By: John Evers on June 28th, 2022
Providers are Onboard with Online Scheduling: What Healthcare Organizations Should Do Now.
The rise of healthcare consumerism, growing demands for convenient self-service options, and the pandemic all contributed to a perfect storm of consumer needs that pushed healthcare organizations to accelerate their digital roadmaps. That’s why Kyruus recently revisited its 2019 survey of 200 providers to find out their thoughts on digital access today—and to learn how their perspectives have changed over time.
Offering Online Scheduling is the New Norm
The most significant change in provider thinking centers on utilization and interest in online scheduling. More than two-thirds of providers now report that consumers can schedule appointments with them on their healthcare organization’s public-facing website. This is a sharp contrast to 2019 when two-thirds said online scheduling was not available.
Even more noteworthy is providers’ skyrocketing interest in online scheduling, with 96% expressing interest in this capability—a jump of 30 percentage points over the past 3 years. And virtually all of the providers surveyed said they recognize at least one benefit of online scheduling for patients, with a growing number seeing benefits for their office staff as well.
Interest in Online Scheduling Spans Appointment Types and Digital Channels
Providers today want to enable online scheduling for a range of appointment types, with established patient and ancillary services (e.g., imaging, labs, vaccines) appointments topping the list. Nearly half say virtual care appointments are also good candidates for online scheduling.
Consistent with their desire to maintain a cross-channel digital presence, providers want to enable online scheduling from their organizations’ find-a-provider website, virtual assistant/chatbot, and mobile apps as well as from third-party sites (e.g., Healthgrades, ZocDoc, Vitals, Doximity), health plan directories, and Google.
Providers Who are Hesitant About Online Scheduling May Need Some TLC
Clearly the momentum for online scheduling is moving in the right direction for healthcare organizations. However, it is still a concern for some providers who believe online scheduling, when not done right, may negatively impact their practice financially and/or operationally. Here are three tips to help overcome provider hesitancy and increase adoption of online scheduling across the organization:
- Communicate the strategy: Give providers a sight line into your digital strategies, including online scheduling, so they understand key objectives and know that they are an important part of the success of these initiatives.
- Share success stories: Reach out to hesitant providers to understand and address their concerns. Sharing the positive experiences of other providers who offer online scheduling can inspire confidence through real-life proof points.
- Offer a flexible roadmap: Offer guidance to help providers get started with online scheduling. Encourage them to start with a subset of appointment types to gain experience and comfort with the process.
Download Provider Perspectives on Digital Access, 2022 Edition to find out what providers think about their digital presence in both internal and third-party channels, their new-found respect for online scheduling, and what tools are helping them mitigate workforce shortages.