Patient Self-Scheduling 2024: Meeting Patient Needs through Standalone Solutions - Cover

Patient Self-Scheduling 2024: Meeting Patient Needs through Standalone Solutions

Consumerism has gained more traction across different markets, and the healthcare industry is also leaning into a consumer-centric approach to better cater to patients’ needs. In 2022, KLAS published a report sharing patients’ perspectives on patient engagement technology, and that report found that self-scheduling is one of the technologies most highly desired by patients. Additionally, patient self-scheduling is a key element of the KLAS Patient Engagement Framework (updated during the 2023 Patient and Consumer Innovation Summit). In order for healthcare organizations to be truly patient-centric, they need to provide patients with the technologies they need and want—including self-scheduling. To provide insights on market options and performance, KLAS recently published the 2024 Patient Self-Scheduling report, which looks at the capabilities of and customer satisfaction with standalone self-scheduling solutions.

Different Patient Self-Scheduling Options in the Market

Patient self-scheduling is a broad space with many different technology options. The 2024 report outlines the strategies and approaches healthcare organizations are utilizing to provide this capability. Organizations interviewed for the report indicated that they use one or more of the following patient self-scheduling technologies:

  • Functionality from EHR vendors (commonly found in patient portal solutions)
  • Patient engagement platforms with self-scheduling capabilities
  • Standalone patient self-scheduling solutions

The 2024 report does not measure every vendor that provides patient self-scheduling functionality; instead, it focuses specifically on some standalone solutions. The report does include a broad list of vendors who claim to offer self-scheduling functionality in some form, but these vendors’ performances are not examined. (In the future, KLAS plans to publish reports on patient engagement vendors’ complete portfolios, including their self-scheduling functionality.)

Amid these different technology approaches, KLAS sought to understand why some healthcare organizations choose standalone self-scheduling solutions, especially as the industry tends to prioritize consolidation and integration. The most common reason for using standalone solutions is that they offer more robust rules and functionalities than EHR offerings. Some interviewed organizations reported that their EHR vendor doesn’t offer self-scheduling functionality, and some noted they use a standalone solution in tandem with their EHR functionality. KLAS’ hope is that examining the different patient self-scheduling options will help other healthcare organizations identify which approach will be most helpful in their own strategies.

respondents' self-scheduling strategies

Slow Industry Adoption of Patient Self-Scheduling

Healthcare organizations can offer self-scheduling capabilities to patients in several different ways, but industry adoption of this highly desired technology remains slow. Although organizations indicated in previous KLAS data that they planned to focus on patient self-scheduling, the recent report reveals that most appointment scheduling is still managed or manually reviewed by administrative staff. This raises the question—why aren’t more healthcare organizations adopting or fully employing self-scheduling? Patient self-scheduling can provide convenience and accessibility to patients as well as lead to provider outcomes such as reduced call volumes and an increased number of patients.

Before the recent Patient and Consumer Innovation Summit, attendees were surveyed about their successes with and barriers to using patient self-scheduling solutions. The results revealed that lacking buy-in from physicians and other provider staff is the top barrier to healthcare organizations adopting these solutions. Even though the patient self-scheduling market is still in early stages, the technology is actually quite established—a fact that should support buy-in. However, many physicians feel hesitant to open their schedules to self-scheduling because they worry patients will abuse the functionality or make mistakes. There are also questions around whether self-scheduling should be limited to certain types of appointments or patient groups. While there will likely be challenges with self-scheduling, those challenges can be mitigated; additionally, they shouldn’t outweigh the benefit of making care more accessible to patients.

Patient Satisfaction Depends on Self-Scheduling

To improve health outcomes, patients will need to be more involved in their care, and self-scheduling is proven to increase their satisfaction and engagement. Looking toward the future, there will likely be more and more patient self-scheduling platforms on the market. Many healthcare organizations are interested in providing this functionality for their patients, but they need to adopt it more quickly in order to meet patients’ needs.

For organizations looking to adopt patient self-scheduling functionality, please see the full 2024 report to learn about how vendors’ standalone solutions perform as well as to see a list of EHR and patient engagement vendors who offer self-scheduling capabilities. KLAS will continue to monitor vendors in this space; for updates on vendor performance, see the KLAS website.

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