Do Your Research: Online Appointments

Steps to Researching Implementing Online Appointment Scheduling

Conduct background research

  • Find useful resources about online appointment scheduling.
  • Read user reviews to find out what works and what doesn't.

Assess patient interest

  • If a recent patient survey asked about Internet capability and interest in online appointment scheduling, retrieve the survey data.
  • If you don't have recent data, download this survey(1 page PDF) from Family Practice Management, or create your own, then ask adult patients to fill out the survey during office visits.

Determine current call volume

Online appointment scheduling can reduce the time staff members spend on the phone.

  • If your practice has recently measured call volume, retrieve the data about phone calls to schedule appointments.
  • If you haven't yet measured call volume, use this form(1 page PDF) from Family Practice Management to measure it, including calls to schedule appointments, or create your own form.

Analyze your research, then discuss and decide

Keep these questions in mind as team members discuss the information you've gathered:

  • Based on your background research, does online appointment scheduling sound like a good idea for your practice?
  • Do enough patients indicate interest to justify the addition of online appointment scheduling?
  • How about the amount of staff time currently spent on phone calls to schedule appointments?
  • If a significant amount of this staff time could be spent on other meaningful work, would setting up online appointment scheduling be worth the time and money it would take?
  • Are you and your staff ready and willing to proceed with this project?

If yes, then it's time to figure out how online appointment scheduling will fit into the office workflow.

What you will need

  • Decision-making authority
  • Time to conduct background research
  • A patient survey
  • A call tracking sheet
  • Time to analyze and discuss the background research and data

Difficulty: Easy

Outcome: Enough information to make a decision

Time to Complete: Up to two months if you need to collect data