Patient Scheduled Online Bookings - Does Arya Need it?
Accenture estimates that over 900 million patient appointments were booked using self-scheduling tools in America in 2019 . As patients feel more comfortable going online to find care, online scheduling and messaging are becoming vital features for the contemporary EMR. Indeed, many EMRs already offer online booking, or integrate with companies that do.
Online booking is Arya's most requested feature from current users and prospects alike (tied with internal instant messaging).
It's also a vital module to build if we want to attract more walk-in and multidisciplinary clinics to the platform. Due to the demand for this module and our budget restraints, our immediate goal it to build a minimum viable solution (MVS) for online booking that would provide a framework for more robust iterations.
This MVS should allow:
Patients to request an appointment at their clinic online
Patients to receive automated appointment reminders and/or messages from their clinic
Clinics to allow new patients to join by filling out an online form on their website
Clinic administrators to see and manage a list of:
Incoming appointment requests
New patients who want to join the clinic
Clinic administrators to manage patient appointment reminder settings
User Pain Points
MOAs must call patients or rely on patients to contact them to book appointments
MOAs spend several hours on patient communication per week, which detracts from other tasks
Patients need to manually call or email their clinic to book an appointment
Arya users can only accept new bookings or appointment requests during regular office hours, which means they lose out on business when the office is closed
Arya users cannot offer their clients online booking without relying on a third party app (like CognisantMD or Health Myself)
There are several factors that make online booking an important module to offer with any EMR software. Online Booking by the Numbers:
As of 2019, only 13.3% of physicians in Canada reported that patients can "Request appointments online (i.e., advance access e-scheduling)" ("Electronic tools used by patients", Canadian Medical Association, 2019)
However, 77% of patients think that the ability to book, change or cancel appointments online is important (Consumer Survey on Patient Engagement, Accenture, 2013)
In 2019, 986 million appointments will be booked using self-scheduling tools, allowing clinics to reallocate $3.2B that would have been spent paying schedulers ("Patient Engagement: Digital self-scheduling set to explode in healthcare over the next five years", Accenture, 2017)
Up to 25% of the cost of running a clinic is spent scheduling appointments by phone ("Online scheduling for clinics can reduct costs", CanHealth, 2018)
According to one of our power users, 20-40 hours per week are spent on patient communication, including appointment booking, requiring 1-2 MOAs to complete.
Advantages of Online Booking
A clinic can accept online appointment requests 24/7 instead of being restricted by operating hours
Patients don’t have to call to change appointment, reducing burden on admin staff
Online booking allows analytics to be gathered from your clients, including:
Average age of patients requesting appointments
What types of services patients request the most
What the most common patient issues are
Online booking paired with appointment reminders has been shown to greatly reduce no-show rates
Appointment reminders can help reduce no shows from 29% to 13% ("Infographic: Appointment Scheduling Trends in 2018", 10to8, 2018)
Online booking allows clinics to easily generate and manage a waitlist
Needless to say, it is apparent that Arya needs a Patient lead Online Booking System as part of our EHR, so we are going to build one! Check back in the next couple months and you will see this as one of the features of our platform. That is one of the great things about Arya, we are always improving the platform and looking ways to solve the needs of physicians and clinicians. You can't say the same about some of our competitors.
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