How Ro designed a faster, more seamless scheduling experience

Written by Ro 

Written by Ro 

last updated: Jun 14, 2022

3 min read

Ro is building accessible, impactful, trusted care that people want. In this series, we’ll take a look at the patient-centric solutions that Ro’ers are building to make this a reality—from technology to simplify the patient experience to tools that help providers seamlessly communicate with patients. Each article will spotlight a specific challenge that our team set out to solve and detail how they used clinical experience, technical expertise, data insights, and patient and provider voices to build a solution.

Patients want to access high-quality care at their convenience. But there is little convenience in setting up a doctor’s appointment today — from call transfers to long wait times. The average wait time for a physician appointment for new patients is 24 days according to a Merritt Hawkins Survey. Furthermore, across specialties, the national average waiting room time currently stands at 18 minutes according to Vitals’ Physician Wait Time Report.

Despite these stats, research from the Center for Connected Medicine surveying health systems found that more than eight-of-ten respondents reported that 20% or fewer of their appointments are booked online directly by patients. Why can’t patients have a more convenient way to access an appointment with their healthcare provider?

While scheduling may seem like a small part of the healthcare experience, it’s critically important — especially in a world where too many people go without care or delay it until a condition progresses. Scheduling a visit is the first step to enabling more people to get the care they need, to follow-up with providers for any necessary questions or concerns, and to adhere to their treatment plan — all of which ultimately influence their health outcomes.

Early on, Ro knew the importance of providing patients with a seamless scheduling experience. However, our previous platform utilized an external tool that added steps and friction to scheduling appointments. Additionally, requiring patients to use this external tool meant they didn’t have access to any of Ro’s support resources during the scheduling process. As a result, nearly 30% of patients who completed an Online Visit dropped off without scheduling their appointment with a provider.

Our team knew that we needed to solve this problem for our patients, but due to the outside tool, we had limited visibility into why patients were not successfully scheduling. That’s what sparked our team to build a native scheduling tool within our platform to enable direct scheduling with our network of affiliated providers.

Our Connection Squad is a team of Ro’ers who build the communication tools for patients and providers on Ro’s platform. This team saw that using an external scheduling platform was limiting our ability to collect insights and design the best possible user experience. The Connection Squad got to work building an in-house scheduling tool within Ro’s platform — one that offers a simple, easy way for a patient to see their provider’s real-time availability and schedule at their convenience.

Once built, the team initially rolled out this new tool for our Ro Mind patients. By embedding the scheduling tool into our platform, we reduced the friction and pain points patients previously faced when trying to schedule an appointment. At the end of the initial roll-out, our team saw that Ro Mind patients using this tool completed scheduling more than 25% earlier compared to patients that used the external third-party experience.

As an added benefit, the tool also enabled providers to sync their patient consultation availability with their live Google Calendar — giving patients the most up-to-date availability possible and giving providers a centralized place to review their schedules.

This native scheduling experience also grants our team valuable data on where our patients may have questions or face issues in their journey. Understanding this “why” through data allows us to continue improving and innovating our platform to provide patients with the best overall experience.

We’re focused on giving patients the ability to get the accessible, impactful, and trusted care that they want — and seamless experiences are a big part of what patients want. Our goal is to identify sticking points — such as scheduling — to remove complexity and improve the experience for our patients.After initially launching for Ro Mind, our new in-house scheduling tool is now live across all of our care verticals — skincare, men’s health, women’s health, weight management, and fertility.This iterative approach to constantly innovate on behalf of patients is central to all that we do — from designing our Online Visits, to building tools to support our affiliated providers, to delivering treatments to patients’ doors.