Take-up of self-service online appointment scheduling by patients will rise sharply again in 2015, the latest forecasts from Tuotempo indicate.

The proportion of patients booking online rose by 30% in 2014, continuing eight years of uninterrupted growth. At the highest performing establishments, four out of ten patients now book their medical appointments for themselves online.

The figures confirm trends reported by Accenture, which predicts that within four years two thirds of all medical appointments booked in the United States will be booked online.

“The same tendencies seen in the United States are now being seen in Europe, South America and the Middle East,” said Tuotempo Chief Executive Donatello Bianco. “And we are forecasting continued growth in 2015. Patients are becoming more familiar with the self-service way. Returning patients who prefer online to the phone are also driving up usage rates.”

The survey of users of Tuotempo Patient CRM found that health establishments are introducing online booking for three reasons:

To enhance the patient experience:

  • High quality clinics and hospitals offer online booking as an additional service to patients. They maintain an excellent telephone reception service, but offer online booking and cancellation as a brand enhancing option. Their target is technophile patients and patients who need to return to the clinic on a regular basis

To attract new patients:

  • Health service practitioners are adding online booking to their websites and national portals as a way of increasing visibility and attracting new patients

To cut down overheads:

  • Health service providers encourage patients to use online booking as a way to cut down administrative costs. At the extreme end of this category, some establishments make online booking compulsory

The future of self-service online appointment scheduling

The Accenture report says that Health service providers who do not offer online booking will increasingly lose market share to more advanced competitors.

At present around one in ten appointments can be self-scheduled in the United States. The report predicts that by 2019 that number will rise to six out of ten.

Nearly 8 out of 10 patients questioned in the Accenture survey said they would like the option to book online.

Research shows that patients take on average 8 minutes to make an appointment by phone, when call waiting time is take into account. Self-service online booking is typically completed in one minute.

About Tuotempo

Tuotempo provides self-service online appointment scheduling software to health service providers in 20 countries. Tuotempo Patient CRM is available as an extension that synchronises data with existing Hospital Information Systems.