How the Data Gap in Online Scheduling Affects Your Patient Acquisition Strategy

February 20, 2020 | Stericycle Communication Solutions

Your health system is doing everything right to acquire new patients. In today's environment of consumerism and competition, you've taken steps to optimize your online presence so that you appear at the top of the search engine page. You're driving consumers to your website and presenting them with choices of providers, services and locations. You even offer online scheduling so consumers can check availability in real time and book an appointment online. You've made the consumer experience as convenient as possible. 

Yet … for some reason, patient acquisition rates still aren't growing as much as you thought they would. Or growth is acceptable in some areas and low in others. What's going wrong?

Missing out on opportunities to acquire patients 

Often, the first place you might think to look would be your website analytics. But it all looks fine. You're driving a good amount of traffic to your website, people are spending time on critical pages there, and they're interacting with your scheduling system to book appointments. There are no gaps in the journey, nor any errors or problems with how either the website or your online scheduling is working.

However, what if there were a significant gap between the number of visitors coming to your website and the resulting numbers of appointments made for new patients? Would you know if that were indeed the case? If only you could figure that out and more importantly, if only you knew why some or many people decided not to book an appointment after spending time interacting with your website.

Diagnosing the problem

To get to the bottom of a patient health issue, a provider can order diagnostic tests. Based on the data from the tests, the provider can then eliminate certain conditions, zero in on the right diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment.

But many health systems don't have the right diagnostic tests and resulting data to shed light on their patient acquisition problems. They lack the hard data they need to make informed decisions about next steps.

That's because relying on basic website tracking like Google Analytics doesn't give detailed insight into why patients aren't booking an appointment with your health system. You can see that they come to your site, from where they're coming to your site, and you can see the pages they are interacting with, but you don't know what happens from there.      

Asking and answering the right questions

To understand the root causes that drive patient acquisition under-performance, your health system must be able to answer specific questions about consumer behavior that occurs on your website and within your scheduling software. For instance, you need a way to know:

  • How many consumers came to your website, searched for and located a provider, but did not book an appointment with that provider or any other one within your system?
  • How many people came to your website and searched for a specialty, service, or location, but did not find what they were looking for?
  • How often is someone searching for a provider with a preferred set of skills and characteristics, but either don't find what they were looking for or don't book an appointment?   

Answering these questions with hard data gives you the insight you need to understand where your health system may be leaking revenue because of patients unable or unwilling to book the service and/or provider they need, when and where they need it.

Getting useful data to inform evidence-based, actionable plans

The right online scheduling system can give you valuable insight into the gaps in supply of providers and services in certain locations that prevent your health system from meeting consumer demand and keep acquisition rates below target.

For instance, you could determine if there's a significant portion of consumers from a certain location who were searching for Spanish-speaking primary care doctors who are female. You'd see that consumers searching on these terms would be presented with a choice of only one provider, and she's booked up months in advance. With detailed data, you could then put a plan into action to hire providers that help you meet this demand and convert those visitors to your website into patients.  

This type of insight lets you address both underlying causes of over-utilization of services as well as underserved demand, which is exactly what you need to succeed in today's healthcare environment. 

To learn more about how you can take advantage of convenient intelligent scheduling in your health system, request a demo now.

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