Solving Today’s Challenges of Specialty Care Routing

Clearstep Team

The emergence of online scheduling has enabled patients to book appointments directly with providers for a variety of specialties and services. However, the ability to book an appointment with a specialist doesn’t necessarily mean that a specialist is warranted or is the most appropriate care option for a patient. CareMount COO Nick Korchinski acknowledges the responsibility on health systems to ensure patient are directed to the right care, stating  “[Health System’s need] to manage our patients [to] have a real appreciation of what type of visit they're coming in for, so that we can schedule the appropriate amount of time at the appropriate location so that we have the best opportunity of servicing the patient.”

For the patient, an incorrectly scheduled appointment may lead to a negative experience with a healthcare organization, causing the patient to need a longer visit than initially scheduled or requiring additional visits with a different provider. For the provider, the consequences of incorrectly scheduled appointments are even more serious, resulting in potential revenue loss due to unqualified patients, last-minute cancellations leading to unfilled appointment slots, and even no-show appointments. The challenge is at the forefront of most medical groups' minds. A  study conducted by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) recognizes that nearly half (49%) of all online scheduling challenges physicians are facing are related to no-shows, cancellations, and managing the many different appointment types. So, with the expectation from the patient for a superior digital experience but a responsibility to send providers the correct type of patient, how do healthcare organizations navigate the potential ramifications of online scheduling?

Clearstep understands that deciphering the correct next step for care, and consequently who the best provider type to treat a condition may be, can be complicated. With so many options, it's often difficult for a patient to determine if they need a specialist and in turn, which specialist to select when looking at an online scheduling portal. It is our mission to get people to the correct level of care on their first try and provide a superior patient experience. To help ensure patients are getting to the right provider for their symptoms, and providers are seeing qualified patients, we’ve updated our clinical routing logic to display specialty care, when clinically relevant (based on the review of our team of clinicians). For example, while visiting a primary care physician may be the correct next step for a patient experiencing knee pain, what if they had already visited one and instead were looking for the next level of care? This update will allow us to intelligently direct patients to the best care option, in line with what they were searching for and based on your organization’s available resources.

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