02/09/2018 in Blog
Online appointment scheduling has become an expectation for healthcare consumers in the digital age. A recent study into patient engagement by Accenture estimates, “by the end of 2019, 66% of US health systems will offer digital self-scheduling and 64% of patients will book appointments digitally, delivering $3.2 billion in value and a competitive boost for health systems.”
When exploring consumers’ perceptions about making an appointment with a physician, Healthgrades revealed important insights about their expectations for convenience and quick access. For instance:
Consumers would trade the convenience of having a physician nearby (32%) for the convenience of online scheduling (67%) by more than two-to-one.
Almost one-third of consumers see physicians that offer online appointment scheduling as more appealing, and note that this offering would increase their likelihood of making an appointment.
Consumers who use online scheduling tend to be younger, better educated, and schedule more appointments for themselves and others.
When choosing an online scheduling partner, it’s important to consider the capabilities, functionality, and available integrations with your current software. Ideally, an online appointment scheduling system would sync with a practice management system and would offer a prospect patient the available times for each provider. Sometimes, there are difficulties with software integrations, and the staff has to manually enter the requested appointment into the practice management system’s schedule. This creates frustrations in the event that the requested time is unavailable, and both the staff and the prospective patient spend time following-up and working through the schedule, eliminating the convenience of online booking.
Fortunately, Healthgrades is working to integrate online appointment scheduling solutions with major healthcare technology providers to sync schedules and appointment information. Most recently, Healthgrades teamed up with Allscripts to connect our online appointment scheduling solutions with Allscripts clinical scheduling software. This will allow providers using Allscripts to provide real-time booking for patients on Healthgrades.com, seamlessly syncing schedules and appointment information.
“In order to be relevant and accessible to consumers, hospitals and health systems must provide the ability for patients to schedule appointments beyond their own website,” said Nabeel Meghji, Senior Vice President, Product Management, Healthgrades. “On the backend, when appointment scheduling solutions integrate seamlessly with systems that hospitals and health systems are already using, staff members save time and resources and can connect patients and providers more quickly.”