Your services are online – so how do you persuade patients to use them?

Despite the fact that most patients expect to make appointments and much more via their clinical system’s online services, only a small percentage of patients do so. This is in spite of the effort and drive by Practices to promote digital access.

In this month’s issue we will look at ways that practices can encourage patients to make the switch from phoning or visiting the practice to doing more online via their clinical system.

What can practices do to encourage patients to make the switch?

Barriers to use

The usual scenario to allow patients access to the clinical system’s online services is that patients are asked to come into the Practice with proof of ID in order to register. Because the clinical system has the capability of allowing patients to access their medical records, care must be taken to ensure that the patient asking for access to the online services is who they say they are. Hence the stringent rules about presenting ID.

However, imagine not being able to book a flight online, or buy a book from Amazon, or order your shopping from a supermarket unless you first visited a store to identify yourself? If a personal visit was required, it’s a certainty that the use of online services would be much, much lower. So it’s not surprising that take-up by patients is low.

How to get around the barrier

To overcome this barrier, some practices are now offering patients access to just their appointment booking service without the need to see ID. For most patients this is the service that they want to access the most. Using this approach the patient can’t access their medical records or order repeat prescriptions. But the big advantage is that they can register to access the online appointment service without having to visit the practice first.

Registering can be done through a simple online form, and the patient is sent their login details. To see an example of this visit Marlow Medical Centre.

When the patient comes in for their appointment, the practice can verify their ID and allow the patient full access to other services, such as their medical report and repeat prescriptions.

How the patient benefits

There is a benefit to the patient to register as they can start to use the clinical systems’ online service. It also introduces them to the benefits and scope of these service.

The patient doesn’t need to make an additional visit to the surgery just to prove ID. This can be done when they next have their appointment.

How the Practice benefits

The Practice will notice a rise in the number of patients registering for the clinical systems’ online services which will help them meet their targets for the number of patients registered to use the clinical systems’ online services.

Just by making this small change, patients will start to go online. They’ll be tempted with the carrot of easy-to-use online appointment booking with no need for ID verification, and they’ll love the convenience of using the online service. When they are next in the Practice they can have their ID checked and be given full access.

If you would like help with the information on your website like Marlow Medical Centre to explain how patients can access your appointment booking system without the need for ID verification, please get in touch with the team here at Silicon Practice.