Practices can save time and increase convenience for patients and staff with electronic self-scheduling solutions.
Appointment scheduling is a time-consuming and challenging process for physician practices and patients alike. In many physicians’ offices scheduling is still highly manual and managed using a combination of phone calls, paper scheduling books, spreadsheets, or electronic scheduling tools that don’t provide full visibility for either administrative staff or patients.
Scheduling can also be highly inconvenient for the patient. In a typical scenario, patients have to call during office hours, then listen to a staff member read a list of available slots that may be weeks away, while trying to match what the person is saying to their own work and home calendars.
According to an Accenture 2013 consumer survey, it takes an average of 8.1 minutes to schedule an appointment. For the patient, that’s time on the phone that could be spent doing something more important. In addition, the patient may have to call back and go through the process all over again if they later discover a scheduling conflict. Phone-based scheduling can make it difficult to coordinate each patient’s work and family schedules around the available appointment times because it’s impossible to get a comprehensive view of all schedules simultaneously.
The process is also frustrating because some patients can’t call during office hours to speak directly to the scheduler and 63 percent of the time agents transfer patient calls – potentially making the process take even longer.