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After switching from HealthEngine to another online bookings provider in March 2019, it took just 13 days for Harbourtown Day/Night Surgery to come back on board, “13 days too long!” if you ask Practice Manager, Yolande Meintjes.

Conveniently located in Harbourtown Shopping Centre in Biggera Waters, Queensland, Harbourtown Day/Night Surgery is a busy, all-in-one clinic that offers patients both GP and allied health services.

Patient getting the blood pressure tested

Above: A patient having their blood pressure taken


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With 6 FTEs, together with a host of allied professionals, the practice has a lot to manage both in labour and costs – something Yolande discovered when she took over the role of Practice Manager just over a year ago. “When I started, there was no business plan or budget. I was given the job to look at where we can reduce costs.”

Despite being really happy with the service and results HealthEngine was providing, Yolande decided to explore other options with the intention of cutting expenses. “HealthEngine was always providing good service but it wasn’t the service that gave me reason to change. I just wanted to try something new.”

For her, the varying costs from Healthengine month-to-month was a logical expense to cut. “One month we were getting charged $200, the next month it was $700.”

But what Yolande didn’t realise was the more they paid, the more revenue the practice was making, especially from new patients. “I saw the varying costs as an easy expense to cut, without really thinking what it meant for the business.  We didn’t realise the return we were actually getting on our investment.”

In March, Harbourtown Day/Night Surgery switched from HealthEngine to another online bookings provider. She hoped to reduce costs while still keeping bookings consistent.

I thought that most people would just book through our website but that wasn’t the case.

The impact was immediate

When switching from HealthEngine to another online bookings provider, Yolande had no idea the size or scope the impact would have on their practice. And, it was the speed that most shocked her.

“Almost the next day, we had quite a few open appointments which was unusual and my doctors were hanging around with not much to do.”

By the 2nd or 3rd week I had so many open gaps that I had to tell doctors not to come in.

And Yolande just couldn’t understand why. After thinking maybe it was just a quiet time, she pulled some reports on bookings and noticed the number of online bookings received via HealthEngine. “There were 2-3 online bookings a day where there used to be 20”.

Bookings continued to plummet

With bookings dropping so dramatically something had to be done. “It was ridiculous, we saw more than 20% of total bookings drop. We only got bookings through our website.”

New patient bookings dropped 99.9%, we had no new patients.

Patient backlash

Something Yolande didn’t expect when switching from HealthEngine was the reaction from their patients.

“We had quite a few patients coming in saying that they had the HealthEngine app and they had all their healthcare on there and I can’t make an appointment with you anymore [using HealthEngine].”

We even had a patient walk in and say they weren’t coming back because we went off HealthEngine.

“They have all their healthcare practitioners on HealthEngine so it’s just easier for them to manage.”

Something had to change and fast

By the second week, the practice continued to experience a drop in revenue from reduced booking numbers and something had to be done.

I had to quickly jump on it and get back on to HealthEngine. It was 13 days, 13 days too long!

An almost instant spike in bookings

“Within a minute of switching HealthEngine back on we had 2 – 3 bookings come through, I was surprised.”

I hadn’t even finished my call with them and the appointments started streaming in.

Asked what would happen if HealthEngine was to disappear from their practice again, her response was pretty clear…

Please, please don’t do that to me, my hair is already falling out. No, it would be devastating.

I’m more than happy and the doctors are happy. We even got the patient who walked out back on board!

We will never leave HealthEngine again.

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