From doctor.com health trends survey:
3. Online scheduling and digital communications will be the norm
The ability to book or request appointments online is in hot demand. And this trend continue to grow year over year. In 2018, 31% of patients consider online scheduling options when deciding on a provider, and 42% even report that being able to schedule or reschedule an appointment online has impacted their choice of healthcare providers.
This trend toward digital capabilities is mirrored in how patients prefer to communicate with their healthcare providers. 53% prefer appointment reminders via text messages, and 17% prefer email. It’s important to reach patients through their channels of choice: 70% think doctor communications — like follow-up and annual checkup reminders — matter when leaving a five-star review.
Source: (2) New Messages!
One of four interesting trends listed in the linked article. All four have to do with online patient interaction. Not surprising as that is what doctor.com specializes in providing.
My surveys indicate that the number one online service dental office are currently providing patients is the ability to “request” an appointment. Very few are allowing patients to actually book an appointment. Most dentists and dental team members can’t imagine letting patients schedule themselves directly online. Never the less direct booking is gaining traction and I agree that it will be common in the future.