See the Winning Patient Acquisition Formula & How to Implement It

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Chloe From Clearwave | September 7, 2023

Self-scheduling has become an integral part of the winning patient acquisition formula for high-growth practices. Today’s patients want ownership and control over their ability to book appointments. Research from Experian Health found that:

  • 76% of patients would like to schedule appointments online or via a mobile device.
  • 56% of patients want more digital options for managing healthcare.
  • 69% of providers believe digital/mobile access is very important to patients.

The use cases for online scheduling have grown, and the benefits they afford to both providers and patients have expanded alongside them. High-growth practices are recognizing the various ways in which self-service scheduling tools can improve patient acquisition and retention, employee satisfaction, provider efficiency and overall revenue. They’re relying on technology to ensure practice success despite resource constraints and economic uncertainty.

Digitizing to Drive Revenue Despite Resource Constraints

Nearly 90% of patients say that access to scheduling appointments is getting worse for patients as staffing shortages continue to hinder healthcare practice efficiency. More than 50 million people quit their jobs in 2022, causing a nationwide labor shortage, which organizations across industries are still battling today. Healthcare practices are struggling with high turnover and a lack of available resources for hire – which is affecting providers and patients alike.

Online scheduling solutions can help practices bridge the talent gap by removing the human element from the equation. Even if a practice is missing front office staff or training new employees, they can still get appointments booked quickly, patients through the door and revenue back into their practice. Digitizing the scheduling process comes with other benefits as well, including improved efficiency, accuracy and reduced workloads for the staff they do have in-house.

Self-service scheduling allows practices to meet patients’ changing preferences on how and when they can book appointments, which is a powerful contributor to strong patient acquisition and retention. Additionally, with today’s labor shortage and uncertain economy, high-growth practices are turning to self-service scheduling to overcome the talent gap, keep patient throughput consistent and steady revenue streams coming in, regardless of external factors beyond their control.

A Proven Patient Acquisition Formula

There is no better way to showcase the results practices can achieve with self-service scheduling than through a real-world customer example. Jennifer Lott, director of operations at The Orthopaedic Group, recently participated in a conversation on “The Key to Booking More Patients Than Ever Before.”

She discusses the scheduling and staffing challenges her practice was facing and how they implemented automated patient self-scheduling in a way that meets the requirements of their 26 physicians. Here are the top takeaways:

The Situation: The Orthopaedic Group has five locations with 26 physicians. They serve 500 patients per day across clinics.

Lott noted that similar to many other healthcare practices, they were struggling with administrative staff churn – which was especially problematic because appointment scheduling was done manually via phone. This introduced several challenges, including:

  • Staff turnover and new hires slowing down the scheduling process.
  • Lost bookings due to long hold times.
  • Difficulty training new hires and long ramp-up times due to unique and complex booking requirements.

For example, one total joints physician might only want to see patients with knee and hip problems, while another might only want patients with elbow and hand injuries. Some doctors might only want to see new patients before a certain hour, and others might be off on certain days. With 26 physicians, the list of requirements is challenging for existing employees to remember – never mind new hires.

This complexity, in addition to tedious manual processes, resulted in inefficiencies when booking patient appointments and long hold times, which could cause prospective patients to look elsewhere to book.

The Orthopaedic Group looked for a better approach to streamline scheduling while they dealt with ongoing staffing challenges.

The Solution: The practice implemented online self-scheduling, giving patients an easier option to book their appointments. Lott and her team set out to find a self-service scheduling option that would simplify and expedite the process for patients and staff. Already leveraging Clearwave for other revenue and patient engagement needs, Lott said Clearwave Scheduling was the logical choice.

While their 26 physicians were initially concerned about moving to digital scheduling, the practice was able to customize their pre-determined scheduling workflows in a way that eased apprehension, now they see no inaccuracies in how online bookings are made.

Additionally, the flexible scheduling software matched other complex workflow requirements the practice had, offering the ability to build in essential patient questions throughout the scheduling process. They added in questions like:

  • Do you need an interpreter?
  • Were you injured on the job?
  • Were you in an automobile accident?
  • Do you have a lawyer?
  • Do you have health insurance?

Now, online scheduling is essentially running on autopilot for the practice, creating a seamless operation that meets provider needs and brings in more patients. Watch the full webinar discussion to see what the Orthopedic Group implemented to drive these results:

  • 16% of appointments booked online are new patients
  • 84% of appointments booked online are established patients
  • 45% of appointments booked online are made after hours
  • 34% of appointments booked online are made last minute
  • 96% patient utilization of self-registration
  • 2min 04sec average check-in time

Unleash the Power of Online Scheduling Within Your Practice

The Orthopaedic Group is just one example of how patient self-scheduling can transform practices. Online scheduling tools are proven to help high-growth practices increase patient acquisition and retention, offer a better experience for all stakeholders and drive revenue. Let Clearwave help you put online scheduling to work for your practice and unlock the potential for growth. Request a demo or contact us today!

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