Online scheduling is no longer just a nice-to-have

Posted by Chris Lukasiak Friday, September 9, 2016

Improving patient access is our mission. That’s our thing. It’s the reason our company exists. Make the scheduling experience easy. For everyone.

If you’ve ever tried to book an appointment, the above video illustrates an experience that nearly everyone can relate to. We won’t lie, it’s terrible. We’re here to change that.

The video is eager to suggest that the lack of online scheduling is an embarrassment for the whole industry. It’s easy to take for granted modern conveniences until you don’t have them. Unfortunately, healthcare is missing a lot. The way we see it, online scheduling is essential for reducing wait times and eliminating the hassle of arduous telephone exchanges. In locating overlooked appointment availability, the benefits could even help prevent a physician shortage crisis. And then you realize 20% of patients can find same or next day appointments and 50% of patients can be seen within a week when online self-scheduling is implemented.

Ironically, many physicians believe their calendars are at full capacity, when the statistics show that unused capacity hides in the averages. Frequently this is an issue of optimization where better data and scheduling tools can help maximize patients seen and reduce no-shows.

Delight the consumer
It has becoming increasingly clear that consumers aren’t looking for a revolution. In fact, most of their desires are simple. They want an easy way to schedule doctor visits. The ability to get appointment reminders should be easy – including from your mobile phone.

Addressing this not only sets positive expectations with the patient but also improves their experience before they even show up for care. Online scheduling allows them to easily self-schedule at any time of day. It’s faster, accommodates their schedule and lets them see all available options. Find, confirm, and add directly to a personal calendar with one touch! Sure, this kind of support for consumerism in healthcare can improve satisfaction scores but the impact on outcomes might not be as obvious.

Scale up efficiency
The benefits of online scheduling start to get exciting when looked at from efficiency standpoint. With many clients, we have seen results in 5x improved completion rates, 25% increase referral capture, and an added 3 new patients every month. The truth is, online scheduling is a lot more than just providing a new channel for patients to connect with their healthcare providers. It would be great to grow market share but why not improve quality scores, care coordination and the patient experience while you are it?

On the spot scheduling for consumers is no longer a fringe, side benefit. And when it comes to managing referrals, it’s essential for providers to close gaps in care.

Topics: Care Coordination, Referral Management, Patient Engagement, Self-Scheduling, Physician Shortage, Scheduling, Patient Access, Patient Experience, Consumerism