Good alternative...less no shows, patients are more truthful about explaining why they are coming in, and staff has more time to dedicate to patients who need "live" assistance...BD
Online scheduling has also made promising inroads at Tricare, the healthcare program for the Department of Defense and 9.2 million beneficiaries. Tricare introduced the service at military health facilities in 2001. While less than 1 percent of all appointments are booked online, that figure hovers around 20 percent at individual facilities that actively market the service, says John McCafferty, a flight surgeon at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, OK, who's helping implement the technology. Patients quickly master the system, he notes, and end up with the wrong appointment type no more often than if they'd phoned in. There's a lot to like about online scheduling besides higher patient satisfaction, says McCafferty. He estimates that each do-it-yourself appointment saves Tricare $7 in staff time. The no-show rate is 2 percent, compared to 8 percent for over-the-phone appointments. Self-schedulers also are more truthful when they explain why they're coming in.