The average wait time to schedule a doctor appointment is 24 days. For some specialties, it’s even longer. A lot can happen in that time.
Plans change. Things come up. Life happens. For most patients, their only option is to cancel or call their provider, wait on hold, and try to reschedule. Or worse, they simply don’t show up. The result is high no-show rates, poor slot utilization, and unhappy patients.
WELL is launching Self-Rescheduling on the Epic App Orchard to help recover these lost appointments. The feature allows patients to reschedule an appointment at their convenience.
Here’s how it works and why it matters for your health system and your patients.
Improve patient experience
As many as 68 percent of patients prefer the ease of online rescheduling. They don’t want to call in, wait on hold, and hear appointment options read to them over the phone. With WELL Self-Rescheduling, they can simply select a new appointment from their mobile phone almost instantly.
“Poor customer service and communication are the leading complaints among patients,” says WELL CEO and founder Guillaume de Zwirek. “We developed Self-Rescheduling to deliver the same level of service and convenience patients have come to expect in other industries.”
Reduce call volume and improve staff workflow
A phone call to reschedule takes roughly eight minutes whereas scheduling by text message can be done in less than one minute. This results in a reduction in call volume. Patients who would be calling in to change their appointment can do it with their mobile phone in just a few clicks. Fewer scheduling calls mean that staff can dedicate their attention to the patients who really need it. Not only does this improve staff workflow and satisfaction, it also improves care for all patients.
Self-Rescheduling is being released at Houston Methodist Hospital. Tesha Montgomery, Vice President, Operations and Patient Access says, “At Houston Methodist, patient access is a top priority. We get thousands of calls every day from patients wanting to change their appointments. The ability to use Self-Rescheduling eliminates many of these calls and allows more focus on the acute needs of our patients.”
Reduce no-shows and improve slot utilization
Appointment reminders alone reduce no-shows. And WELL clients have seen no-shows drop by up to 70 percent. WELL Self-Rescheduling can reduce no-shows even further and improve slot utilization. Instead of simply cancelling or failing to present, patients can choose an alternative appointment that works for them.
Differentiate your health system
Patients are consumers. And they expect to receive the same level of service from their healthcare providers that they experience in other industries. Offering rescheduling by text message demonstrates innovation and answers patient demand for convenience.
How it Works:
With WELL Self-Rescheduling, when a patient receives an appointment reminder message, they have the option to Confirm, Cancel, or Reschedule. If they choose to Cancel or Reschedule, they will receive an immediate response with a link to a list of available appointments.
The problem with online rescheduling
Often, this is where other online patient rescheduling software breaks down. Providers’ schedules vary from day to day. One day they’re in surgery. Another day is for hospital rounds. Another is only for certain types of appointments. That’s why it’s essential that the scheduling software is fully integrated into the EMR.
With WELL Self-Rescheduling, when a patient reschedules, they will only see available appointment times that match the original event type and provider name as marked in the EMR.
Finding the time that works best
After selecting a new appointment, patients will receive a request to confirm the new appointment followed by a success message. Once they successful book the new appointment, patients will receive any relevant appointment reminders in advance of their visit.
For those appointments booked at the last minute, research shows that appointments scheduled within one week of the event have half the no-show rate of appointments booked more than three weeks out — meaning the rescheduled appointments are more likely to present if the appointment is booked a few days before.
If no new appointment is acceptable, the patient will be directed to reach out to the practice via text or phone for additional assistance in finding an alternate time. All patient responses will be recorded in the EMR.
Intervene when you need to
When patients respond with Cancel or Reschedule, the patient channel will open in WELL. Staff can view patient responses and intervene if needed. For example, imagine a patient responds to the initial rescheduling link with a question. This is where staff can jump in and answer.
Give patients what they want
WELL is constantly innovating and working with our clients and partners to develop features that will improve patient satisfaction and improve key metrics. Call one of our patient engagement experts today to learn more about our new Self-Rescheduling feature: 833-234-9355. ♥
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