December 09, 2014

Two-in-Three Patients will Book Medical Appointments Online in Five Years, Accenture Forecasts

Self-Scheduling Tools Expected to Generate $3.2 Billion in Potential Savings for U.S. Health Systems

CHICAGO; Dec. 9, 2014 – Driven by demand for greater convenience, roughly two-in-three patients (64 percent) are expected to book medical appointments online by the end of 2019, generating $3.2 billion in added value or potential savings for U.S. health systems, according to new research by Accenture.

“Just as consumers use online tools to book restaurant reservations or request a cab, patients want the same experience in self-booking a doctor’s appointment,” said Dipak Patel, managing director of Accenture’s patient access solutions. “Evidence also shows health systems can use self-scheduling tools to boost appointment capacity, reduce costs and/or increase productivity.”

Accenture estimates that by the end of 2019, two-thirds (66 percent) of U.S. health systems will offer self-scheduling tools for patients to book, change or cancel their appointments online. Health systems that offer patients the ability to book their medical appointments online will be able to divert 80 percent of their appointment volume, on average, through patient self-scheduling. Accenture estimates 38 percent of total appointments – or 986 million – will be booked in 2019 using self-scheduling tools. Self-scheduling tools have the potential to enable health systems to reallocate as much as $3.2 billion in scheduler capacity in 2019 alone, based on average salaries and productivity.

According to the research, it takes just under a minute to schedule medical appointments online, as compared to scheduling an appointment by phone, which takes an average of 8.1 minutes – with staff transferring patient calls 63 percent of the time. The research also showed that 40 of the top 100 health systems offered patients the ability to self-schedule about half of appointments in 2014, as do 10 percent of smaller U.S. health systems. Across all health systems, Accenture estimates self-scheduling was offered for only 11 percent of appointments, and patients exercised this ability only 2.4 percent of the time, indicating a tremendous opportunity for the adoption of self-scheduling tools.

“Adopting self-scheduling delivers value by enabling call center capacity and workforce to be reassigned to more complex activities,” added Patel. “By making general appointment scheduling available online, health systems can reduce excess capacity, offer 24/7 scheduling and better manage schedules to maximize availability and capacity.”

About Accenture?
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 305,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$30.0 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2014. Its home page is

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Jenn Francis
Accenture Health
+ 630 338 6426