Read Kyruus’ 2023 Care Access Benchmark Report for Healthcare Organizations

By: Kait Hogan on September 23rd, 2021

Print/Save as PDF

Closing the Online Scheduling Gap: Top 3 Opportunities for Health Systems

Patient Engagement | Online Scheduling | Digital Access

blog stock image

Health systems have made significant strides to boost patient acquisition and satisfaction by creating a modern digital access experience. However, Kyruus’ recent assessment of the Top 20 US News and World Report Hospitals revealed that, among other key digital access offerings, many of our nation’s top health systems are lacking flexible online scheduling options.

The assessment showed that only 40% of the top health systems currently offer online scheduling for new patients despite the fact that 40% of all healthcare consumers – and 60% of millennials and Gen Xers – now say they prefer to book online. Here are three ways health systems can have the biggest impact in closing the gap between what options they offer today and what consumers are seeking:

1. Offer opportunities for new patients to schedule appointments within your organization’s find-a-provider, including virtual visits.

The demand for convenient scheduling options continues to grow and can play a role in where patients ultimately choose to obtain their care. What’s more, with the acceleration of virtual care adoption during the pandemic, the interest in online booking has also extended to virtual care visits. However, while 54% of consumers say they’d prefer to book virtual visits online, our assessment showed that only 35% of the top health systems offered virtual visit scheduling within their find-a-provider. Making access to providers easier by offering online scheduling is a key first step in any online scheduling program and should ideally cover both in-person and virtual care appointments.

2. Enable online scheduling opportunities for additional sites of care and services.

Only 10% of the top hospitals offered online scheduling opportunities for other sites of care and services such as vaccine, urgent care, and imaging appointments. But according to reports such as this CVS Health Care Insights Study, patients are showing increasing interest in healthcare resources beyond traditional care settings. With 76% of health systems concerned about emerging competition from organizations like UnitedHealth Group/Optum, CVS/Aetna, and Amazon according to this report from KaufmanHall, health systems will need to boost convenience for patients. Expanding the types of appointments available for online scheduling to include a wider variety of care settings and services can foster a more consumer-centric search experience and help patients find convenient care online.

3. Surface real-time appointment availability for consumers.

A full 85% of survey respondents from our 2020 Patient Access Journey Report reported that appointment availability was extremely or very important when selecting a new provider. Yet only one of the top 20 US hospitals surfaced appointment availability through an unauthenticated online scheduling experience in our assessment. Surfacing appointment availability during the search process – in your find-a-provider and within individual provider profiles – streamlines the scheduling experience for consumers and helps drive higher conversion rates. It can also provide a meaningful “steppingstone” on the path towards launching a complete offering for online scheduling.

To learn more about key opportunities for health systems to engage patients most effectively online, download your copy of The State of Digital Patient Access: A Look at How the Top 20 US Health Systems Enable Consumers to Find and Schedule Care Online today.