We live in an era where we can book everything online – from our holidays, dining out, to ordering a taxi.  The dawn of healthcare consumerism is also changing our expectations and desires in the way we approach and access care. It is not surprising than that healthcare consumers’ today look for fast, convenient and online ways to interact and quickly book appointments with their healthcare providers.   

In today’s highly competitive healthcare landscape, we must remember that a healthcare organization’s brand name is one part of this consumer engagement puzzle. To remain competitive, healthcare organizations also need innovative ways to retain and differentiate their patient experience. Providing online patient self-scheduling solutions is one way healthcare organizations can leverage digital innovation to ensure they remain competitive and don’t get left behind.

Driven by technology, healthcare consumerism is empowering patients to take more charge of their health. Online patient scheduling enables greater access and more information transparency throughout the patient experience. As a result, appointment booking online is no longer simply appointment booking.  It is instead a space where patient consumers shop for the best care available. As such, healthcare organizations must leverage the ability to self-schedule as a critical patient acquisition tool before it’s too late.

Here are the top three reasons why online patient scheduling is so important for your digital health strategy, and embracing healthcare consumerism:

1) Healthcare consumerism drives online scheduling

In a recent survey by Black Book, reported that 83% of consumers (patients) polled will seek providers that offer four fundamental technologies in demand: digital scheduling, online payment options, portal and engagement capabilities, and results reporting tools. Furthermore, consumers report a confidence that advanced technology is available to engage them with digital provider tools (93%), as well as offer a variety of virtual access points (85%), online scheduling (97%), online payment options (92%), and/or provide price transparency (94%). However, only 9% of the collective providers reported the ability to offer these consumer demands successfully in the  Black Book 2018 survey of hospitals and physicians.

Clearly, online appointment scheduling provides a huge opportunity for health systems to better interact with their healthcare consumers. Yet, healthcare organizations are still not fully realizing this opportunity.  

2) Digital solutions drive patient loyalty

In Accenture’s recent digital health consumer survey, expectations for digital capabilities are rising year on year!  In fact, in 2019 68% of patients said they will choose medical providers who provide the digital capability to book/change/cancel appointments online versus 58% in 2016.  The need to provide digital solutions is more pronounced than ever for millennials and generation Z.

As the younger population ages, this need to provide online scheduling solutions will exponentially increase, as new tech-savvy generations are born.  Online scheduling solutions provide an opportunity for healthcare organizations to capture this growing demand whilst maintaining patient loyalty.

3) Patients want frictionless healthcare

Patients and consumers are busy, juggling multiple schedules from home and work.  As a result, fewer and fewer patients today accept a healthcare experience marked by inconvenience and frustration. To create a convenient experience, healthcare organizations must eliminate any unnecessary friction during patient interactions when booking appointments.  Whether it be before, during or after the appointment, online scheduling solutions can enable this frictionless experience.

For example, using Odoro’s digital patient access platform, patients can now self-schedule easily out-of-hours through multiple channels, whether it be via the organization’s website, texting, chatbot, or Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) software for the less tech savvy patient.  This means healthcare organizations can engage with the healthcare consumer, as they desire from that very first interaction, to improve patient acquisition and retention.

It is clear that online appointment scheduling represents a huge opportunity to meet increasing consumer demand. Adding online patient scheduling will help healthcare organizations improve operational efficiency, by quickly helping fill same-day appointments and reducing workload on staff.  Most importantly, it ensures healthcare organizations remain competitive and don’t get left behind!

If you would like to learn more about how Odoro’s enterprise-wide patient access platform can help you leverage digital innovation through online appointment scheduling, please contact us.

About Dikla Ranen

Dikla Ranen is the co-founder and COO of Odoro – a leader in digital patient access solutions for health systems. Over the last 20 years, Dikla has held senior sales, business development and customer success roles in both the digital health and hi-tech sector. Working at the forefront of the changing digital patient access landscape for the past 10 years, she understands first-hand the challenges and issues facing health systems. To learn more about sector best-practices and how latest digital innovation strategies are being used to improve the patient experience, please message with Dikla on Linkedin.