’s important that we try to be as eco-friendly as possible.
Providing an online doctor appointment means you’ll save energy, reduce car fumes, and petrol usage. These can all contribute to less pollution, both for yourself and your patients.
There are other benefits too. For example, if you’re trying hard not to use paper products then offering appointments online is perfect. Going virtual means no more printer prescriptions, no more paper notes or appointment reminder letters – they can all be emailed instead.
All this helps prevent waste, decreases pollution, and will help reduce your carbon footprint.
Gives you an industry edge
Even though online doctor’s appointments have a number of benefits for both doctors and patients, not all medical practices are on board yet.
If you’re in a field where an online GP is still uncommon, then this could be your chance to get ahead of the game and offer your patients a unique solution. If patients can see that your clinic has more options available than some of your competitors, they’ll choose you over one who doesn’t take them.
In fact, medical statistics show that 68% of patients say they’re more likely to choose medical providers that offer the ability to book, change, or cancel appointments online. So, this can give you a competitive edge.
Everything is going online
Finally, let’s be frank, in this day and age, everything is going virtual. We now work remotely, talk to each other via video chat, and use online shopping for everyday purchases.
Booking an online doctor appointment is probably going to become the norm, and the future of healthcare because it’s so much easier to find a doctor. Nobody likes sitting on hold to their GP, nobody enjoys waiting hours in a crowded waiting room, and not one person enjoys having to rush through their lunch break to call the doctor during their limited opening hours.
Doctors deserve more freedom too. Medical professionals can work very long hours, but offering a virtual service can certainly help change this. Instead of driving from office to office, a GP can go online at any time, work from home and enjoy the convenience of the home office.
It’s pretty easy to see why more and more people are heading towards an online GP service now than ever before.
So, perhaps it’s also time to make the switch for your clinic.