Does Pricing Structure Matter in Patient Self-Scheduling Solutions?

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It’s common for health IT vendors to use various fee structures, most often this is either a flat rate subscription or a price-per-unit (message, appointment, user, etc.). Does it really matter? Does it all even out in the end anyway? According to many physicians experiencing Zocdoc’s price increase to their patient self-scheduling solution, the answer is a resounding, “yes!” It definitely matters. 

Patient self-scheduling is relatively new and offers enormous potential for providers, practices, and healthcare organizations—but if your vendor is charging you a fee for each new booking, you’ll be giving away a significant piece of your practice. Fee structures like this penalize growing physician practices that for bringing in new patients. If that’s not enough, depending on your specialty, you may be paying a higher new booking fee than primary care providers and pediatricians. Finally, there’s some uncertainty around whether or not this kind of fee can be considered “fee-splitting”, a violation of both the Anti-Kickback Statute and AMA code. 

Here’s the good news: you have options! Patient self-scheduling is an important component of the patient journey—expanding patient access and helping healthcare organizations of all sizes retain their current patients and attract new ones. While physicians previously one had only one or two self-scheduling options, now there are more and of those—many are reasonably priced to be within reach for smaller practices as well as larger organizations and can be easily implemented to fit within the workflows of different specialties. 

It’s common for health IT vendors to use various fee structures, most often this is either a flat rate subscription or a price-per-unit (message, appointment, user, etc.). Does it really matter? Does it all even out in the end anyway? According to many physicians experiencing Zocdoc’s price increase to their patient self-scheduling solution, the answer is a resounding, “yes!” It definitely matters. 

Patient self-scheduling is relatively new and offers enormous potential for providers, practices, and healthcare organizations—but if your vendor is charging you a fee for each new booking, you’ll be giving away a significant piece of your practice. Fee structures like this penalize growing physician practices that for bringing in new patients. If that’s not enough, depending on your specialty, you may be paying a higher new booking fee than primary care providers and pediatricians. Finally, there’s some uncertainty around whether or not this kind of fee can be considered “fee-splitting”, a violation of both the Anti-Kickback Statute and AMA code. 

Here’s the good news: you have options! Patient self-scheduling is an important component of the patient journey—expanding patient access and helping healthcare organizations of all sizes retain their current patients and attract new ones. While physicians previously one had only one or two self-scheduling options, now there are more and of those—many are reasonably priced to be within reach for smaller practices as well as larger organizations and can be easily implemented to fit within the workflows of different specialties. 

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