Direct scheduling remains an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, surrounded by a conundrum. Why?
Great overview of a complicated and archaic process. Pretty cool to see the efforts happening in this space.
Three points to add
1. An interesting segment of healthcare as it relates to scheduling- urgent cares (UC). Their main innovation was combining the walk in nature of the ER with accepting only low acuity illnesses and injuries as are seen in primary care. Main benefits of walk in include not having no shows and patient convenience. Main limitation is unexpected wait time. From my experience, a lot of patients value the convenience of walking in whenever they feel like it and are willing to deal with unexpected wait time because if they wait too long then they’ll just come back another day or time when the wait is shorter.
2. As for the science of scheduling, another thing I’ve learned about is AI and predictive scheduling. There are programs which calculate how likely a patient is to no show and thereby allow the practice to double book the time slot of someone with a high no show probability.
3. In direct primary care, many docs prefer to manually schedule because telemedicine or teletriage comes with the practice model. Most my patients will message me and I can take care of it over the phone. If I think they need to come in or if they want to come in I send them my availability and they pick a time like I would schedule a meeting or hang out with friends (or in some larger offices a front desk person does the scheduling). A lot of the complexity comes with the FFS model where a practice needs to see x number of people in order to generate enough revenue for each day. On that note, I would say the value based models may see much less complexity if done properly.
This is a great article that would benefit from a more empathetic take on why physicians change their schedule- the continual references to ditching patient care for a round of golf is a cheap laugh at at the expense of understanding what we ask physicians and APPs to manage during a typical patient care day. Yes, there are many obstacles but when you dig in and decide to make something better it is possible. I worked with a team that solved for direct patient scheduling which doubled self-scheduling within a year and nearly eliminated complaints of the wrong appointment being scheduled.
Be careful not to lump everyone by age group. I'm a Boomer and I HATE the phone (likely because spending the '90s as a biotech IR pro). I also hate QR codes. Text is ok, but online synced with my Outlook is preferred. Also, many younger customer service folks are clueless about their techcomm preferences not being the preferences of their customers.
I've been working on building analytic solutions to Ambulatory Operations, focused heavily around scheduling and I wish that it was professionally appropriate for me to put some of these memes in my presentations to healthcare leaders about what we are going to help them build and own to manage their practices and get ready for FFS To FFV transitions.
I'm more than happy to discuss things we are designing and the road blocks we face from strategy driven by FFS as well as strategy driven by FFV.
BetterHealthcare is a GREAT scheduling tool for healthcare providers. I recommend checking it out. https://www.betterhealthcare.co/