How HotDoc Helped Battery Point Medical Improve the Waiting Room Experience
Battery Point Medical opened its doors in December 2018. Situated close to the historic area of Salamanca Place in Hobart, the clinic occupies a stunning 1880s building designed by Henry Hunter, a prominent Australian architect who also built Hobart Town Hall and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
The practice has a homely feel featuring 4 metre high ceilings, generous sized rooms and a beautiful verandah, which patients regularly sit on — sometimes with their dog and a coffee — enjoying the gardens. Practice Manager Jane Macrossan, shares, “The waiting room is set up more like a little cafe than a waiting room. People laugh and say, where’s the table service?”
Pictured: Jane Macrossan, Practice Manager (above)
Jane shares, “Initially we were hesitant to take on the building. We didn’t think that it was a normal venue for a medical practice, but we’re so pleased that we did. It creates a family home feel for people. I actually had a patient only an hour ago say that she is incredibly anxious in a medical environment and how she’s appreciated coming to this new practice, because it doesn’t feel like she’s coming to the doctors at all.
“People comment it’s more like visiting a friend rather than coming to the doctors and we laugh about how many people are so relaxed that they just wander out and forget to pay, and you hear them come in 30 seconds later and say, ‘Oh my goodness, I forgot to pay’.”
“HotDoc has been really important to keep that homely feel. We couldn’t have done it without having the software because we didn’t want to create a traditional reception area and we didn’t have a massive space."
Above: Battery Point Medical’s verandah, which patients (and their dogs) can use to wait
Above: A patient waiting for an appointment in the clinic’s waiting room
It’s no surprise Jane has helped set up an out of the ordinary practice. Until recently she was an IT and graphic design teacher. She explains she started the practice with her husband, one of three doctors at the clinic, with no practice management background.
“I had a lot of support from people, but this was all new to me”, Jane explains. “I suppose I had fresh eyes in some ways because I didn’t have any preconceived ideas on how to do anything. So when I learned [HotDoc] was an option I thought this was great.
“I came out of teaching where we had apps for different things for the children and the school to function and this just seemed really obvious to me that this was a good way for people to feel like they could take control of their appointments and have that flexibility and privacy”.
Bookings: From an empty database to 2,500 patients
From day one, Battery Point Medical went live with HotDoc. Jane shares that within 9 weeks of opening, the medical centre had added 2,500 patients to their database thanks to HotDoc.
“When we opened in December 2018 we had an empty database. We’re now at 2,500 patients. All through HotDoc."
In the last 30 days alone, the clinic has received 646 bookings through HotDoc, with about one third of those being new patients. With just 3 doctors on staff that’s 7 bookings per GP per day coming through HotDoc.
Jane shares, “For the new patients it’s been enormous, and we’ve had a lot of new patients. Our phones have got quieter the longer we’ve been around — 9 weeks — which has meant the phone system isn’t running hot the whole time. That’s made things better and better”.
Above: HotDoc Check-In in the foreground and the reception desk in the background
Above: Medical receptionists, Lisa (foreground) and Rita (background), in the reception area
New Patient Registration: The digital tool worth dancing to
Battery Point Medical has also been taking full advantage of HotDoc’s digital New Patient Registration forms. In the last 30 days, 329 patients used the digital form, which plugs straight into Pracsoft saving Jane’s team a tonne of time.
Jane explains, “[HotDoc’s] New Patient Registration has been a godsend. We’ve got 2 reception staff. We couldn’t have brought 2,500 patients into our system with just 2 staff. The doctors are fully booked everyday and we’re all working 7 days a week”.
"We do a happy dance — that’s what we call it — every time someone does the New Patient form online through HotDoc. We look at the dashboard and we’re like, ‘Oh my goodness, someone’s filled it in again. Yes! Straight into Pracsoft’"
“We literally couldn’t have done the job and could not have been open from day one without it. We always laugh, give a high five or dance — we really do — whenever someone fills out the new patient form. It takes so much work away from us. HotDoc has saved us at least 1 full time reception staff member from day dot with filling out new patient forms”.
Check-In: Charming all patients, from toddlers to 90 year olds
Battery Point Medical also utilises HotDoc Check-In to help greet and check-in patients. Jane explains, “We like it because our big things are care and respect. They’re the two things we really wanted to focus on with the practice.
“I like the fact that the Kiosk is private, which is a big part of respect. Especially for those patients who just want to come in and check-in on their own, make themselves a coffee and slip into the waiting room. They get the privacy if they want it. It would have been very difficult to provide that amount of privacy and flexibility without it.”
Above: A patient using HotDoc Check-In, displayed on an iPad in the foyer
Above: Art on the wall opposite the HotDoc Check-In stand
“We were very conscious of not making it a one-size-fits-all approach as I noticed with some of the competitors of HotDoc”, Jane shares. I found [the competitor’s] systems very impersonal. Almost like the ATM-style things you see at an airport — where people come in, they check-in with a machine that looks like an ATM, they go to their appointment and are told what room their doctor is in, and when they’re finished they even pay with the machine. And they don’t necessarily talk to anybody. Whereas we don’t see HotDoc working that way.
“It’s so funny the people who love it. We have people in their 20s who love it and then we have little ones who absolutely love it.”
"We have these tiny little ones who are 3 years old on their tippy-toes to reach the kiosk, but they’re so determined to put everything in and they love it. And then we have 90 year olds who are like, ‘No, I’m going to do this. This is what I want to do and I’m going to go tell my grandchildren I worked an iPad’."
“It’s freeing up staff too” Jane shares. “They have more personal time, so we can actually say hello to everybody and chat to people. It gives us that time back. It’s not telling them that they’re a number and they have to follow an automated system.”
HotDoc App: Helping doctors get found online
One of the biggest surprises for Jane was how much value the doctors got out of HotDoc from day one. Jane explains, “What’s interesting to us is that our doctors have been able to be found online more easily”.
“Our 3 doctors have a lot of patients who have been very loyal to them for a long time. With the move of practices, HotDoc has been really wonderful for people to find them. They’ve been able to pop in the doctor’s name [in Google] and find out exactly where they’ve relocated.”
Above: Dr Scott Macrossan in consultation with patients
“[The doctors] can see the impact of the software. They see how easy it is for people to be able to book. The feedback they’re getting from the patients is that it helps them and makes them less anxious about making appointments. They can relax about that side of things. So it’s very positive from the doctor’s point of view.
“They also like the confidence in knowing that they have a presence out there. That people, including old patients, can find them and people can book in with them.
“The doctors are also feeling very relieved and supported by the recall system. We’re at the stage where we’ve looked at the templates that are there and our doctors are going through and tweaking those templates that already exist. We’re then linking them up to Medical Director and they’re really really excited that they can rest assured knowing that automatically their patients will get a letter that’s tailored to them, or a SMS when that’s appropriate.”
Jane also praised the HotDoc app’s advantages for patients.“In Hobart, HotDoc is the major app that’s being used now. It’s brilliant. People just know to jump onto HotDoc to find the doctors. Even for the older people. They’re really wanting to use the app on their phone.
“We love that patients have got 24/7 access to appointments . They love that. Again, this comes back to the care we want to deliver. We love that patients can sit there out-of-hours and work out what their next day’s about and determine when they can get an appointment. There’s no embarrassment if you can’t make it. You don’t have to ring and apologise. You can just cancel it yourself and change it. That’s another thing they really love”.
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