Why e-Scheduling May be Healthcare's Most Valuable App

Scott Mace, November 19, 2013

Cheap, ubiquitous teleconferencing technology can turn any visit to a primary care provider into a patient-centered care team huddle, cutting weeks off the referral run-around and reining in costs. But it only works if the right team of providers, specialists, and the patient are available at an agreed-upon time.

Every one of us carries in our pocket or bag one of the untapped technological saviors of healthcare.

No, it's not Twitter. It's the calendar on your phone.

It's one of those things that generally goes unused, but not because it wouldn't be extremely useful. It's because schedule-sharing for years has had a "last mile" problem, an interoperability chasm.

Because of this gap, patients still receive phone calls or emails from providers to remind them of upcoming appointments. Phone calls may be ignored or dumped into voice mail with a dozen other messages which people are too busy to check. Emails can wind up in spam folders. Appointments entered onto some online patient portal may as well be listed on the far side of the moon.

Is it any wonder that despite the best efforts of providers, the healthcare system is continually burdened by missed appointments that leave exam rooms and equipment tied up with no-shows?

This is a problem that must be addressed soon and in a big way. Care may be decentralized, but it must be coordinated.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the former senior technology editor for HealthLeaders Media. He is now the senior editor, custom content at H3.Group.


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