The ability to compare and follow through on booking has transformed travel and hospitality. Now, it’s about to transform healthcare through online patient scheduling.
We have all grown accustomed to researching and evaluating options online and seamlessly making decisions regarding purchases, reservations, and appointments.
Not only do we expect instant access to information that informs us, but thanks to Amazon, we expect to have it by tomorrow when we order it today.
These kinds of changes are coming for healthcare, and they promise to improve access, promote convenience, and make healthcare more efficient for everyone involved.
The Need for Online Patient Scheduling
According to a Stax Inc. study, 83% of consumers are familiar with online scheduling, mostly through travel and restaurant websites. For 35% of those consumers, online scheduling is a major deciding factor when choosing among competing options.
Healthcare’s technology has not kept up with these expectations. In fact, Blockit was founded because we did not see the robust online-booking solutions found in other industries. As a result, nearly 85% of consumers still schedule doctor’s appointments by phone and then conduct all the silly paper-based form filling associated with that appointment.
Complexity, lack of transparency, siloed provider systems, privacy concerns, and lack of effective technology have contributed to the lack of adoption. However, I am thrilled that our platform is creating a proven opportunity for healthcare providers.
The Benefits of Online Patient Scheduling
Consistent with my view on healthcare providers needing to focus on Leakage, Keepage, Gettage, and Cost, online scheduling can be a differentiator that allows practices to keep and get more patients while also improving operational costs. The study found that about 80% of patients prefer a physician who offers online scheduling across both primary care and specialist physicians. In fact, nearly 60% of doctor’s appointments are now booked outside of office hours. The other 40% are taxing on staff and costly.
The patients who most prefer online scheduling book more appointments for themselves and others and tend to be younger, more affluent, and higher-educated.
When given a choice between physicians with similar experience, proximity, availability, and patient satisfaction ratings, the vast majority of consumers (81% for PCPs, and 77% for specialists) chose the physician who provides online scheduling. This finding is also consistent with the experiences of Blockit’s clients. Online scheduling also makes physicians more competitive. According to the study, consumers will choose to see providers who are farther away but have online scheduling by a 2-to-1 margin over those who are closer and do not.
More than a Technological Change is Needed
As providers shift to online scheduling, it is critical that we ensure that high tech adds to high touch. Providers must understand how to best communicate change, cancellation, and no-show policies to patients. They also need to offer pre-registration, send reminders, and manage over the counter collections all within the online scheduling experience.
This is another valuable opportunity to engage with the patient base and deliver a full and convenient experience. Improving patient engagement in this way can help reduce no-shows by as much as 25%.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that adding online scheduling to the care continuum is no longer a nice to have. It’s a must-have.
As Blockit continues to make healthcare easier for everyone, our online appointment scheduling experience represents a proven opportunity to meet increasing demand while decreasing resources.
If you’re ready to improve the patient and provider experience through online scheduling, contact us today.
Dave Gregorio is the Chief Customer Officer at Blockit and the author of the Purpose Quotient®, a nationally recognized framework for Organizational Development. A 30 year healthcare industry professional with a passion for people, Dave is the founder of the Heroes to Healthcare mission and CEO of ImPowerQ Associates LLC.