Online appointment scheduling is a relatively new convenience for both counselors and clients. This service, as described by Kathleen Mills from Life Tree Counseling allows clients to “make an appointment at their convenience, any time day or night, without the frustration of playing telephone tag.”
In order to use this completely confidential service, all the client has to do is create a user account with a user name, enter their email address and phone number, and provide a password. The client can then view the appointment times their provider has available and select the time that fits best with their schedule.
The client cannot see the names of any other client. In the event the counselor needs to contact their client, the individual’s email and phone number is included in the clinician’s view of the appointment calendar. If the client sees more than one provider at the facility, the client will have to sign into each clinician’s calendar.
Client’s Reactions to Online Scheduling
When asked about the client’s reactions to online scheduling, the representative from Life Tree Counseling stated one client told her: “Online scheduling is the best thing ever. It makes my life easier.”
Other clients have asked why the service had not been put in place sooner. The Life Tree representative stated that the center has used online scheduling for a year, and she was “pleasantly surprised” that clients have no complaints and use the service on a regular basis. She added that the use of online scheduling is voluntary.
An independent survey conducted of clients and patients whose providers offered online scheduling found that 70 percent of the clients took advantage of the service and preferred the service to having to call for an appointment.
The Benefits of Online Scheduling for Clinicians
Clinicians not only appreciate the convenience of online scheduling, but they also like the other benefits as well. In addition to saving time by not having to return calls about appointments, they have also found that online scheduling has improved their client retention rates. Since clients can schedule appointments at a time that is convenient for them, they are much more likely to keep the appointment.
In addition, if the clinician has a cancellation, the opening is much more likely to be filled since a client who is in need of the earliest available appointment can just choose that appointment. This saves the clinician the time involved in calling clients who might be available to take that appointment time.
A case study of a clinic that implemented the use of online scheduling found that billing increased by 41 percent as a result in the decreased number of no shows and the number of unfilled appointments.
When online scheduling is integrated into practicing management software, the benefits of this service compound. The clinician’s revenue increases since there is a record of the time spent with the client, so billing errors due to missed time are decreased. Additionally, the system will automatically code the service, so denied claims are less frequent.
Online scheduling software offers convenience for clients and streamlines practice management for clinicians.
Don’t forget that you can also schedule an appointment by calling the LifeTree Counselors at (972) 234-6634