In this hectic, 24/7 world in which we are managing baseball games, school plays and family visits to the doctor not to mention work meetings and professional obligations, it’s no surprise that some appointments get missed. We understand the impact these missed opportunities mean for our personal lives, but in the professional world (especially healthcare), the impact can be costly in both time and money.
The total cost of missed healthcare appointments every year in the U.S. is an astronomical $150 billion. Every single open time slot typically costs a physician 60 minutes and $200. Now consider that no-show rates are as high as 30 percent nationwide. With our daily lives full of high-tech, digital reminders, one may wonder how such an expensive and potentially dangerous problem exists. We know that the healthcare industry has been slow to adopt the convenient patient access technologies that consumers have come to expect when it comes to managing their lives. However, the good news is that the problem can be addressed with the three simple and effective recommendations highlighted in our latest infographic and summarized below.
- Provide a fast, streamlined experience for patients to book and keep appointments
Landlines in homes may be a thing of the past, but it is still the primary method of communication inside the walls of hospitals and physician practices. In fact, an astounding 88 percent of appointments are still scheduled this way. Today’s healthcare consumer expects easy access and engagement in all areas of their lives. However, a majority of patients (65 percent) say they face challenges when trying to engage with their healthcare providers. Even though a recent Accenture report found that 77 percent of patients think the ability to book, change or cancel appointments online is important, only 2.4 percent of appointments today are patient self-scheduled. Provide a fast, streamlined experience by centralizing scheduling, and consider allowing patients increased access to self-scheduling services. Lastly, automatically send patient reminders via voice, text, letter and/or email according to their preferences.
- Assure smart, complete scheduling to maximize capacity and utilization
It is not unusual for complex diagnostic procedures to take 76 days from referral to appointment – that is almost a full financial quarter of lag time! Much of this is owed to cumbersome manual processes that take consumers and scheduling staff alike too much time, even for simple tasks. The use of a smart “rules engine” can guide patient access staff through the scheduling of any service per the clinical and operational requirements of your providers, departments, and facilities. This can be done while still making sure medical necessity is met, insurance is verified, and authorizations are obtained prior to the scheduled appointment. This will ensure accurate and efficient completion of the scheduled appointment while optimizing scheduling capacity and protecting revenue.
- Offer unmatched convenience
Free patients and referring providers from the activities that make doing business with you difficult or cause delays in care. Convenience comes in the form of an end to end patient-friendly experience where referrals and orders are sent electronically instead of hand-delivered by the patient, insurance authorizations are handled promptly by your organization as part of the scheduling process, and patients receive friendly reminders about their appointment. Offering this level of convenience will not only save time and money, but also give you a competitive advantage in your market.