One of the main selling points of private healthcare cited by patients is that they can arrange to see a specialist without delay.
In a survey of private patients’ reasons for choosing private healthcare, 76% mentioned reduced waiting times and more than half (52%) said the availability of appointment times1. The same research revealed patients’ reasons for choosing a particular consultant: while 38% cited clinical expertise, 32% said waiting times for appointments and 22% said the appointment times offered.
Given the importance that patients place on appointments, it is essential that this aspect of your practice is efficiently managed. It is after all the first interaction that a patient will have with your practice and first impressions make all the difference.
The appointment system in ePractice manager means you can respond professionally to telephone enquiries and track appointments in single or multiple locations. You can see that day’s schedule at a glance on your status page and use the appointments menu to organise your diary. The options include:
- view and search your practice diary for appointments by patient, location or date range
- search available time slots at one or more locations and create a new appointment
- make notes or issue instructions about the appointment, planned treatment or service
- generate an appointment letter for the patient which includes the relevant details
- add a patient to your waiting list until a suitable appointment slot is available
- view your appointment schedule remotely on your tablet using the ePractice app
A particularly useful feature if you provide regular clinics at a particular hospital is the ability to set up recurring sessions. Simply select this option in the appointment menu, enter a session description, the location, the length of the session and the duration of appointment slots.
Ultimately, your appointment system must allow you to provide a responsive and professional service for patients when many will be feeling anxious about their health. If they can arrange an appointment at a convenient time and with minimal delay, you are likely to inspire their confidence and build trust.
As the research shows, patients have generally high expectations of the service provided by the private sector and ePractice manager will help you ensure this is justified.
1 Private Healthcare Market Investigation: Surveys of Patients – November/December 2012, GFK Report, Private healthcare market investigation (surveys section), 27/2/13 https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/private-healthcare-market-investigation