Lesson 5 – Improve patient access with online appointments

Patients have changed the way they shop for healthcare. They have changed the way they look for doctors. Patients have very little patience these days. When a patient is looking for a doctor and your business listing does show up, you need to allow your patient to request an appointment online – while they are searching.

The is part of a series of lessons in our medical marketing course. For the entire course, please check out our medical marketing lessons. Learn how to grow your medical practice.
Patients have changed the way they shop for healthcare. They have changed the way they look for doctors. Patients have very little patience these days. Understand this as an integral basis of your marketing plan.

When a patient is looking for a doctor and your business listing does show up, you need to allow your patient to request an appointment online – while they are searching.

Trust us – after requesting an appointment with your practice, these patients are moving on to your competitor’s listing and requesting an appointment online with them.
That’s how fickle patients are – they have very little patience for waiting.

  1. How can you offer instant appointments to patients

    If you are not using a patient intake software, Let’s talk about two of the other options here

    – Google book now
    – Facebook book now
    Your EMR might also have a book now button available. This button is typically embedded in your practice website.

  2. How to use Google book now button to get patient appointments

    You can enable Google book now by following these steps here and here. Keep in mind that it does ask you to sign up with one of their approved scheduling partners. If you don’t have an account with one of the partners, you should sign up. There aren’t many partners that actually support HIPAA compliance, so be careful about the ones you choose.

    You can also use our free booking tool that works with Google Book Now button as well.
    Another way to enable booking is via Google messaging. Read more about it here. Do keep in mind that to enable this, you have to turn on Google messaging. Here’s how you do it (read this link) and keep in mind that you do need to respond within 24 hours of receiving a message from a customer (or potential patient).

    There is no risk to enabling the book now button nor any risk in enabling google messaging. Just because a patient asked for a specific appointment date/time doesn’t force you to agree to that date/time. You can always call the patient and reschedule based on an available appointment date/time. It’s that simple.

  3. How to use Facebook book now button to get patient appointments

    Facebook is not far away in this game either. You can enable Facebook book now button quite easily – all you have to do is to set up your availability, list the “services” that you cater to (e.g. retinal surgery, glaucoma, Primary Vision Care, Allergy Eye Care, Cancer Care, Cataract Surgery, Corneal Surgery etc) and just set up the patient reminders..

    That’s it.

    Facebook also allows you various options with the Book Now button. You can direct patients to your website, use one of their scheduling partners or set up (as mentioned above) your schedule on Facebook itself.

    Facebook has messaging features similar to what Google has as well. Your patients can send you facebook messages via the Facebook messenger. This does not necessarily mean that you or your staff have to sit around with the facebook messenger tool open all day long. Unlike Google Messaging which has not opened its messaging API yet, Facebook integrates via tools like zapier to email or SMS you those messages. This makes it really useful because Facebook messages can be integrated directly into your daily workflow.

    Wasn’t that easy?

    Let’s look at how to implement the B2B Marketing SMART Goal – “I want to add one new referring physician partner per month”


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