Better Slot Utilization is Easier With New Technology. Do it Right. Now.

Tens of millions of people catch as many as a billion colds every year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. So curing the cold would be quite a breakthrough – and scientists say that day may come sooner than you think. Of course, while we are waiting, we know that millions of people will be trying to schedule appointments with their doctors, unsure whether or not the symptoms they are battling are actually something worse. And millions of doctors have unfilled appointment slots that they struggle to fill in an efficient manner. Too often, nobody wins!

So when is the big breakthrough coming in the seemingly simple task of making an appointment to see a doctor?

The good news is that the answer is right now. More and more healthcare providers are using modern methods of making convenient appointment times available to their patients who may be in the throes of “sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching” and – you get the idea.

According to a recent industry report, “by the end of 2019, 66% of US health systems will offer digital self-scheduling and 64% of patients will book appointments digitally”. The study predicted that by 2019, 100% of the 100 largest healthcare delivery systems in the U.S. would offer digital scheduling to patients.

Why are caregivers finally taking this leap forward? A few reasons.

We have the technology! The technology is available to move beyond the 1876 innovation of Alexander Graham Bell. Ring, ring! We can now harness the power of the internet to efficiently connect us all with what we need, when we need it. Simply put, it works. Patients don’t want, nor do they have time, to be on the phone. An Accenture study found that the average healthcare appointment scheduling call is over 8 minutes and a caller is likely to get transferred during the call 63% of the time. Infuriating. And no longer necessary, much of the time.

Power to the Patients! Patients have demanded this change. A recent survey found that 44 percent would choose a doctor that allows them to schedule appointments online. More patients than ever before are voting with their feet, and either switching doctors if we find it hard to make an appointment; or going to rival urgent care centers and other alternatives.

The Bottom Line is the Bottom Line! Healthcare provider organizations lose significant potential revenue when they fail to fill slots. At a conference in New England where Everseat was present, a prominent hospital executive reported that his institution sees 1500 to 2,000 appointment slots wasted every week. Imagine the lost revenue. Some say digital scheduling will mean “$3.2 billion in value and a competitive boost for health systems” and it comes from filling slots.

In one orthopedics group we work with at Everseat, when you call to schedule an appointment and find yourself on hold, you will hear something like this:

“Thank you for calling. Please know that you do not have to wait on hold to make an appointment. You can hang up right now and go straight to our website because we post many of our upcoming open appointment slots right there, powered by Everseat. With a few clicks, you will be able to select an appointment that works for you, or let us know that you want to be alerted as soon as one opens up.”

Who knew something that seems so simple as going online to point and click on a website or a mobile app would pass as a major breakthrough! But it makes things easier and could actually make us all healthier too. And again, the business case speaks for itself. With cold season coming, these are compelling reasons for change – and nothing to sniff at, if you pardon the pun. For healthcare providers, this is serious business.

Now if getting rid of the common cold were only as easy. Here’s hoping that those researchers figure it out soon.

If you are with a healthcare provider organization and would like to learn more about what Everseat can do to maximize schedule utilization for you, please see our website at www.everseat.com for videos and more information. If you are someone who just wants to make getting appointments easier – download the Everseat app and follow the directions right to your next doctor’s visit. Thank you.

Reimbursement Just Got Easier

For healthcare delivery to work, doctors and their colleagues in a wide variety of professions need to get paid for their work. Makes sense, right? The system of properly compensating caregivers is the source of unending consternation and real uncertainty. And patients suffer more than anyone when the payment system doesn’t work well – not an outcome that is acceptable to anyone involved.

One link in the chain that is irrefutably essential is the process of communicating to a provider the precise insurance coverage for which a patient is eligible. For more than a year, we have been asking patients and their families that seek appointments via Everseat to provide their insurance coverage information when they sign up for our free apps on mobile and web platforms.

Starting today, Everseat will give providers real time verification of patients’ eligibility for the coverage they have indicated that they have. This means if you are a provider posting appointments on Everseat, you will be told at the time the appointment is requested whether the stated coverage is in fact up-to-date and accurate; and you will be updated again 24 hours before the appointment occurs. Simply put – this means the doctor gets easier access to reimbursement for the services provided, and the patient gets easier access to care. We are proud to deliver this seamless experience through a technology partnership between PokitDok and the team here at Everseat.

If you are a patient, this is great news for you as well. Know that reliable, timely access to open appointments with the providers you need to see is now even more reliable and timely – and is still at the tip of your fingers – with Everseat.

 

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Patient Access Problems Get Under Her Skin—Everseat Sits Down with Boston Dermatologist Dr. Emmy Graber

Memorial Day weekend is here and that means more sun and more time exposing your skin to its pleasing but also potentially harmful rays. In fact, May is Melanoma Awareness Month and a good time to reflect on the challenge of getting an appointment with a dermatologist – not an easy task.

A survey of 7,499 patients who saw U.S. dermatologists from 2011-2012 found that 31% of patients reported a problem with scheduling their appointment. Of those who had an appointment problem, 47% said it took too long to get an appointment.

Cities across the United States consistently show long wait times for getting dermatology appointments. According to the Commonwealth Fund, the average wait time for a dermatology appointment in Philadelphia is 47 days; in Minneapolis the average wait time is 56 days; and in Boston, it is 72 days.

Everseat asked highly regarded Boston Dermatologist Dr. Emmy Graber for her perspective on the challenge of patient access in dermatology. The following are our questions and her answers, edited only for clarity.

Are you familiar with the phenomenon in dermatology of long waits for new patient appointments?

Oh yes! Absolutely. I frequently get complaints from patients that they have had to wait weeks and often months to see a dermatologist. Not only do I hear this from patients but also from primary care physicians who want to refer patients to a dermatologist. A primary care physician might see a rash or a lesion that he or she thinks needs attention from a dermatologist but can’t find a dermatologist that has any openings for months. It is frustrating both for patients and for primary care physicians.

What do you think is contributing to this trend?

There is an increasing demand for dermatologists. As the public becomes more educated about skin cancer, patients are looking to dermatologists for skin examinations to catch and treat any suspicious lesions. Years ago not as many people went to the dermatologist for preventative services like skin checks. Today many people have a dermatologist that they see regularly for skin cancer screenings. It is great that more people are aware of the need for preventative screenings but it also increases demand for dermatologists and thereby increases the wait for an appointment. The resulting delay can be especially problematic for those that have an acute problem such as a rash or painful growth that needs to be treated immediately.

What kinds of innovations are you seeing in the field to expand access to the care of dermatologists?

I see two main types of innovations geared towards those seeking the attention of dermatologists. First, there are scheduling innovations. These may be in the form of apps such as Everseat, that can help people find an available appointment. By using the app, a patient can easily see what office in their area has an opening without having to call each individual office. Second, teledermatology is an innovation that enables patients to get dermatologic care without visiting a dermatologist. Patients send photos of their skin to a dermatologist who can then review the images and remotely instruct the patient on the best course of action.

How are you choosing to differentiate your practice from others that patients can choose from, and how will you make sure they can get in to see you?

I strive to create a convenient, enjoyable experience for all of our patients and I want this positive experience to start even before a patient steps in the door. To that end, we aim to be as accessible as possible. I have tailored our office hours to accommodate early risers who want to come in before work or school and also have evening hours and lunchtime appointments. Patients can find us through the Everseat app to get an appointment at a moment’s notice.

For our existing patients, we have a patient portal so that they can communicate with us via email without having to call into the office with questions or concerns. In the next few months we are rolling out a telemedicine initiative so that we can advise patients who can’t physically get to our office. Many people do not think that going to a doctor’s office is a pleasant experience and I am trying to change that. The whole experience starts with booking an appointment and I want to make it a seamless, easy process.

Dr. Emmy Graber is the founder and President of the Dermatology Institute of Boston. She is a former Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine where she was Director of the BU Cosmetic and Laser at Boston Medical Center. Visit www.DermBoston.com for additional information.

To book an appointment with a dermatologist, or another type of provider, check out available appointments on app.everseat.com.

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Caring for Baby Boomers in the Digital Age—What Role do Healthcare Apps Play?

We all know baby boomers are aging. They are getting older in a time when there are more and more simple digital tools available to their caregivers every day. You might be surprised that in U.S. households that have broadband, where 76% own a smartphone, less than 40% of caregivers use an app to assist with care-giving tasks.

A new study from Parks Associates shares this finding, and attributes the relatively low overall utilization rate to the simple fact that caregivers above a certain age don’t use apps as much as their younger counterparts. This is a present challenge to app adoption – but aging itself ought to take care of it, given that adults between the ages of 18 and 24 are currently only 28% of the caregiver population but account for half of the app users (according to Parks).

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Parks has a very clear prescription: the makers and marketers of consumer healthcare apps need to develop outreach and training programs that will attract the largest cohort of caregivers – those between 45 and 54 years of age. Twenty-seven percent of caregivers fall in this age-range, but they make up only 16% of the app users.

Earlier this year, Becker’s compiled a list of 40 helpful apps for physicians and consumers to know. Everseat was glad to be listed for helping patients and their caregivers get the appointments they need without needing to call the doctor’s office.

Other tools useful for caregivers on the Becker’s List include Amwell for telehealth visits, Pillpack and Medisafe for ease of filling prescriptions and managing a schedule for taking medications according to doctor’s orders, and Twine for supporting chronic disease patients by integrating their wearable tech devices into a stream of data their caregivers and physicians can put to use.

In short – there are many apps available and more all the time. As for the long-term future of app usage by caregivers, Aditi Pai of Mobihealthnews reports that according to Parks Associates Senior Director of Research Harry Wang, “Consumers in the 35-44 age range are a key bracket,” he said. “Those currently at this age will bring apps with them as they take on more caregiver responsibilities for their aging parents. At the same time, younger consumers will age into this segment, and these millennials will lean heavily on mobile and connected technologies as they prepare to tackle caregiver challenges in their families.”

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Fast Care Nation: Is Convenience King in Healthcare?

Fast Care Nation: Is Convenience King in Healthcare?

Now more than ever, patients expect and covet convenience from their healthcare providers, alongside quality of care and privacy. This is especially true among younger patients, who have become accustomed to on-demand access to all kinds of goods and services, thanks to web platforms ranging from Amazon.com to Open Table. In fact, patients under 40 are almost 50 percent more likely to not even have an ongoing relationship with a primary-care physician, relying almost exclusively on walk-in clinics and other nontraditional modes of primary-care delivery.

Is the focus on convenience good for patients? That depends on many factors. But the phenomenon is here to stay. And many hospitals and practices are coming to understand that inconvenient scheduling is increasingly a competitive challenge. Yet what many don’t realize is that it is also a factor in whether your existing patients will even show up for their scheduled appointments. Truth be told, I have no-showed at my own doctor’s office more than once. A simple phone call would have been nice, and I am not proud of being so inconsiderate. My experience and a little data tells me that I am not alone. One survey of patients who skipped their appointments at a large genetics practice, for example, found that “too busy” and “forgot” were the two most-common reasons given. And the longer patients have to wait for an appointment, the more likely they are to miss it.

Why is convenience rising in importance for patients? And what can you do to make your practice more accessible?

Walk-in clinics are becoming more common
They’re springing up everywhere: retail clinics associated inside big box stores and in freestanding pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens. And there are more to come: big retail pharmacies are investing more heavily in their retail clinic business, spurred by lessening profitability in the sale of medications, which means your competition for patients could be increasing. Indeed, CVS projects operating 1,500 clinic outlets by 2017.

Adding to the allure of visiting a retail clinic is the fact that many publish their prices for certain services outright on their websites — Target lists “convenient same-day care” by a nurse practitioner or physicians’ assistant for “treatment for minor illnesses” at between $79–$89.

And even though these clinics don’t claim to replace primary-care providers, the fact is that many patients simply find them more convenient for minor day-to-day issues, especially if they can’t get in to see you on short notice.

Americans feel more rushed than ever
With Gallup reporting that employed Americans adults work, on average, nearly six days a week, it should come as no surprise that we feel more rushed than ever before.

In fact, American moms, who make most healthcare decisions for their families, report having just 36 minutes of free time per day. With time this strapped across the board among parents and non-parents, full-time and part-time workers, it’s easy to understand why the need for convenience in all things, healthcare included, has risen in recent years.

So, knowing that patients want convenience, particularly as the out-of-pocket cost of healthcare continues to go up and people are feeling more and more rushed, what can you do to make your practice more convenient?

  • Put the power to book and reschedule appointments in patients’ hands. Self-scheduling is set to explode in the coming years. As many as 64 percent of patients will book appointments digitally by the end of 2019. Offering the ability to use a smartphone or tablet to jump in line to see the doctor — and to be notified immediately when an appointment is available — will help patients feel more in control, and that care is more accessible.
  • Keep track of repeat no-shows. These patients are inflating the wait time to see the doctor for everyone else. Track who often doesn’t show up or cancels at the last minute, and consider charging them (us!) for missed appointments or deploying a software solution like Smart Scheduling, for example.
  • Dedicate an hour of the schedule each day to walk-ins. By quarantining time in the regular schedule each day or week and advertising this time to patients as open for walk-ins, you let patients know that they have an option outside of visiting the ER or a retail clinic.

Now, more than ever, convenience is important to Americans in seeking health care. Coupled with accessibility of the doctor, digital services, and good communication, ease of getting an appointment is becoming more and more important to patients. Convenience may not be king all on its own but it has definitely taken a prominent seat at the table.

To learn more about putting the power to book appointments in your patients’ hands and making your practice more convenient, contact Everseat.

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The Power of Partnerships: Transforming Healthcare Scheduling and Access

The idea of patient centered scheduling has arrived. Of course, many courageous advocates and innovative leaders have been there for decades. But a convergence of factors is giving the concept its best opportunity yet to become simply the way we all get the care we need, when we need it. There is no doubt that providers are holding the cards right now. There is also no doubt that no one party in the complex health care system can make this transition alone. It will take the power of partnerships.

A recent report by the Institute of Medicine has validated the argument that there ought to be one place any of us can go to get easy access to all of the providers that we rely on for our health care.

Not sure about this yet? Think about it this way:

The IOM report is titled: Transforming Healthcare Scheduling and Access: Getting to Now. It was requested by the Veterans Administration in response to the widely reported scandal involving scheduling delays that negatively affected the healthcare of more than 100,000 U.S. military veterans.

Among the IOM report’s Findings and Recommendations:

  • Healthcare in the U.S. must be “patient-centered care” and “timely.”
  • The consequences of our antiquated scheduling system include “negative effects on health outcomes.”
  • One of the causes of harmful scheduling delays in our current system is that it is built on “provider-focused scheduling” and not “patient-centered scheduling.”

What if, instead of using Open Table, all restaurants just told their patrons to look for table reservation times on their websites? Not a bad start, but not very helpful either. That’s how we feel about the tremendous progress represented by patient portals and better provider web sites. It is a step in the right direction but can you imagine managing your family’s care by juggling 5, 6 or 7 different provider portals or mobile apps? Good but not nearly good enough.

Here on Everseat’s blog – the Hot Seat – we will continue writing about ideas in “patient centered scheduling” that leading researchers, thinkers, patients and providers all over the country are developing. We are proud to partner with many of them.

This week we are pleased to announce the launch of our partnership with athenahealth and its “More Disruption Please” (MDP) program. Together, our two companies will work to connect athenahealth’s growing network of more than 67,000 health care providers with the capabilities of Everseat to offer patients easier scheduling access and real-time notifications about open appointments.athenahealth_logo-color

We look forward to working with any patient, provider or practice management organization on making people healthier by making patient access easier.

Thanks to our partners at athenahealth, we will be working with more providers and patients than ever. We look forward to helping everyone get better results.

Read more about Everseat’s partnership with athenahealth and about our capabilities that could make a difference for your practice or for your family.

Don’t Just Sit There! Do Something!

Every so often researchers find data that enlightens us profoundly and at the same time ruins some of our favorite pleasures. Chinese food, cheeseburgers – maybe we should have known they were not great for our bodies. Now we are learning that we can’t even afford to sit down — at least not for too long. U.S. News recently reported that “mounting evidence suggests that those who spend hours with little movement are at higher risk for developing blood clots, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and a constellation of other maladies fueled by insufficient physical activity.”

And guess who is not exempt from this diagnosis? People who exercise vigorously and regularly. group_running_cropped

Really? You could be forgiven for doubting, but the surprising conclusion is that even super fit sitters are at risk from the biochemical effects of being sedentary for continuous periods of time if they routinely sit still for more than an hour, research says.

There is an answer. Get up and move around every hour. US News indicates that a 2015 study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology recommends two minutes of exercise per hour of sitting to reduce the chance of death by one third!

What other good ideas do they have for us?

  • Count your steps – Try an innovative wearable or even a simple pedometer!
  • Just move it – Even mild exercise that breaks up sitting spells is a big help.
  • Ping yourself – A reminder from your watch or smart-phone is a great idea.

Cardiologist Edward J. Teufel, MD has a few other ideas on how to avoid the sitting disease:

“Get up and move at least once an hour, and walk at lunchtime.  There are even some companies that are providing employees with ‘walking desks’ which is basically a standing level desk with a treadmill in front of it that allows you to walk while you are working!  Another idea is to put a set of pedals under the desk (which are available at medical supply stores, often used for physical therapy) and pedal while sitting. I think it is up to employers as well to make accommodations for their workers to prevent these issues.  It will benefit them in the long run to have healthier employees.”

The upshot: Don’t give up on plain old diet and exercise as secrets to a healthy life, experts say; but whatever you do or don’t do for exercise, get up and move around for two minutes every hour. And put simple personal technology to use to keep you on track!

The Patient Will Indeed See You Now – If You Really See The Patient

In the United States, the public still puts more trust in nurses and doctors than in any other two professions. But the patience of patients trying to get an appointment is wearing thin. We all know the feeling of relief upon hearing the words, “the doctor will see you now” but thought leader, physician and author Eric Topol stood those familiar words on their head in the title of his recently published book in order to make his point. The Patient Will See You Now, is a book he wrote to shed light on how the doctor-patient relationship is getting better for everyone involved, thanks to…smartphones.

Dr. Topol believes that mobile technology puts patients in the driver’s seat and can both save lives and dramatically improve lifestyles. As a physician he also knows that updating their way of doing business is very good for practice management and patient satisfaction.

There are many apps to enhance chronic care. Physician ratings sites are available at the tip of a finger. Telehealth has arrived too, bringing the exam itself right into the palm of your hand. Scheduling is joining the category and has much to contribute.

In The Patient Will See You Now, Dr. Topol acknowledges that scheduling appointments is one of many categories where a patient has long been expected to accommodate the needs and norms of a busy doctor and his or her office. Consider the original 1847 Code of Ethics of the American Medical Association, which Dr. Topol quotes from in the book’s first chapter:

“[p]atients should .. avoid calling on their medical adviser unnecessarily during the hours devoted to meals or sleep. They should always be in readiness to receive the visits of their physician, as the detention of a few minutes is often serious inconvenience for him.”

There is a growing consensus that getting a convenient appointment simply has to be made easier, given the computing and communication power most of us are holding in one hand. Serious studies including a June 2015 report from the Institute of Medicine are placing the blame for delays in access to care on scheduling systems that benefit providers more than they do patients.

Study after study about smartphones shows that almost everyone has one, and we almost always have them by our side. And smartphones may be the first technology to truly cross the digital divide, reaching equally high levels of penetration in traditionally underserved communities.

Why not tackle the challenge of scheduling appointments via smartphone if we are already using this technology to improve efficiency in so many other parts of our lives?

If you are developing a smartphone scheduling innovation agenda for your practice, clinic or institution, here are three things to think about while you finish Dr. Topol’s thoughtful book:

  1. Don’t just put an appointment booking tool on your website (even if it has a mobile format option). After all, that merely carries the same old relationship and dynamic over to the internet and fails to turn the new technology into an opportunity for real improvement.
  2. Think about allowing a patient to indicate the times she or he is available, and let your office respond rather than doing it the other way around? If the result is you are seeing more patients and seeing them at times more closely tied to the needs of their health, everyone is going to be pretty happy.
  3. Don’t go it alone. There are discussions emerging among all of your professional groups about how to tackle the future of scheduling. Get connected to the conversation.

There are many new terms for this kind of thinking. Participatory care and patient-centric care are two you will see increasingly.  Find the language that works for you and make it a part of your practice. Maybe you like the nice ring that Dr. Topol’s turn of phrase has: “the patient will see you now.”

Yellow Lines on a Hedgehog; or How Healthcare Innovators Can Win the Future

hedgehog_roadThere is an expectation in our culture right now that healthcare providers can be better, cheaper, faster, safer, more empathetic, more equitable and more efficient.

Tall order. What will it take to make such a fundamental set of shifts from the status quo? Or, to paraphrase an expression used by U.S. President Barack Obama, what will it take for healthcare innovators to win the future?

Health technology leaders gathered in Chicago this week for a summit facilitated by Becker’s Review. Billed as a “CIO/HIT Summit”, the event played out as a series of conversations in which peers shared their experiences, vented their frustrations, and talked about the kinds of strategies, tools and partnerships that will help healthcare providers get better.

Senior executives from world-leading institutions like the Stanford and University of Chicago medical centers participated, and leaders with highly-regarded regional medical centers like the University of Mississippi, Christus Health, Children’s Hospital of Colorado, and the Heart Hospital Baylor Plano in Texas made up the majority of those on more than 25 expert panels. Allscripts, Inc. CEO Paul Black brought a critical perspective on a panel as well and there were numerous players with insights about mobile technology including Everseat co-founders Dr. Brian Kaplan and CEO Jeff Peres.

When professional conferences are at their best, there is a real exchange of ideas in addition to exchange of business cards, and a sense of common rather than competing interests emerges. That spirit of co-creation is the basis of beginning to feel like real change is possible, and like true innovation might actually occur. The following are three themes that came through loud and clear in Chicago at the Summit:

(1)    The time may really be arriving to put patients first.

Cynics may not believe it but leaders in the provider community understand perhaps better than ever that they need to put patients first. As our own co-founder Dr. Brian Kaplan puts it, “The entire healthcare industry has been focused on how the players communicate with each other. A 180 degree shift is underway in which the focus will be on how we connect with our patients.”

(2)    Mobile technology is about to explode and will touch everything.

Remember when a website was just a website? The CIO of a large health system observed that 2016 will be for mobile what 1996 was for the internet itself. The mobile revolution will not just take place inside the hospital. It may happen even more rapidly in the relationship between provider and patient, simply because patients will demand it.

(3)    Leadership means partnership.

The rapid pace of change means no organization can manage its way forward without strategic, durable partnerships. There is a robust community of innovative organizations that see technology as a way to make people healthier. You can afford to specialize if you have partners whose specialties complement your own.

Yale New Haven Medical Center’s Chief Information Officer Daniel Barchi made everyone laugh with the photo of a freshly painted double yellow line that runs right over the carcass of fresh road-kill, probably a hedgehog. Barchi warned against the kind of narrow thinking that can hold back progress and make us do some pretty stupid things. Barchi was talking of course about the line painting crew, but none of us wants to be the hedgehog either.

You Say ‘Patient’ and I Say ‘Consumer’ – Either Way, We Both Want Convenience

What do you call a person seeking care from a health professional these days? Some say patient, and others say consumer. Either way, one thing is true: when we need to see a doctor, one thing we really want is convenience.

New public policy efforts and the efforts of entrepreneurial thinkers are changing the game on the convenience issue already. We have more choices than we used to, and it is undeniable that as patients, we are becoming better consumers, looking for providers who will meet a range of needs we have and not just treat our ailment.

Should we wait for a regular check-up to get a doctor’s advice? Or should we track our own health indicators and review our own records with one of the many devices bloggers Todd Hixon and Neil Versel have been writing about in Forbes?

Should we go to a minute clinic at the mall or visit the emergency room at a hospital?

Should we take the “next available appointment” or shop around for the magic words: “the doctor will see you now?”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta wrote an entire column last year with advice on how to get in to see your doctor sooner. His prescription? Convey urgency, be thorough, get a referral, and ask questions.

I would not dare disagree with Dr. Gupta. Still, the patient/customer is craving a more efficient solution without having to grovel. And let’s face it: most of us don’t even want to have to call the doctor’s office at all. There is no doubt that physicians and their all-important office staffers would like to get off the phone too. They have work piling up and patients right there in front of them who need their attention.

According to Pew Research Center, 64% of adults in the United States have smart-phones, and if you are a provider not primarily treating people above age 65, the percentage in your patient population may be much higher. As patients and as consumers, we need the option of using personal technology that helps us get in to see the doctor as soon as possible when that is what we think we need to do.

Healthcare innovators and entrepreneurs will keep making it easier for all of us to get timely access to quality care. The rest of us can contribute by asking our providers to invest in technology tools that improve our experience whether we think of ourselves as patients or consumers. Either way, we can all be advocates for greater convenience as part of a better patient experience. Be polite but tell them we need it in a hurry.