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.