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 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.


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!

Getting the School Year Off to a Healthy Start!

Your kids are going back to school! It’s been a wonderful, warm summer hopefully full of relaxation and adventure. But all good things must end and the school year is starting back up. We have a couple of tips to get you and your children ready to go back healthy and happy.

Instill good habits for days at school.

Washing their hands regularly. After using the bathroom, after recess, before eating, make sure children wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. Lots of germs are spread rapidly through schools, especially with the younger grades, so remind them of how important it is. And, if they’re young enough, discuss using warm water, soap and washing for 20 seconds.

Being active. Going from the endless, unrestricted activity that is summer to the highly structured school day can be hard for active children, especially while the weather is still beautiful. Remind children to use their recess and free time wisely – if they don’t have time during school hours, try to make some time after school for them to have unstructured free time.

Trying to choose healthy snacks. It’s easier in the summer to make sure sugary snacks are balanced out with healthy alternatives and activity. However, even if you pack lunches and snacks, you have less of a say in what kind of snacks they might be choosing. Remind them that they’ll feel better, be more focused, and have more energy throughout the day with healthier options.

Wearing their backpack properly. Books are heavy and have to be carried everywhere all day long. Be sure your child’s backpack is fitted properly and that they wear both straps. Learn more about how to do that. Backpacks are a better alternative to messenger bags but if you choose to go with a messenger bag, be sure to switch sides every day.

Keep good habits going at home, too.

Encouraging open communication. The beginning of school can create a lot of anxiety for children because of all the change – new students, new friends, new teachers, new responsibilities. Fostering communication for both good and bad topics will help them adjust.

Keeping bedtime. A good morning starts with a good night’s sleep. Bedtime hours may have been fudged a little over the summer, and may have included a few nights of falling asleep in front of the television. But during the school year, its important to be disciplined about bedtimes to be sure they (and you!) get a good night’s sleep.

Scheduling consciously. At the beginning of the year, there is an endless buffet of fun groups and activities to sign up for, but make sure your eyes aren’t too big for your stomach. It may be hard to pick just one or two things for your kids to commit to, but it’s not worth the nerves and stress of running around with sports equipment, dance shoes, instruments and Girl Scout cookies in the car while kids do homework in the back seat.

Creating a distraction free zone. Speaking of doing homework in the car – that’s an OK idea for sometimes, but shouldn’t be the norm. Choosing an area in the house that has no TV, or other gadgets that might distract them, will help your studious children focus better on homework and studying.


And make sure you’re breathing easy.

Double check the safety of bus and walking routes to school. Make sure you’re familiar with the areas they’re walking, that you know the bus route, or if they’re carpooling, that you know who’s driving. It’s a simple step to take early in the year to give you some peace of mind.

Book all necessary appointments. The most important thing is your child’s health. Before the school year gets in full swing, book any annual check ups, shots/vaccines, physicals, or any other appointments needed to make sure they are fully ready to rock this school year.

We hope that these tips help get your school year off to a great start.

Ready for Summer? Not until you see your dermatologist!


After the rough winter we had this year, bring on the heat, the beach and the sun – but remember your skin needs a little extra TLC during the summer months.

The benefits of the sun are endless; it’s important for the planet and for each of us. Sunbathing helps your body create vitamin D, a vital nutrient for everything from your bones, to your brain to aiding in weight loss. Sun helps your skin heal things like wounds or conditions like acne. It’s been linked to helping with depression and building your immune system. The sun is wonderful and necessary – but as with all good things, you can have too much of it.

There are many easy steps you can take to avoid serious damage to your skin from the sun. To get you started:

  1. Wear a hat whenever possible to protect your face from the sun. Since your face is always exposed, it gets the most damage.
  2. Wear sunscreen and lip balm every day. It’s best to wear it even on cloudy days since the sun can still come through. Many moisturizers and foundations have up to SPF 30 included to help make this even easier.
  3. Since the sun can cause melanoma build up in your eyes, wear UVA-protective sunglasses.
  4. Stay out of the sun from 10-2 if possible. This is the most intense sunlight of the day, so if you need to be outside, be cautious.
  5. Never tan in a tanning bed – this can increase your chances of skin cancer by up to 75%. It’s not worth it.
  6. Moisturize and hydrate. Even when you’re not in the sun, you can take actions to make your skin healthier. Drink your water and moisturize every night before bed!

The best step you can take for healthy skin is to make an appointment with your dermatologist. You stick to your daily dental routine but you wouldn’t skip your bi-annual dentist check up. Similarly, everyone should make their skin and seeing the dermatologist a priority, especially around the summer time. It is recommended that even if you have no skin ailments, you see a dermatologist once a year for a thorough exam.

Dermatologists will check each mole and can give you better, more specific instructions for how to protect your skin. With so many sunscreens and other skin care products on the market, a doctor can help you choose which is best for you. You can also find out which moisturizers are best, what to be on the lookout for and key signs that you need to come back for a check up. Seeing a dermatologist can help with prevention, early detection and recovery, especially for you sun lovers.

So, buy some sunscreen and a hat for the beach, and then book an appointment with your dermatologist today.