Despite a strong consumer preference for digital access to healthcare, over half of the top 20 hospitals in the U.S. do not offer online scheduling capabilities for new patients, according to a new report.
Released by patient access solutions provider Kyruus, the report assessed digital patient access at the top 20 hospitals on U.S. News & World Report’s 2020-21 Best Hospitals rankings. The assessment was conducted in July.
Over 40% of all consumers prefer to book medical appointments online, a 2020 Kyruus report shows. But about 60% of the top 20 hospitals in the country do not offer online scheduling for new patients, and 65% do not offer new patients the option to schedule a virtual visit online, according to the new report.
Further, only 10% of organizations included in the assessment offered online scheduling for broader healthcare services, that is, beyond the ability to schedule an appointment with a specific provider. Just two hospitals — Stanford Health Care in California and Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas — offer online scheduling for non-provider services, such as imaging or urgent care.
Not only are online scheduling options lacking at these prestigious institutions, but there are several missed opportunities related to the sorting and filtering capabilities they provide, the report shows.
Of the top 20 hospitals, about 70% of organizations include location sorting and filtering capabilities, but only 15% enabled users to sort or filter by virtual care. In addition, only one had a find-a-provider capability with sorting and/or filtering options for location, availability and virtual care.
Though a Kyruus report from last year shows that 80% of healthcare consumers said appointment availability was very or extremely important when selecting a new provider, only one of the organizations included in the most recent assessment indicated which providers had upcoming availability or offered real-time availability in search results.
When it comes to engaging patients, a majority of the top 20 hospitals are successful at providing helpful and prominent calls to action. More than half (55%) of the hospitals issued calls to action, like “book an appointment online” or “call for an appointment today” to prompt engagement around both phone and online scheduling options across their websites.
But many did not offer virtual assistants or chatbots, despite the popularity of these solutions among consumers, according to the new report. Only 20% of the hospitals assessed had a live virtual assistant for consumers.
The digitization of healthcare will likely continue to gather speed, and as “hospitals and health systems look ahead, they should prioritize creating an end-to-end digital access experience,” the report authors concluded.
Photo: Aleksei Naumov, Getty Images
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