As we look deeper into improving the patient experience and increasing patient engagement, ease of access to healthcare is the place to begin. Certain patient populations, such as the elderly and the chronically-ill, require easier access than other populations. This is even more prevalent when scheduling a doctor visit; patients want the convenience of self-scheduling their appointments at times which are convenient to them.

Over the last few years, the advent of patient-centric tools has been changing the rules on how providers engage their patients. By now, we’ve all been inundated by the term “consumerism” in healthcare and for good reason. Patients expect a more personalized approach from providers, the same expectations they have from non-healthcare companies. These expectations can be easily met by providing patients online tools to schedule appointments, pay bills and reference healthcare records. This not only improves the patients’ experience but, also increases their engagement with their own health. which satisfies two of the Quad aims.

The New Normal

It’s estimated that in 2019, there will be over 1 Billion patient self-scheduled appointments. As the US population ages, older Americans will require access to technology that helps them schedule and track their doctor visits. In a McKinnsey survey, almost 20% of patients over the age of 55 self-scheduled their appointments. This patient self-scheduling statistic will only grow as the population ages and providers continually adopt and promote online scheduling. And let’s not forget the increased usage of mobile devices within the older population. Patient engagement is increasing in all stages of life!

It’s not just for the kids anymore

Technology is changing the way in which consumers and businesses act throughout all industries. Now is the time for the healthcare industry to catch up. Research has shown that mobile response rates in patients 60 and older were very similar to that of patients between 15 and 59. As older patient populations take greater control of their own health by using patient self-scheduling through their mobile devices, it’s important for providers to have a mobile strategy for patient engagement. Mobile phone usage is the primary mode of communication for most Americans. Enabling patients to access and make an appointment online from any device, engages the them in their own healthcare and has proven to reduce appointment “no-shows”. A study from the Oxford Journal, The Gerontologist , found that if an elderly patient self-scheduled their appointments on a frequent basis, appointment cancellations would decline. The goal is to have the patient “buy-in” to their own healthcare which has been linked to better treatment compliance and most importantly improved outcomes. Ultimately, isn’t this a practice’s goal?

Patient engagement with the chronically ill

An Accenture research study found that of patients who were not chronically ill, 77 percent felt that self-scheduling electronically was important, and 89 percent of chronically ill patients felt it is important. Reinforcing that initial patient engagement was extremely important for both providers and patients. By utilizing the latest technology available practices not only provide patients with a better experience to earn their loyalty but can also save the practice valuable time and money. So, what does this mean for providers— better care, more satisfied patients, bottom line greater patient engagement equals increased revenue.

Real life proof

By implementing a patient self-scheduling platform, providers gain the peace of mind that their patients are enjoying more convenient access to care and an overall better patient experience. This could very well lead to improved outcomes.

This year it’s projected that 64% of all patients will book their physician’s appointments online which benefits practices by having full appointment calendars and reducing no-shows by up to 50%. KSF Orthopedic, a Medfusion Patient Self-Scheduling client, achieved a 30% call reduction in their first year using patient self-scheduling (download case study). This allowed KSF Ortho to free up office staff to take care of patients and handle more valuable tasks which lead to greater efficiencies and a healthier bottom line for their practice.

Whether you’re allowing patients to schedule through your portal or a stand-alone solution, Medfusion has the right solution for your patient engagement strategy. Contact an experienced representative today to learn how we can help.