7 Ways Physicians Can Save Money Using the Patient Portal

Sandra Levy


May 01, 2018

In This Article

Put Scheduling in Patients' Hands

5. Patients Can Schedule, Change, or Cancel Appointments

Research and management consulting firm Accenture estimates that by the end of 2019, two thirds of US health systems will offer self-scheduling tools for patients to book, change, or cancel their appointments online.

"Patients are seeking and preferring to self-schedule," says Kaveh Safavi, MD, JD, head of Accenture's global healthcare business. "People find appointments that work for them, which makes it more likely that they will keep the appointment and more likely that they will want to see you. The doctors who make this service available are going to attract patients to their practice."

Accenture estimates that in 2019, 38% of total appointments, or 986 million, will be booked using self-scheduling tools.

It takes just under a minute to schedule medical appointments online, versus an average of 8.1 minutes by phone, with staff transferring patient calls 63% of the time, according to Accenture.

Accenture estimates that self-scheduling is offered for only 11% of appointments, and patients use this capability only 2.4% of the time, so there's a potential opportunity for physicians to save time and money by adopting this technology.

What Patients Are Looking for

In fact, the company's 2016 survey of 2225 consumers found that 59% of them would be more likely to choose a doctor who allowed them to book/change/cancel appointments online.

Another bonus: Parents can view their children's immunizations and find which immunizations are overdue, due now, and coming up in the future. Parents can print a list of the immunizations with the physician's signature, freeing up physician staff during busy back to school and summer camp season.


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