Here’s How Medical Scheduling Software Can Change Healthcare
Innovative medical scheduling software solutions are being developed to streamline the process of scheduling appointments with providers, but challenges hinder widespread adoption.
In the US, we make nearly 900 million visits to the doctor every year. And the process of scheduling visits requires significant investment related to coordinating appointments and reducing revenue lost to no-shows. In fact, missed appointments alone are estimated to cost healthcare providers more than $150 billion annually.
However, there is good news. With the widespread use of smartphones and associated internet, companies are developing solutions that streamline the appointment booking process. And while more than a dozen companies are dedicated to addressing this problem, widespread adoption by both patients and providers is limited. Overcoming barriers to adoption requires a solution that is easy to implement and compelling enough to change the status quo – picking up the phone and calling to make an appointment.
Current Behaviors Surrounding Medical Appointment Scheduling Software
To determine why patients and providers were slow to incorporate medical scheduling software into their own appointment-setting behaviors. Some highlights include:
- A recent survey among adults in the US (n=300) who reported regularly visiting a healthcare provider within the last 12 months found only 8.6% (n=26) indicated that they have used or currently use a mobile application or digital solution to schedule appointments with their healthcare providers.
- Secondary research suggests that <3% of patients in the US are self-scheduling with similar solutions.
- 73% (n=221) of respondents reported that currently a phone call is their primary solution when scheduling appointments with a provider.
- 26.3% of respondents indicated that the reason why they would not consider a digital platform is that they prefer speaking with someone.
These suggest that patients prefer to call for an appointment, despite the fact that there are solutions designed to improve the scheduling experience. And while many factors influence patients choices (lack of awareness, poor adoption among providers), behavior is undoubtedly an obstacle.
The Status of the Medical Scheduling Software Market
Jaunt estimated that the global market for healthcare appointment scheduling solutions was valued at $200+ million in 2018. Total market value is growing rapidly, as healthcare providers and patients discover and choose to adopt medical appointment scheduling software. We project that sales attributable to these solutions will increase to $450+ million by 2024, increasing at a CAGR of 12.4%.
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” moving into elderly demographic – the largest in terms of healthcare utilization||IT infrastructure restrains provider adoption|
The Competitive Landscape
There are more than a dozen companies offering appointment scheduling solutions. The majority of these companies are privately-held and presumed to be within the startup stage (i.e. revenue ≤$50M). Many 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.
We believe that some of the most dominant technology companies (i.e. Amazon, Apple, Google), given their interest in tackling problems in the healthcare industry, could become a disruptive force if they develop a solution that is quickly adopted among patients and providers.
For example, 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 expand to making appointments with healthcare providers. Ultimately this announcement is just one of many that demonstrates big tech’s interest in using innovative technologies to simplify routine tasks and improve daily 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 medical appointment scheduling software. Many health insurance networks 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 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.
Medical Appointment Scheduling Software is a Smart Way Forward
The market for medical appointment scheduling software is unique. This is chiefly due to the fact that there is a large number of competitors in a relatively underpenetrated market in terms of patient adoption.
As the market lacks a dominant player, the space is open for a company to “take the lead” – provided the solution is compelling enough for healthcare providers and patients to adopt. Changing patient behavior is critical to the success of any company in this market. Companies should actively recruit and educate healthcare providers related to their respective solutions, as there is a significant financial incentive for providers to rally their patients to adopt these solutions.
Jaunt helps new and emerging medical technologies develop commercialization plans that successfully bring products to market. Are you interested in learning more about our research into medical appointment schedule software? Contact us – we’d love to chat.