Google’s Online Appointment Request Feature: What You Need to Know

By: Kelly Bodell

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Did you know that for certain practices, patients can now begin the appointment scheduling process right after searching your practice on Google?

Healthgrades unrolled the Online Appointment Request (OAR) call to action on Google last month for Patient Direct Connect affiliated practices.

What this means is if your practice is signed up for Healthgrades’ Patient Direct Connect or the Elective Provider Program through a hospital affiliation, when a patient Googles your practice, there will be a “Book an appointment” section at the bottom of your practice’s Google My Business listing on the right-hand side of the window. This OAR feature is also available on mobile devices.

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The drop down appointment scheduling boxes allow a patient to select the doctor they want to see, mark whether they are a new or existing patient and indicate whether the appointment is for them or if they are making the appointment for someone else. Once a patient has selected the required information, they continue the booking by clicking “Continue booking” and are directed to the Healthgrades website to finalize the appointment request.

Here are the top 5 things you should know about the Online Appointment Request feature:

  1. This is a free, added service if your practice is already a Patient Direct Connect or Elective Provider Program client through an HCA hospital affiliation. If you are not affiliated with a hospital that is currently enrolled in the sponsorship programs, this feature is not available for you at this time. If you have any questions about Healthgrades’ Patient Direct Connect or Elective Provider programs, please contact Kelly Bodell.
  2. In order for the OAR to appear on Google, the Healthgrades and Google listings have to have the same address. If the addresses do not align, the OAR feature will not appear for a practice. If a Healthgrades and/or Google listing address is incorrect, please contact Hannah Brown.
  3. If the physicians listed in the “Choose your doctor” drop down are incorrect, or there are missing physicians, please contact Kelly Bodell.
  4. This feature only requests appointments for new patients. If the patient is an existing patient, they will be directed to the Healthgrades profile of the physician they selected and will receive an alert that directs them to schedule with that physician by calling the practice phone number.
  5. You can receive metrics from this feature and track patient engagement. The analytics from the scheduler are added to the OAR metrics report that a practice receives if they are affiliated with a hospital currently enrolled in the Healthgrades sponsorship programs.

If you have any questions about the Healthgrades Online Appointment Request, please contact Kelly Bodell on the Online Marketing Team.

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