As healthcare institutions grapple with high call volumes and staffing shortages, many are turning to digital solutions for relief – especially to increase patients’ experiences. ImagineSoftware was joined by engagement software provider, openDoctor, for an eye-opening conversation, discussing the implementation of online scheduling solutions to combat such challenges - Drawing from real-world examples, we'll explore how these digital tools are helping to streamline operations, reduce phone traffic, and improve patient experiences in healthcare centers across the world. Read on to find out how healthcare institutions are changing the game with technology.

Watch On-Demand - How to Meet Your Patients in their Digital World | A Patient Engagement Webinar

Featuring Joe Marino, OpenDoctor’s Chief Executive Officer and Avanthi Hulugalle, OpenDoctor’s Director of Client Success and Product Strategy

High Phone Volume

High phone volume appears to be a significant challenge that many healthcare organizations are facing. Avanthi Hulugalle notes that this seems to lead to a significant strain on resources, in which technology can help alleviate drastically. Implementing digital tools for patients to schedule their own appointments online, by phone, or even by text. These technology solutions help reduce workload from staff while streamlining the scheduling process for patients. 

openDoctor serves as an effective solution in mitigating the challenge of high call volumes in healthcare organizations. This digital platform allows patients to schedule appointments themselves, eliminating the need for a middleman and reducing a significant load on administrative staff. It encourages patients to text in their appointment orders, thereby reducing the internal volume of calls. The system is user-friendly and allows for streamlined appointment scheduling. Not only does this save patients from long wait times on phone calls, but it also empowers them to take charge of their healthcare scheduling. 

In terms of the results, one large openDoctor client, handling hundreds of thousands of appointments annually, managed to significantly reduce their call volume by driving patients to use text-in orders. Consequently, the healthcare provider was able to effectively manage their workflow with the existing staff, leading to enhanced efficiency. This is indicative of a digital solution’s potential for reducing reliance on administrative staff, improving patient satisfaction, and potentially even influencing staff retention positively.

Staffing Challenges

Staffing challenges are pervasive in the healthcare sector. Many organizations grapple with the difficulty of hiring, retaining, and training administrative staff, including schedulers. The issue is so pronounced that Joe Marino notes, "from our client base, staffing is the number one challenge and the ability to hire, retain, train schedulers and other administrative positions." 

Even when potential hires are available, the competitive nature of the job market often means they can secure better salaries elsewhere. As Marino observes, "it's something that we see and probably will continue to see." The consequences of these staffing problems can be dire, leading to long wait times and poor customer experience, which further exacerbate the challenges facing healthcare practices.

Read more about staffing solutions here - Staffing Shortages & Losing Tribal Knowledge: Where Medical Billing Automation Can Help

The transition to technology platforms such as ImagineSoftware and openDoctor have proven instrumental in mitigating staffing challenges. Businesses grappling with high-volume calls and scheduling complexities have experienced marked improvement by shifting these processes online – Significantly lessening their internal workload by encouraging patients to text in orders and schedule appointments, thereby reducing the strain on existing staff. This strategy reduces waiting times dramatically, enhancing patient experience and operational efficiency.

The ease of online scheduling eliminates the need for staff to remember details such as room and machine weight limits, further streamlining administrative tasks. An added advantage of this digital shift is the potential for repurposing staff to more critical roles, rather than elimination, thus optimizing resource utilization

Furthermore, integrating online forms into the process not only expedites the patient's visit but also refines the overall workflow. This approach is a testament to how adopting technology can alleviate the pressure on staff, enhance efficiency, and ultimately result in better patient service. Such technological advancements are likely to continue playing a pivotal role in addressing staff-related challenges in the future.

In conclusion, innovative technology integrations, such as ImagineSoftware and openDoctor, help in mitigating common challenges amongst medical practices and healthcare organizations - particularly in dealing with high phone volumes and staffing issues. The use of digital tools empowers patients with the ability to schedule their own appointments, reducing the load on phone lines and enabling efficient use of staff resources. The necessity for efficient staffing was also outlined, with technology offering potential solutions in the face of difficulties in hiring, retaining, and training schedulers. It's clear that the integration of technology can play a significant role in overcoming these hurdles. Thus, it's highly encouraged to consider such technological solutions to better cater to your patients' needs while ensuring optimal use of your resources.

Learn more during our on-demand webinar - How to Meet Your Patients in their Digital World | A Patient Engagement Webinar


Kristen Greer

As Director of Marketing Operations with 15 years proven experience, Kristen focuses on building marketing programs that promote unmatched product innovation and thought leadership while advancing the company vision of driving success for ImagineSoftware clients, partners, and employees through dynamic systems and a culture of excellence. She leads a creative team responsible for accelerating the company’s marketing strategy and brand recognition, providing exceptional attention to detail so that all initiatives flow smoothly from concept to completion.