The Number 1 Patient Self-Scheduling Myth: Debunked for Providers 

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Chloe From Clearwave | March 7, 2024

Patient self-scheduling has gone from a nice-to-have to a deal-breaker for prospective and existing patients. One survey found a staggering 82% of patients prefer a provider who offers online scheduling, while 61% of patients reported that they’ve skipped doctor appointments altogether due to challenges associated with scheduling, including being directed to call the practice to book an appointment.  

People Prefer Self-Scheduling & Practices Must Adjust to Boost Profits

Patients no longer want to take time out of their busy day to pick up the phone within a practice’s confined hours of operation to schedule, change or cancel an appointment. At the same time, practices are still struggling to keep up with increasing patient volumes while facing ongoing employee churn and workforce shortages. When patients do call in to book appointments, they face long hold times, abandoned bookings and significant dips in patient retention.

Patients demand quick and easy access to scheduling, so they can book and modify appointments anywhere, anytime, without human interaction. Yet, despite the clear demand, the healthcare sector has been markedly slow in adopting patient self-scheduling technologies, with many providers still harboring reservations. 

In today’s healthcare environment, inaction is no longer an option. Review the number 1 patient self-scheduling myth that’s holding providers and practices back. See how you can debunk this myth and make patient self-scheduling work for your practice. 

The #1 Patient Self-Scheduling Myth Debunked

Why are providers hesitant to give patients the option to self-schedule their appointments?  

The resounding concern providers and practice leaders share for self-scheduling is, “An online tool isn’t robust enough to meet their scheduling needs.”   

White this is a valid concern we hear from healthcare practices, it is also a common misconception that there is no solution powerful enough. Here are some of specific concerns providers have shared:  

provider scheduling concerns

Scheduling appointments in a way that meets provider expectations and requirements has always been a complex job for administrative staff, especially in cases where there are many providers on staff. Because of the above fears and the known complexity around appointment booking, many providers believe human schedulers, familiar with the nuances of each physician, are required to get bookings right. Yet, this myth may already be busted for your practice … 

Consider, how many errors has your schedule incurred in the past few months? Despite having a manual approach, scheduling errors can and do happen.

Manual scheduling does not guarantee accuracy. Human error and judgment come into play. With constant churn or overburdened staff managing bookings, errors won’t just happen, they’ll become a frequent annoyance for your providers and patients.  

Accuracy is not just possible, but increasingly achievable with online patient self-scheduling platforms. Smart patient self-scheduling solutions can be tailored to meet the diverse requirements of providers – no matter how many are on staff or how unique their specifications are. These tools allow practices to build strategic, self-scheduling workflows based on provider preferences and best practices, solving the complexity challenge while satisfying patients and providers.

Patient self-scheduling software not only enhances efficiency but also minimizes the risk of human error. Technology can’t stray from pre-determined workflows, meaning you can remain confident that all appointments booked will align with the specified scheduling requirements you’ve decided on for your practice. 

At Clearwave, we’ve been at the forefront of this shift, helping practices transform online booking into an airline-like approach so patients can “fly” through scheduling. This experience has shown us that meeting complex provider scheduling requirements is possible and the process to move from a manual to a digital scheduling process should not fall solely on your practice’s shoulders.

A vendor with years of experience working with practices of all sizes and specialties will help you build the scheduling workflows you need, ones that meet even the most convoluted requirements. 

Myth Busting in Action

In our work with practices of all sizes and specialties, we’ve helped numerous healthcare practices implement a self-scheduling approach that maximizes booking accuracy, drops training time and reduces manual (full-time employee) involvement.

The Orthopaedic Group is a great example! This practice wanted to overcome scheduling errors and long hold times with a self-scheduling solution. In a recent conversation on “Seeing More Patients Than Ever Before,” their Director of Operations, Jennifer Lott shared their physicians’ initial hesitancy around self-scheduling: “Our providers had lots of questions initially around how well an online scheduler would be able to accurately book patients.”  

After implementing a smart patient self-scheduling solution, the practice has benefited in a variety of ways – with no complaints from the 26 on-staff providers. Lot says, “The online scheduler has been huge in helping us book patients in the way that meets provider requirements, and now it runs on autopilot for us. It has been so seamless and improved our scheduling efficiency.” 

To hear more about how The Orthopaedic Group uses Clearwave Scheduling to grow their practice, read the full case study or watch our recent webinar on, “The Key to Booking More Patients Than Ever Before.” 

Patient Self-Scheduling is Your Best Opportunity to Boost Profits

Sticking with traditional phone scheduling will cause your practice to fall behind the competition. Don’t be left out. The benefits are proven, and the time to act is now.  Meet patient demand, increase loyalty, attract new patients, remove staff burdens and maximize providers’ schedules – all culminating in steady growth for your practice!    

Bust the other common misconceptions your providers may have around self-scheduling. Use this guide, “The Top 5 Patient Self-Scheduling Myths … Busted!” as a starting point. Take away the information you need to debunk key challenges and incite change at your practice.  

Or see how Clearwave’s Online Patient Scheduling can help you boost patient acquisition (and your bottom line!) contact us today.

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