Retain Patients and Referrers with Online Appointment Booking
Case Study booking4med, MVZ Radiology Karlsruhe, Germany
Prof. Dr. med. Henrik Michaely, owner and senior radiologist as well as Mr. Nicoló Zabarino-Kästle of the imaging center MVZ Radiology Karlsruhe in Germany talk about their experiences with the new online appointment booking solution booking4med.
The MVZ Radiology Karlsruhe has been working with medavis‘ Radiology Information System since mid-2014. Since mid-2020, the facility is also supported by the online appointment booking solution booking4med of the healthcare IT specialist. We spoke to the radiologist Prof. Dr. Henrik Michaely and Nicoló Zabarino-Kästle from the registration team about their experiences with their solution provider.
Picture: Prof. Dr. med. Henrik Michaely
Professor Michaely, why did you decide to implement an online appointment booking?
Prof. Dr. Henrik Michaely: We wanted to simplify the whole process. Patients should have online access to the appointment booking system and be able to get away from the practice‘s opening hours and waiting lines on the phone. We also wanted to relieve our employees at the registration desk.
You have replaced an existing solution in your imaging center. Why?
Prof. Dr. H. Michaely: That’s right. Even though it involved effort, time and cost, it was the right decision. booking4med simplifies the workflow significantly with its complete integration into the medavis RIS. The patient’s bookings are stored directly in the RIS. For us, this means: The gap between the former external program and the RIS is eliminated. This means less manual work, less possible data loss, fewer potential sources of error. Overall, we have a faster workflow, which we can better understand, control and integrate processes into, making it faster and more efficient.
What about data protection?
Prof. Dr. H. Michaely: This is another important factor in favour of booking4med. Patient data remains in one hand, namely ours. It is stored on our server, does not leave our imaging center, is not passed on to third parties. The data processed by us is stored completely in compliance with data protection on German servers. This is a decisive argument for some patients and for us it is extremely important that booking4med enables us to do so.
How did the implementation of booking4med go in your practice?
Prof. Dr. H. Michaely: For us, the introduction was very easy. The master data configuration and the actual implementation were done in collaboration with medavis within one working day. Integrating booking4med into our homepage required no more than inserting a single program line.
The real work is to configure the appointments. This includes the query process for patients as well as the corresponding notification emails and text messages. We needed just under a week with different test runs and adjustments. Well, it was worth it. We are very satisfied with the result now.
What are the advantages for patients?
Prof. Dr. H. Michaely: Patients can schedule appointments at our practice regardless of time and location, without waiting on the phone. They can also choose between different appointments and simply click on the one that suits them best. That is certainly more complicated over the phone. The entire process is very quick and easy for patients, and is therefore very well received.
How is the acceptance among your patients?
Prof. Dr. H. Michaely: Initially, we kept the number of online appointments relatively low in order to test the system and its functionality. In the meantime, we have arrived at a ratio of about 30 percent online to 70 percent phone appointments, depending on the modality. There are several reasons for this: For X-rays, for example, online appointments are always available, as these patients do not need an appointment and can come to the practice without registering first. For MRIs, we reserve the right to not offer appointments online for the slightly more complex examinations, which require more explanation on the phone. We offer online appointments for examinations such as MRI scans for knees, lumbar spine, skull or brain, i.e. those that are relatively easy to communicate to the patient.
What are your experiences with online appointment booking, Mr Zabarino-Kästle?
N. Zabarino-Kästle: To this day, all is good. The data entry is more precise online than via phone call, where, despite all the attention, errors are always slipping in during the transmission. Overall, we have less work to do on the phone. The appointments appear in our program and the important customer data in the appointment cell. This allows us to easily register patients when they come to the imaging center. That also saves us a lot of work.
You want to offer online appointment booking also to your referrers. Why?
Prof. Dr. H. Michaely: The ability to reserve appointment timeslots for referrers offers us two, perhaps even three, major advantages. On the one hand, as always, the registration team is relieved, since the referrers can arrange appointments by themselves. On the other hand, and I think this is the most important aspect, it is possible to define a clear treatment workflow.
This means that for cases that typically occur with the referrer XY, the referrer can define a clear treatment workflow that, in consultation with us, includes diagnostic imaging. This allows him to offer his patients a comprehensive package. For us, this means – and this is the third benefit – that we have a better allocation system and better serve the overall framework of medical care that we have to fulfil in the health insurance system.
What is your conclusion about booking4med, Professor Michaely?
Prof. Dr. H. Michaely: booking4med has more than met our expectations. We rolled out and tested the solution as one of the first radiologies and were thrilled with the functionality, stability, and integration. The system works 100 percent as it should. So far, we have not been able to detect any malfunctions. The functionality has been good so far and hopefully even better in the future, when, for example, the referrers can make their booking and the interaction with the patient is arranged in such a way that we receive little negative feedback. We get to hear one or the other positive word from our patients, which is otherwise rather rare. So we are completely satisfied in total.
Would you recommend medavis‘ online appointment booking to other radiologists?
Prof. Dr. H. Michaely : Absolutely. In my opinion, booking4med is a solution that can be completely recommended for several reasons. Number one: It shows radiology a path into the future: Patients have new access routes and can also book independently of time. Number two: It allows radiologists to optimize that workflow. This means that they need less manpower on the phone and are able to reach and manage patients better. And number three: In the future, the system will hopefully offer the possibility of giving referrers access to the radiology‘s booking system, thus ensuring a deeper integration into the overall medical care.
Thank you very much for the enlightening discussion, Professor Michaely and Mr. Zabarino-Kästle.
MVZ Radiologie Karlsruhe
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