Self-Scheduling for “Healthcare” and Beyond
August 22, 2019
The ability to self-schedule a doctor’s appointment online is becoming more common. While certainly not widespread, there is a growing contingency of providers with some form of the technology. Looking ahead, self-scheduling will become a vital component of access as consumer demand for flexibility and convenience disrupts the market.
What is important to note, however, is that most self-scheduling offerings available today are only for primary care. That is because most scheduling technologies lack the technical sophistication to incorporate the business rules and scheduling rules of various specialists, imaging machines, and other tertiary healthcare services. So, in many cases, the result is that only the primary care providers have online scheduling – and everything else is stuck in the past!
To truly harness this technology to improve the health of consumers, the same self-service capabilities need to be extended across all the services a healthcare organization can provide -and even beyond that! Below are a few areas we’ve started expanding into with our customers, and, rest-assured, this is where the industry is headed. We’re trying to paint a picture of how digital scheduling can revolutionize the way these services are utilized. The benefits are massive to the organizations that enable digital access, and patients are better equipped to pursue better health.
You know you need a mammogram, either recommended by a physician or because you are due for your next one. Why work through the hassle of calling your provider to get one scheduled when you can just go online to your provider’s website and book for yourself right there on the spot? You can choose the day and time that work best for your schedule without ever having to pick up the phone. To see an example of this, head on over to Beacon Health System’s website to see how they are enabling mammogram self-scheduling today!
Birthing and newborn classes
Birthing and newborn classes, especially those provided at hospitals, are some of the most popular programs offered by providers today. But again, not many soon-to-be parents have the time to call their hospital to learn about class schedules and sign up. Plus, these are millennials, who are notorious for opting to do things online rather than on the phone. Additionally, there is typically no reminder sent by the hospital of the upcoming class, which may lead to some no-shows and empty seats. With online self-scheduling, individuals can see upcoming classes online and sign up on the spot. They will even receive a smartphone calendar reminder immediately after booking, helping to remind them of the upcoming class. A win-win for parents and the hospital!
Health coaches are becoming more common for individuals looking to embark on new healthcare journeys (smoking cessation or weight loss) and also those wanting to learn how to best manage a chronic disease (like diabetes). While some may be able to find and schedule health coaches on their own, others may go through the benefits provided by their current health plan. In this case, it is much easier for those individuals to have the ability to find and search for a health coach online through their health plan and sign up for a session in real-time. Read our case study on our work with a large employer and their health coach scheduling program.
Probably one of the most beneficial programs that can be booked through online self-scheduling is transportation to your doctor’s appointment or other health class/event. When signing up for an appointment, you may have the option to book travel to your appointment as well. This is particularly beneficial for those who may not have easy or ongoing access to transportation—a main factor in social determinants of health. In particular, our work with at-risk organizations serving Medicaid and Medicare members, has seem tremendous results when combining the ability to schedule transportation in a seamless workflow with scheduling care.
The areas we’ve discussed above are just a few examples, there are many more – think any community resource (housing, gov. assistance, etc…), or any specialty (orthopedics, neurology, oncology, etc…), and so on. There is so much more to healthcare than just primary care, and we need to make access to all of it easier. By enabling this self-service approach to the entire range of resources provided by healthcare, providers can immensely improve the health offering to patients, which will lead to increased revenue opportunities, reduced medical costs, and a healthier patient population.
To learn more about how to improve access across your enterprise, download our guide, Omni-Channel Access: Unlocking the Digital Front.