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Sun 26 Jan 2020 01:33 PM

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Okadoc: The doctor is always in

Okadoc is free for patients and is available across www.okadoc.com or the app for iPhone and Android

Okadoc: The doctor is always in

Okadoc is the UAE’s leading doctor booking platform that aims to improve the healthcare experience for patients, doctors as well as operators and owners of hospitals and clinics.

Patients can use Okadoc to find in-network (insurance) doctors across any location, specialty, language spoken, or gender and view real-time availabilities, instantly book appointments, receive reminders, reschedule, cancel or even request earlier availability. Okadoc is free for patients and available across www.okadoc.com or the app for iPhone and Android.

For healthcare providers, Okadoc provides both a 24/7 intelligent medical calendar system and a fully interoperable solution that integrates with most hospital information systems (HIS). Furthermore, doctors, clinics, and hospitals can reduce ‘no-shows’, optimize their bookings, attract and engage new patients.

CHALLENGES FOR PATIENTS

Problem – Finding a doctor

Existing solution: To search for a doctor that matches their precise requirements and preferences, patients have traditionally relied on information obtained by family members or friends or use Google. However, these approaches provide neither the depth nor the accuracy of the information required to enable a decision as important as to choosing the right doctor. Moreover, the references to such doctors can be biased due to search engine optimisation techniques. They are also unable to provide other decision-critical information such as the type and policy of insurance the doctors would accept for consultation and treatment.

Okadoc solution: Having in mind the nuances associated with the searchability and discoverability of doctors, Okadoc designed a platform conducive to providing a comprehensive solution to this problem through a wide range of filters and criteria that help patients find the right doctor for them with pinpoint accuracy.

First of all, the platform offers a completely unbiased list of medical professionals who fit the exact requirements of the patient. All data on Okadoc’s platform is based on real time direct input by its hospital and clinic partners who have complete control over the profile of their doctors. Information about insurance can also be updated by healthcare providers in real time. Patients can even choose a doctor based on their language, academic qualifications, professional experience and even find out in which country they studied and practiced medicine previously.

Problem: Booking an appointment

Existing solution: Calling the hospital or the clinic to ask for the availability of a specific practitioner or a specialist whose availability matches your needs. Another way is to make a booking request through a lead generation platform or by filling in an online booking request form on a hospital’s website, either way requires the facility to call you back to confirm the appointment.

These methods can be time consuming and inconvenient especially if the call/booking request is made outside working hours of the hospital. Making a call to a hospital on a Friday or after 6pm you will be greeted with a polite, yet unproductive automated response listing working hours and urging you to call back later.

Okadoc solution: Through Okadoc, a doctor can be booked online on 24/7, every day including weekends and public holidays. Thanks to the automated platform and robust functionality, the entire process of making an instantly confirmed online doctor’s appointment booking will last between 25 and 40 seconds. This includes the time needed to browse through the doctor’s schedule to find the day and time that is convenient to the patient. This is made possible because Okadoc is the only platform in the region that is integrated with most of the international and local hospital information systems (HIS).

Problem: Manage your appointment

Existing solution: Cancelling or rescheduling an existing appointment can only be done via calling the facility. It can take anything between four minutes to four days depending on the time or day the attempt is made. If one tried to request earlier availability of an existing booking due to a worsening condition of the patient, the experience is usually the same. A promise may be made by the call centre, but the patient hardly ever receives a call back to visit the doctor earlier. In fact, according to Okadoc’s research only one out of 100 calls made to hospitals and clinics requesting earlier availability is met with success.

Okadoc solution:  Patients can cancel an appointment in five seconds with two clicks or reschedule in seven seconds with three clicks and do so any time of the day any day in the week; they can also request earlier availability and be certain that once a doctor’s slot becomes available, they will receive a system alert which they can take advantage of on a first-come, first-served basis.

Problem: Remembering your appointment

Existing solution: Few healthcare providers make the effort to call patients to remind them about their upcoming appointment, however in many cases their calls remain unanswered either because the patient is unavailable and busy at home, the office, or out and about or simply won’t answer the phone from an unknown number.

Some providers may send an SMS to remind patients of their appointments. But we receive so many SMSs every day from various companies, brands, banks, utilities, friends etc, an SMS from the hospital goes unnoticed most of the times.

Okadoc solution: Through Okadoc’s reminder system, the appointment is automatically added to the patient’s calendar and patients will receive various different types of alerts that include push notifications, email and SMS. Patients can also reply back to these notifications in case they wish to cancel or reschedule the appointment.

CHALLENGES FOR PROVIDERS

Problem: Offering patients a 24/7 booking solution

Existing solution: None – The majority of hospitals and clinics accept doctor’s booking through their call centres only during working hours, which is highly inconvenient. According to Okadoc data, 24 percent of total calls to facilities are missed or dropped by patients with many of these calls occurring after working hours.

Okadoc solution: Through Okadoc’s platform and/or Okadoc’s white label solution for providers, patients can book appointments on a 24/7 basis online. Patients receive real-time access to each doctor’s availability schedule. This is possible because Okadoc is already integrated to local and global HIS.

Additionally, Okadoc offers a call tracking tool which tracks missed calls and also directs patients to its 24/7 online booking system. This way, healthcare providers can still empower a patient to book a medical appointment even when a call goes amiss.

Problem: Reducing no shows

Existing solution: Calling patients to confirm appointments is not very effective as patients do not usually answer calls from unknown numbers.  Missed appointments are shown to lead to lower efficiencies in the healthcare system, preventing patients from getting timely access to care, and wasting valuable clinical resources, including physicians’ time. There are various reasons for failing to show up to an appointment, which in the UAE is a significant issue with 37 percent of patients failing to show up, causing revenue losses to healthcare providers.

According to Okadoc’s research, 50 percent of patients in the UAE missed appointments because they ‘forgot’; 40 percent of patients had tried to reschedule their appointment but couldn’t due to long waiting times or out of hours; and just 10 percent of people said they ‘didn’t care’ about not turning up.

Okadoc solution: Okadoc’s platform helps hospitals and clinics reduce no show by up to 75 percent by helping patients to remember their appointment through its smart, multi-channel and high-frequency reminders functionality which partners can configure according to their bespoke requirements. It also provides the functionality to very easily cancel or reschedule the appointment for those who wish to do so. This helps hospitals and clinics know that their patient won’t be turning up in order to update doctors’ calendars in real time and offer earlier availability to those who actually need it.

Finally, Okadoc also tries to educate the public about the harmful effect no-shows have by depriving patients in need of the chance to seek treatment sooner. It does so, by limiting the booking functionality on its platform to end-users after three no-shows.

Problem: Optimising doctor schedules

Existing solution: Double booking – Providers will often try to pre-empt a possible no-show by double-booking the doctor’s schedule. This leads to waiting times of as long as 60 minutes for patients whose appointment have been double-booked.

“Okadoc offers a call tracking tool which tracks missed calls and also directs patients to its 24/7 online booking system”

Okadoc solution: Okadoc enables hospitals and clinics to optimise their doctor schedules by automatically alerting patients on earlier availabilities. This helps fill in cancelled slots, helping providers to better manage the schedules of their practitioners. These efficiencies improve patient satisfaction and increase loyalty while reducing cost and maximising revenues and profitability.

Problem: Reducing administrative costs and increasing efficiency

Existing Solution: None. Many facilities receive a large volume of calls and managing these calls can be a significant cost to the facilities in terms of staff costs, training and time. Additionally, there are many instances of miscommunication or human error resulting in misunderstanding, wrong information and an unhappy patient experience.

Okadoc solution: Thanks to Okadoc’s 24/7 online booking solution, patients have an alternative option to book an appointment which can reduce the burden on the call centre. Additionally, every missed call is logged diverting patients to the online system. The system also sends reminders with practical info like maps, address, parking instructions to reduce toxic calls.

Problem: Access to data and analytics

Existing Solution: Very few providers have the platform or the expertise to track and analyse their data to help them offer a better patient experience and increase their operational efficiency.

Okadoc solution: Okadoc offers providers a detailed dashboard with real time analytics helping them better understand the online journey and behaviour of their patients. Views, clicks, calls, and bookings are captured, tracked and visualised at the facility, specialty and practitioner levels.

LOOKING FORWARD: TELEMEDICINE

To further enhance the patient experience and improve access to healthcare, Okadoc will soon be launching a service to providers to enable them to offer remote virtual consultations to their patients. Telemedicine provides patients with the convenience of seeing their doctor from home for follow ups or check-ups that do not require the doctor to see the patient in-person. This makes it easier for patients to stay healthy and can provide much needed flexibility for busy urban professionals as well as for rural or underserved populations.

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