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Missed appointments cost providers $150 billion annually, report says

Despite stated preference for online options, 88 percent of appointments are still done by phone.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

Photo by <a href="">frances1072</a>Photo by frances1072

Missed and open appointments cost the healthcare industry $150 billion annually, according to a new vendor report that recommends automating the process.

Providers have no-show rates between five and 30 percent nationwide. Each 60-minute open or no-show slot typically costs physicians $200, according to the SCI Solutions report. Meanwhile, 88 percent of appointments are still made over the phone and patients are waiting up to 76 days from when a referral is issued to the actual appointment for diagnostic procedures.

While the majority of patients, 77 percent, say the ability to book, change or cancel appointments online is important to them, only 2.4 percent of appointments are self-scheduled.

Recommendations include automating the process and offering patients self-scheduling options and appointment reminders.

[Also: Prime Surgeons launches online concierge service for on-demand surgical care]

Statistics such as these are fueling consumerism and the drive for on-demand healthcare, especially among millennials, who want to deal with healthcare in the same retail-centric in which they acquire other goods and services.

Zoom, which serves patients in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, Washington, is trying to buck the traditional healthcare system by offering what it bills as convenient, affordable care in a hip and user-friendly environment where the prices are posted on the walls.

[Also: 2016 the year of consumerism in healthcare as providers rush to adapt]

Zoom started as a single clinic in Portland 10 years ago, and was created by doctors Dave Sanders and Albert DiPiero to address problems that have plagued medical care for decades: rising costs, poor service and low quality, Sanders said. "We fundamentally wanted to change the system," he said.

It now has more than 30 locations. Last year, the company expanded in Portland and now offers dental care, mental health services and chronic disease management, as well as appointments with cardiologists, dermatologists and other specialists.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse