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Physiotherapy clinics tap into online booking

GP and HealthEngine CEO Dr Marcus Tan
Photo: GP and HealthEngine CEO Dr Marcus Tan
More physiotherapists and other health professionals are now just a click or a swipe away thanks to the rise in online booking services.

Physiotherapy now has the third highest number of directory listings, after GPs and dental practitioners, on Australia’s largest online health directory and booking service, HealthEngine.

A million people each month access the online directory which connects patients with more than 70,000 listed health practitioners, including physiotherapists, nurses, nurse practitioners, midwives, audiologists, psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, chiropractors and Chinese medicine practitioners.

The platform, which includes a website and a free app, also facilitates 500,000 bookings a month with more than 3500 clinics, or about 15,000 health practitioners, across the nation.
GP and HealthEngine CEO Dr Marcus Tan said physiotherapy has grown to become the site’s third key area.

“A lot of physios see the value in attracting new patients, so I think the value in our services have primarily been around offering up tools and information for patients as a key group to be able to empower them to manage their health care,” he said.

“But on the flip side, we obviously deal with the provider side, and giving them the tools to be able to engage with patients well, being able to manage their private practices where they can ensure that they are full and not sitting around twiddling their thumbs.

“Also offering them tools that are more in the digital age to make things more efficient as far as their practices - things like the online booking system, so they don’t have to have too many staff at the front desk or on the phone, and being able to offer them things like recall systems to help them remind patients to come back.”

While the health care sector has traditionally been slow to embrace online solutions, patient demand is driving the move towards a significant growth in online directory and booking services - offering a more convenient way for patients to be able to book and manage their health appointments.

Health practitioners are also using the platform to track down other health professionals for their patients, Dr Tan said.

“Nurses are a first port of call…they are valued advisors to patients, and patients will want to know - who should I see for this or for that?

“We have a tool that allows patients or even the nurses themselves to be able to reference what else is going on in the industry, who else is out there and what they’re doing.”

Dr Tan said the service has plans to offer more features to both patients and health practitioners.

“We have really touched the tip of the iceberg in many places. What we’ve got now is good and it’s going really well but we’re making some significant investments in product development, so there’s all sorts of new things we’re hoping to develop very shortly, to add even more value for both patients and providers,” he said.

“It’s about helping practices be better, to engage patients better, and to give patients a lot more information about their health care to make better decisions for themselves.”

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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords