HealthPartners targets its Web-savvy patients

By Healthcare IT News
12:00 AM

An integrated delivery system's initiative to increase patients' access to healthcare through online appointment scheduling is off to a strong start in the Twin Cities.In the first two months that HealthPartners has offered online appointment scheduling, more than 4,000 people have used the application. That is still a small percentage of HealthPartners' patient base of 300,000.

The not-for-profit organization is planning an expansion of the effort in the next few months, and it's involving clinicians in discussions about possible expansion of its e-Care initiatives.

The Internet-based appointment scheduling effort is part of a larger initiative to make accessing care more convenient for patients, said Kevin Palattao, vice president for patient care systems.

HealthPartners went from decentralized scheduling at its hospitals and 22 clinics to a centralized system with a call center making appointments 14 hours a day, seven days a week.

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The Web-based scheduling system, developed as part of the suite of products from Epic Systems Corp., Madison, Wis, is part of HealthPartners' Advanced Access, a program intended to ensure that patients can schedule appointments when it's convenient for them.

The technology piece represented only a small part of the work required to automate scheduling, Palattao said. Standardizing and centralizing scheduling involved significant cultural change.

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