07 Apr How Will Online Scheduling Benefit to Health Systems in the Next 5 Years?
As today, April 7th, is the World Health Day , I thought it would be the perfect day to write about how healthcare professionals can make the shift to a digital way to interact with their patients thanks to Online Scheduling softwares.
December last year, I came across an Accenture study explaining that by the end of 2019, 66% US health systems will offer online scheduling solutions and 64% of patients will book appointments digitally. This technological trend will also conduct to 38% of self-scheduled appointments, representing around 3.2$ billion for health systems. But why are they so optimistic about it?
Research sets the average time for a patient to complete a scheduling call to 8.1 minutes. Some tests made with our clients showed that booking an appointment online takes about 1’30” minutes including searching the business online, finding the button on the page and going through the scheduling process until confirmation. But the reason why they digitalize their appointments process isn’t only to stop expensive phone calls management. It’s also to get a competitive advantage by offering a new easy and intuitive experience to their patients when it comes to appointment booking.
The 66% of health systems, which chose to implement an online scheduling button, are right because they listen to their patients’ need. Indeed, the report shows that 77% of patients think that the ability to book, change or cancel appointments online is important.
Patients are asking for it. But how many health systems provide online scheduling to their patients in the US?
The Accenture Health report highlights that around 40% of the top 100 US health systems – and 10% of the smaller ones – currently offer the digital scheduling option to patients. All across the US territory, patients only book 2.4% of appointments out of the 11% that could be booked online.
What doctors, dentists or any health professional can expect from the Online Scheduling in terms of benefits?
– Financial and competitive advantages: Patients often search online to get an appointment with a doctor. With such an option, they can complete an appointment request at the same time. This grows patient conversion opportunities.
– Helps maintain customer base: Online Scheduling solutions can offer an integrated CRM like we do. This helps following-up with patients.
– Boosts operational efficiencies. No more phone calls. With the online scheduling, health systems can reduce by 80% the time they spend organizing calls.
– Reduce scheduler capacity and costs and reallocate this investment on patients or facilities.
– Health systems can expand scheduling hours and allow last minute appointments.
– Provides healthcare transparency and patient control. Which improves trust, loyalty and patient satisfaction.
Accenture predicts that by 2019, all the top 100 US health systems will offer the online scheduling solution and 55% for the remaining.
Health professionals will provide their patients with a new seamless patient experience from the appointment booking process through follow-up and even payment. Perhaps they could have access to their online patient record. The future is promising for Health systems. Hope they won’t wait 2019 to make the shift!