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By Kevin Rach at LocalMed
Lots of dentists think they offer online scheduling to their patients, but unfortunately, most of those dentists are wrong. They might offer online appointment requests, but not online scheduling. Not really.
The difference seems small on paper, but in practice, it makes a world of difference.
Think about what it takes to schedule an appointment in the “traditional” way. A patient calls your practice. Your front desk checks your availability against the patient’s schedule. Then the back-and-forward starts. “Will Friday at 3 work? ...Okay, how about next Tuesday at noon? ...Okay, what about Wednesday at-”
The same problem happens online. They submit a request, which sends an email to your front desk. Your staff calls them as many times as it takes to reach them. And then guess what conversation they have? (hint: see above)
This goes on until the patient says “OK, let me check with my husband about next week and I’ll call back.”
Maybe they really will call back. Maybe. But here’s where a hard truth comes in.
Unless you’re exceptionally charismatic, most people see visiting your office as a necessity - a cost of living, not something they want to do. To many, coming to see you means expense and discomfort more than it means a head full of healthy and pain-free teeth.
Unless this person sees you as their dentist, they’re going to look elsewhere. And since most new patients list convenience as the #1 factor in deciding where to schedule an appointment, they’re going to go somewhere where booking is easy.
They don’t know you’re a better dentist than the guy down the street; they trust the DDS after a name to be proof of skill. These are the same kinds of people who think that the oral-systemic link refers to a good set of braces, but the point stands - think of the last time you took an Uber. Did you check your driver’s accident record against other drivers in the area?
Your patients can book flights, get rides, and even earn degrees online. To them, real online scheduling with their dentist makes the difference between quickly checking an item off their to-do list, and dealing with a level of bureaucracy that doesn’t jive with their modern sense of convenience.
LocalMed was built to deliver a modern solution to this decades-old problem. Since we’re completely integrated into each practice's PMS, patients can see what appointments are available in real time, and then schedule them directly into your system according to rules that you set.
This means no phone tag with the front desk, no double-booking, and no losing patients to the guy down the road who still confuses mesial and distal, but has an open schedule.
LocalMed works exactly like booking a flight. Your patients see the time they want, they click it, they get it.
We think that’s the way online scheduling should be. Come see us on the next cruise, and we’ll tell you all about it. We’ll be the ones with the goat!
If you'd like to learn more, we'd love to schedule a demo!