Today, you can do almost anything from your phone or computer with ease. From scheduling a hair appointment to buying tickets with reserved seats for the latest blockbuster, businesses are making it easier for customers to schedule appointments on their own time. But have you ever tried to book a doctor’s appointment online?
While the healthcare industry has lagged in the adoption of self-scheduling technology it looks like 2019 is the year that practices and health systems will embrace this technology. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2019, 100 percent of the top 100 health systems will have a self-scheduling solution by years end, and it’s easy to see why.
With self-scheduling technology, patients can schedule their healthcare appointments online, via mobile device or computer anytime, day or night. This shift in scheduling offers benefits for both patient and provider that increase the quality of care and patient experience.
In the past, business hours, phone scheduling, and office location have all played into patients missing appointments or not making them at all. With self-scheduling software, business hours no longer restrict patients from making appointments after the normal 5 p.m. cutoff. In fact, a recent study by Accenture found that 43% of self-scheduled appointments are booked after hours.
“Health systems and physician practices want the ability to put resources on all of these priorities, but the reality is that there simply aren’t enough people most of the time,” said Ginny Shipp, Product Specialist at Relatient, with over 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry specializing in technology.
Using self-scheduling technology, patients can see the next available appointment at any time, but it also saves staff valuable phone time. “Staff will be free to take on higher level tasks, like interacting with the customers in front of them,” said Shipp.
In rural areas, it can be difficult for patients to attend their appointments due to transportation and travel time. Self-scheduling gives patients the ability to view multiple appointment slots and choose a date and time that works best for them to commute. This reduces no-shows and allows staff to dedicate their time to the patients at the office.
The Accenture study also found that while only 17 percent of providers are using self-scheduling today, that number will increase to 64 percent by 2019, which patients will come to expect. Self-scheduling software not only allows for better patient access with hours of operation and appointment visibility no longer an issue but also alleviates workload from over-extended medical staff.
“Just being able to say you offer this puts you more on the cutting edge of engagement,” said Shipp. By implementing a self-scheduling platform, providers will engage patients, increase the quality and availability of care, and reduce stress on their staff.
To learn more about the benefits of self-scheduling, read this eBook.