ATLANTA, Ga. – Scheduling an appointment with a doctor used to require reaching someone in the office by phone during office hours, making the appointment in-person or walking into the office and hoping for the best. Piedmont Healthcare became the first major healthcare system in Georgia to offer online scheduling in 2014, making it easier for patients to receive care, and Piedmont plans to expand the service to every physician who is available for appointments – nearly 1,600.
With the expansion in earnest, patients have responded by making nearly 13,000 online appointments per month, one of the largest totals for any healthcare system in the United States. By using the MyChart patient portal, the Piedmont Healthcare website (piedmont.org) or the Piedmont Now app on their mobile devices, patients can book appointments with Piedmont’s physicians and all Piedmont Urgent Care and Piedmont QuickCare at Walgreens locations.
“Our goal is to provide the best experience for every patient, every time and we know that scheduling an appointment can be a hassle,” said Matt Gove, Chief Consumer Officer for Piedmont Healthcare. “By making it easier to book an appointment, we are making a doctor or retail clinic visit as easy as booking a restaurant reservation or hotel room.”
Online scheduling at piedmont.org, on the Piedmont Now app or by using MyChart often makes Piedmont QuickCare the quickest and most convenient way for patients to get the care they need. Nearly half of the patients served by Piedmont QuickCare have booked their appointments online and many have commented, according to Piedmont data, about the convenience of being able to wait in the comfort of their home until their appointments and being seen right away once they arrive. Many bookings – 45 percent according to Piedmont’s metrics – are scheduled outside of normal weekday office hours and on the weekends.
Patients are now able to schedule appointments with all of Piedmont’s employed physicians. At present, 408 providers are available for online scheduling, meaning that, in all, roughly one-third of Piedmont’s physicians are currently available for online scheduling. By June 30, 2019, more than 60 percent of Piedmont’s physicians will be available for online scheduling.
In a survey of more than 1,000 participants conducted by the Piedmont Advisors Group, a group of 3,000 Piedmont patients who agree to answer periodic survey questions by Piedmont’s Marketing Department, nearly one-third of respondents said they had scheduled an appointment online using the technology, which is less than one year old. Among those who had used online scheduling, more than 90 percent of respondents said that it was easy to schedule their appointment online and 83 percent said they were in the “somewhat satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” categories with the process.
Among one key age group, ages 45 to 54, 41 percent (137 of the survey’s 1,197 respondents) said they had scheduled an online appointment.
“When you don’t feel well, you want to do everything you can to start feeling better as soon as possible,” Gove said. “We know that people prefer to make appointments online, and on their own time, and we’re happy to give them that opportunity.”