In traditional appointment booking, customers reserve a time for a healthcare appointment or service at a specific location and time. Another person, such as a receptionist, may also book appointments on behalf of the customer.
In a previous blog post, we discussed an appointment booking option where customers are provided with appointment options based on a healthcare professional’s request. This ensures that customers are presented with only the appointment options that meet their specific needs.
While these are the most common appointment booking methods, Vihta Booking offers a range of other options. One such option is group booking, which has been used for over a decade by Helsinki University Hospital for cervical cancer screenings. This feature is initially designed for healthcare but could be adapted for other industries where multiple appointments need to be made simultaneously.
Group booking works by receiving a list of customers to be invited for screening. Vihta Booking receives the customer’s basic information, such as name and postcode, which is used to reserve a time for the customer based on the postcode. The goal is to ensure that the testing location is as close to the customer’s home as possible. After booking the customer, they receive a paper invitation letter containing the details of the appointment and instructions for rescheduling or canceling the appointment.
Using group booking, the annual participation rate for cervical cancer screening has increased compared to when customers independently book their appointments.
A significant proportion of healthcare clients live in assisted living facilities and nursing homes, where they often require various types of sample collection. However, not all of these clients can travel to the laboratory for sample collection, so healthcare professionals visit their locations to collect samples.
Vihta offers a tool for mobile sample collection, allowing healthcare professionals to add clients to their route while traveling to various locations. The laboratory technician can notify clients of their schedule, which may include specific postcodes for assisted living facilities and other locations on a particular day and time. The samples to be collected are also specified during route planning.
The route is made visible in Vihta, and employees of the nursing homes can add their clients to the technician’s route without scheduling a specific appointment time. Once the laboratory technician has confirmed the clients’ appointments, they can plan their visit to the facilities based on the scheduled appointments.
Vihta also offers the option to book appointments for multiple family members or multiple services simultaneously. Family appointment booking is an efficient way to provide services to several family members at once, saving time for both the family and the healthcare provider. For example, if multiple family members need vaccinations for a trip, scheduling them at the same time can save time by minimizing the duration of the appointment.
On the other hand, multi-service appointment booking enables clients to complete multiple procedures at the same time. Vihta can estimate the duration of each procedure and combine them into a single appointment, which saves time between appointments, eliminates the need for multiple identifications and reduces waiting times.
Both family and multi-service appointment booking can be combined. In this case, multiple family members can book different types of procedures and have them done during the same appointment. Vihta calculates the total duration of all procedures to determine the best location to serve all the clients.
Family and multi-service appointment booking have been used for several years, not only in healthcare but also in other industries such as immigration services. These appointment booking options can be adapted to many other industries where multiple clients need to be served simultaneously.
Some appointment-based services may benefit from requiring a professional to confirm a booking before it is locked in. Customers can still book an appointment normally, but before the booking is confirmed, the professional will review the customer’s details and the requested time.
The professional will ensure that the necessary facilities, personnel, and equipment are available for the procedure at the requested time before confirming the customer’s preliminary booking. The booking is not automatically confirmed, but rather requires a professional to check and confirm the availability of the required resources. If the professional believes that the customer needs another procedure before the requested one, the booking for the desired procedure will not be confirmed.
In addition to personal basic booking, Vihta supports: