Patient Self-Scheduling The Top 5 Myths … BUSTED!

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Patient Self-Scheduling: The Top 5 Myths ... Busted!

The Current State of Patient Demand 

  • 87% of patients state access to scheduling is getting worse as staffing shortages increase 

  • 82% of patients prefer a provider who offers online scheduling 

  • 61% of patients stop booking due to challenges like being directed to make a phone call 

  • 60% of patients will select one doctor over another if they can book online 

Self-scheduling has gone from a nice-to-have to a deal-breaker for patients. Yet, many providers are concerned that patient self-scheduling tools will not meet their practice needs. Debunk the top 5 patient self-scheduling myths that are holding you back! 


Myth #1: Staff schedulers will follow unique provider booking requirements better than a digital tool.  


Provider Misconception:  

An online tool isn’t robust enough to meet unique scheduling requirements. Human schedulers, familiar with the nuances of each physician, are required to get scheduling right.  

The Reality:  

  • A manual scheduling approach doesn’t guarantee accuracy, consider, how many scheduling errors do you see, despite a manual approach?  

  • A digital scheduling solution will rigorously follow pre-determined workflow specifications, eradicating any chance of inaccuracies in patient reservations. 

  • There are robust patient self-scheduling solutions available that can be tailored to meet the diverse requirements of providers – no matter how many are on staff or how unique their specifications. 

Real-World Results:  

Online scheduling has helped The Orthopaedic Group increase patient acquisition every month — with no complaints from their 26 on-staff providers.  

“The online scheduler has been huge in helping book patients in the way that meets provider requirements, and now it is really on autopilot for us. It has been so seamless and improved our scheduling efficiency.” – Jennifer Lott, Director of Operations at The Orthopaedic Group 


Myth #2: Patients will be more likely to pick the wrong appointment type, location, etc. 


Provider Misconception:  

When given the freedom to self-schedule, patients will make mistakes when selecting critical details, such as the appropriate appointment type, location or provider – leading to missed appointments. 

The Reality: 

  • Today's patients are accustomed to self-service booking (i.e., flights, reservations, etc.)  

  • Smart patient self-scheduling tools can incorporate intuitive interfaces and guidance features that patients are already familiar with, minimizing the chance of mistakes on the patient end.  

  • Built-in logic can prompt patients with relevant questions, ensuring they make informed choices and reducing the likelihood of scheduling errors. 

Real-World Results:  

“When patients book online, we know it will be accurate, which isn’t something you can always guarantee in an over-the-phone interaction. I have not gotten any complaints from physicians. It’s the time we’re living in. Everything is advancing, and I truly believe more and more patients will use this feature.” – Jennifer Lott, Director of Operations at The Orthopaedic Group 


Myth #3: Patients will get booked despite the practice’s unique scheduling policies around insurance verification. 


Provider Misconception:  

Digital tools are not capable of meeting the practice’s complex, policy-driven scheduling requirements, especially around self-pay, Medicare/Medicaid and uninsured patients.

The Reality: 

  • Smart patient self-scheduling tools can be tailored to ensure a practice’s financial and insurance policies are met during the booking process.  

  • Tailor your workflows to add pop-up consents, capture patient signatures and more! 

  • Practices can use build automated eligibility checks into scheduling workflows to ensure: 

  1. Bookings align with their self-pay, Medicare/Medicaid policies.  

  1. Patients are directed to the correct services based on their insurance coverage.  

  1. Practices can see eligibility information before care is rendered. 

Real-World Results: 

“Within our bookings tool we were even able to add a pop-up consent in our scheduling workflows. Now, when someone indicates that they’re uninsured, we can have patients review and acknowledge our financial policies via the online scheduler.” – Jennifer Lott, Director of Operations at The Orthopaedic Group 


Myth #4: Online bookings have higher no-show rates.  

Provider Misconception:  

Online scheduling leads to higher no-show rates because, without human interaction, patients may be more likely to forget or disregard their appointments.  

The Reality: 

  • Studies prove that the scheduling method is not a major contributing factor in no-shows. 

  • The highest contributing factors to patient no-shows are transportation options, degree of sickness and a lack of patient reminders. 

  • Robust patient communication strategies remain the best way to drop no-show rates. 

  • Automated appointment reminders via voice, text message and email keep visits top-of-mind for patients. 

Real-World Results:  

By elevating their reminders strategy, adding multiple message methods (i.e. text, email and voice,) one practice reduced no shows significantly in just one month – to the point where their physicians took notice! 

“All patients want multiple reminders, but their effectiveness depends on patient demographics. Parents want a text, seniors really want a phone call with a message, and then there’s folk in the middle who prefer email, phone and text. Our approach leverages all three, which has been key to our success.” - Brooke Dover, Administrator, Alabama Ophthalmology Associates (AOA).  


Myth #5: No last-minute or urgent appointment slots will be available.  


Provider Misconception:  

Transitioning to a patient self-scheduling solution will cause providers to lose intentional openings in their schedule for patients in need of urgent or last-minute appointments. 

The Reality: 

  • Smart self-scheduling workflows allow practices to designate schedule openings for certain providers, appointment types, etc. 

  • When booking at the last minute, patients likely will not wait until a practice is open so they can call a practice to book an appointment and they certainly don’t want to wait on hold. 

  • Offering 24/7 online scheduling can help patients capture urgent/last-minute slots and help providers build loyalty with patients seeking immediate care. 

Real-World Results:  

Pediatrics practices are prone to see patients who book last-minute appointments, which is why the Pediatric Associates of the Northwest (PANW) tailored their self-scheduling workflows to automatically pinpoint and leave certain appointment bookings open in their schedules.  

“We needed a scheduling solution that put patient preferences first – and made access to care faster and simpler. We found a smart online self-scheduling platform that ticked all our boxes, enabling rapid and flexible deployment to deliver superior patient satisfaction and operational efficiency.” – Annie Cain, Technology Manager, PANW 


  1. Find a solution that puts patients at the core: There are three major things that patients want in a self-scheduling solution: ease of use, convenience and confirmation that their appointment has been scheduled. Look for a proven solution that delivers in all three areas. 

  2. Make the transition to digital as smooth as possible: Moving a scheduling process from manual to digital should not fall solely on your shoulders. A vendor with years of experience working with practices of all sizes and specialties will help you build the scheduling workflows you need, ones that meet even the most convoluted requirements.    

  3. Track your tool’s success: Monitor patient adoption and track the number of patients who start the scheduling process and make it through to booking confirmation, so you can detect and remediate any trouble spots. A comprehensive self-scheduling platform should provide analytics on how many patients complete the scheduling process, the percentage of new versus existing patient bookings and when bookings occur (last minute, after hours, etc.) 

It’s Time to Make the Move! 

See How Clearwave Scheduling Can Help You Boost Patients & Profits 

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