Making or changing appointments

What is the number one priority for your website? Would you be surprised to find it is the ability to make, change or cancel appointments? That’s according to NHS England whose advice on creating a ‘highly usable and accessible GP website’ was recently updated in August 2023.

With 62% of individuals visiting their GP’s website in 2022, it is easy to see why having a clear and easily understood website might benefit not only patients but also the health practice. And as NHS England point out, health sites have to cater not only for those who are fairly computer literate but also for those with moderate to low digital confidence, those with lower levels of literacy, those for whom English is a second language, or those who may be dependant on using accessibility software and tools.

As such the advice given on setting out GP websites may also be pertinent to all of those working in the health and health related sectors. With websites increasingly becoming the portal between patient and health practice, prioritising the patient journey comes at the top of the list. But so too does an emphasis on maintaining the site; creating clear, accurate, and concise content which is updated regularly.

However, that need for regular updating shouldn’t come at the cost of patient confidence in the system. Providing up to date relevant information can help to direct individuals to the service which best meets their needs. Moving that information around the site or creating differing access points can lead to confusion initially and eventually can engender a lack of trust in the service. And remember, websites can look and behave differently on mobile or computer so ensure that they are fully tested across different screen types before going live.

Admittedly, there will be times when individuals may choose to speak to an individual rather than accessing the website. For those times, it is important that help can be accessed quickly rather than having to hang on the phone hoping for an answer. That can cause problems for some health practices which may not be able to respond as they would wish due to existing staff/patient interactions. For those practices, having a back up phone answering service might be the answer.

Clinic Appointments offers that back-up support. With a team of professional receptionists, Clinic Appointments specialises in providing phone support to the healthcare sector. From single practitioners to multi-site clinics, we provide flexible and scalable telephone answering and diary management support. Calls are answered in the name of the health practice, providing peace of mind to callers that they are speaking with someone who will understand their query. And the flexible nature of our support packages means that practices can opt for full time telephone answering support or switch phones over when required.

Apart from telephone answering, practices which are looking for a robust appointment booking system might decide to adopt our in-house diary system. An appointment reminder service is also available; sending reminders via SMS text or email.