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Digital Self-Scheduling Set to Increase Considerably by 2019

By the end of 2019, 64 percent of patients expected to book appointments online

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Digital self-scheduling is set to increase considerably in the next five years, according to a report published by Accenture.

Researchers from Accenture surveyed top U.S. health care systems to examine digital self-scheduling capabilities and forecast these capabilities for the coming years.

Based on the survey, the researchers predict that 66 percent of U.S. health systems will offer digital self-scheduling by 2019, and 64 percent of patients will use digital tools to book appointments. The investigators estimate that 38 percent of appointments will be self-scheduled in 2019, representing 986 million appointments. At present, nearly 40 percent of the top 100 U.S. health systems and 10 percent of remaining health systems offer the ability to digitally self-schedule appointments. Nationwide, patients self-schedule 2.4 percent of appointments, out of a total of about 11 percent of appointments that can be self-scheduled.

"Digital self-scheduling delivers significant financial and competitive benefits, helps maintain patient customer base, boosts operational efficiencies, and improves organizational flexibility and agility," the authors write. "As more health systems jump on the digital self-scheduling bandwagon, adopting improved scheduling options in the context of new models of care delivery, the sophistication of these tools will continue to increase."

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