We combed new-patient data across our FlexSchedule platform to determine the importance of offering after-hours scheduling services. Keep reading for the full breakdown.
Meet patients where they are
In the last couple of years, we’ve seen the world accelerate towards an all-digital future. Collectively, we’ve attended online conferences, we’re increasingly hiring remote workers, we’ve participated in tele-doctor visits, and Facebook has launched the Meta-verse. The dental industry isn’t immune to this global shift. For the benefit of our patients and our practices, it’s time we meet patients where they are: online.
Online Scheduling by the Numbers
We aggregated data from over 65,000 new-patient appointments made through FlexSchedule in 2021, and our insights show an undeniable shift towards an ever-growing need for practices to engage with patients in the online marketplace.
Of the 65,000+ new-patient appointments we captured, over 27,000 of these appointments were made outside typical practice operating hours. 22% of these after-hours bookings were made on weekends with 78% booked on weeknights and early mornings.
On a base level, without offering online scheduling, practices are foregoing a staggering 41.5% of potential new-patient appointments.
Alternatives to Online Scheduling
We know some practices are hesitant to offer online scheduling, and while we think the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks, practices set on taking a slice of the after-hours booking pie could:
- Hire an employee to monitor the phone after hours. This will provide a human, 1-to-1 touch, but will be costly and may even require overtime pay for the labor.
- Engage a third party service to offer chat based scheduling through your website. This can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands per month, and depending on how much access they give you, could be inaccurate.
Even with the benefits of these options, though, none of them can replace the fact that patients are specifically seeking out online scheduling options when booking new appointments. In a survey conducted by GetApp in April 2021, “nearly 70% of respondents say that they’d choose to book online” and 42% of respondents said long hold times when booking by phone is their biggest scheduling pain-point.
ROI of Online Scheduling
For every new patient missed, you’re leaving real money on the table. The ADA estimates the average first-year value of a new patient to be $650. When you multiply that average by how many new patients were added, clinics saw an increase of $22,000 in annual revenue per location attributed to after-hours appointment bookings.
Taking it one step further, applying the ADA average to the 20,000+ new patients who booked through FlexSchedule outside of business hours, online scheduling captured $14.7 million of new patient revenue last year for our customers. That’s money they may have missed without patients being offered an online scheduling option.
Don’t just take our word for it
We briefly mentioned the GetApp Online Booking Options survey earlier which, in the article’s own words, “outlines the importance of appointment scheduling and the necessity of providing online scheduling options for your customers and clients, especially in the medical field.”
In fact, The Ivory Dental Group scheduled 58% of their appointments online.
“Online scheduling not only reduces our front desk workload and headcount, but enables our practice to reach patients who are either too busy to call or unable to find an appointment time that fits their schedule.”
Read their full experience using FlexSchedule here.
Adding just $100 per month to your Flex service, FlexSchedule quickly pays for itself with just two new patients per year.
If you’re not signed up with FlexSchedule or if you are and have any questions, please reach out to our team.