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That medical groups and health systems share a commitment to delivering convenient, high-quality care in their respective settings isn’t surprising. What is eye-opening, however, is that despite their differences in size and structure, they face many of the same business challenges, such as fending off market competitors, acquiring and retaining patients to ensure profitability, and working to alleviate staff burnout.

What’s different is how they address these challenges, and while it isn’t easy for either, medical groups are far likelier to lack the technical resources and budgets to address these types of business concerns on their own.

The good news is they don’t have to—and it’s why Kyruus acquired Epion Health in September 2022. Working together, the company will offer the most comprehensive patient access and engagement solutions in the market. What that means for medical groups of all sizes is that it’s time to think big. To get started, they should take a page from the health system playbook and focus on digital self-service capabilities that meet consumer preferences while helping to mitigate workforce shortages.

Three Ways Medical Groups Can Integrate Digital Self-Service Capabilities.  

Digital self-service is a growing consumer expectation across all markets—we all expect to do more online, whether that’s making a dinner reservation, booking a flight, or shopping to refresh our wardrobes. In the healthcare space, consumers are looking to take more control of their own health by searching for new providers online—over 60% of consumers do this, according to Kyruus’ latest consumer research—and they want convenient digital self-serve options to help them complete pre-appointment tasks, communicate with providers, and schedule appointments. Here’s what medical groups should be thinking about today:

1. Automating Pre-Visit Tasks

Medical groups can streamline intake tasks by encouraging patients to complete forms online and on their own, before they are even seen by a provider. Automating these tasks is a win-win scenario because it greatly reduces staff time while meeting consumer preference. In fact, Kyruus’ consumer research reveals that compared to phone or in-person options, consumers said they were extremely or very interested in the ability to complete pre-visit tasks online, including:

  • Finding location information (79%)
  • Providing insurance and confirming coverage (76%)
  • Making payments (65%)

2. Broadening Patient Communications

Medical groups can gain operational efficiencies by rethinking how they communicate with consumers about upcoming appointments, routine care, or pre-visit check-in information. Aligning with the shift in preference toward digital channels seen in Kyruus’ consumer research, more consumers would prefer communication through digital options:

  • Text messaging (26%)
  • Email (26%)
  • Mobile app notification (13%)

The remaining 1/3 cite the phone as their preferred method of communication.

3. Enabling Online Appointment Scheduling

Based on growing consumer expectations, online appointment scheduling is perhaps the most significant opportunity that should be considered by medical groups. Kyruus’ research reveals that 40% of consumers prefer online appointment scheduling, particularly those in younger age groups:

  • Millennials prefer online booking over phone or other options
  • Gen X preferences are split evenly between phone and online

And consumer preference for digital self-scheduling is strong: of those who prefer online booking, half would switch providers for the ability to do so.