Healthcare Appointment Scheduling Solutions: Simplifying the Process for Patients and Providers
Innovative solutions are being developed to streamline the process of scheduling appointments with healthcare providers, but challenges exist that hinder widespread adoption
There are nearly 900 million visits to physicians every year in the US. The process of scheduling these visits requires a significant amount of labor to coordinate appointments and reduce revenue loss attributable to no-shows. It is estimated that missed appointments alone cost healthcare providers over $150 billion annually. The pervasiveness of smartphones and access to the internet has paved the way for companies developing solutions that streamline the appointment booking process for patients and providers. While there are over a dozen companies dedicated to addressing this problem, widespread adoption by patients and providers has been limited by a number of factors. Overcoming these limiting factors will require a solution that is easy to implement and compelling enough to change the predominant behavior when scheduling an appointment – picking up the phone and calling to make an appointment.
In a recent survey among adults in the US (n=300) who reported regularly visiting a healthcare provider within the last 12 months, only 8.6% (n=26) of respondents indicated that they have used or currently use a mobile application or digital solution to schedule appointments with their healthcare providers. A look at available secondary research suggests that <3% of patients in the US are self-scheduling with similar solutions.
When asked how individuals currently schedule appointments with a healthcare provider, 73% (n=221) of respondents reported that a phone call is their primary solution. This suggests that there is a significant preference for calling for an appointment among patients, despite the existence of solutions that are designed to improve the scheduling experience. Many factors likely influence the utilization of these solutions, such as a lack of awareness or poor adoption among providers. However, behavior is undoubtedly a major obstacle. For example, 26.3% of respondents indicated that the reason why they would not consider a digital platform is that they prefer speaking with someone.
Jaunt estimates that the global market for healthcare appointment scheduling solutions was valued at $200+ million in 2018. Total market value attributable to these solutions is rapidly growing as healthcare providers and patients discover and adopt healthcare appointment scheduling solutions. Sales attributable to these solutions are projected to increase to $450+ million by 2024, increasing at a CAGR of 12.4%. Table 1 presents a list of factors driving and restraining growth.
Table 1: Drivers and Limiters of Market Growth
|Healthcare providers eager to minimize revenue lost||Current patient behavior (i.e. preferring to call in)|
|Demand for solutions that improve healthcare delivery and access||Cyber security risks|
|Improving technological fluency among older adults||HIPAA compliance|
|“Baby boomers” entering the elderly demographic – the largest demographic for healthcare utilization||IT infrastructure restrains provider adoption|
There are over a dozen companies offering scheduling solutions. The majority of these companies are privately-held and presumed to be within the startup stage (i.e. revenue ≤$50M). Many of the companies only serve the US market. Some of the more prolific competitors in this growing market include One Medical, Practice Fusion, and Zocdoc. These companies have all taken unique approaches to streamlining the appointment scheduling process for healthcare providers and patients.
Jaunt believes that big tech (i.e. Amazon, Apple, Google), given their interest in tackling problems in the healthcare industry, could potentially become a disruptive force that could develop a solution that is quickly adopted among patients and providers.
In May 2018, Google announced Google Duplex, an AI-driven solution designed to schedule appointments over the phone. While the initial roll out only allows users to book reservations at restaurants, the technology could be expanded to making appointment with healthcare providers. Ultimately this announcement is just one of many announcements that demonstrates big tech’s interest in using innovative technologies to simplify routine tasks and improve life.
Similar to the disruptive power attributed to big tech, insurance providers are in a position to dictate policy and play “king maker” in the selection of healthcare appointment scheduling solutions. Many health insurance networks also directly compete in this market with their own solutions for in-network provider discovery and appointment booking. Patients that need to see a healthcare provider are already accustomed to going through their insurance network. Based on this factor, health insurance companies are well-positioned to push new methods for scheduling appointments towards patients.
The market for healthcare appointment scheduling solutions is unique. This is chiefly due to the fact that there are a large number of competitors in a relatively underpenetrated market (in terms of patient adoption). As the market lacks a clear market leader, the space is open for a competitor to “take the lead” – provided they develop a solution that is compelling to adopt among healthcare providers and patients. Changing the behavior of patients will be critical to the success of any company in this market. Companies should be actively working to recruit and educate healthcare providers to their respective solutions, as there is financial incentive for healthcare providers to drive their patients to adopt these solutions.
For further information on the healthcare appointment scheduling solutions market, please contact Jaunt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jaunt LLC is a management consulting firm focused on new and emerging medical markets. They solve product-market-fit problems by partnering with companies and investors to define market opportunities and to successfully bridge the gap between technology and its customer. Located in Mesa, AZ, Jaunt services clients across the country. For additional information visit JauntUp.com.