COVID-19 and the Rise of Online Appointment Booking


We’re nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic. Last March, when we temporarily closed our offices here in Boston and sent everyone to work from home, I couldn’t have foreseen how long we would be working remotely. Nor could I have imagined how everyday things that we took for granted would evolve under COVID-19. The technological and social implications of not only moving an entire workforce out of the office, but also managing remote learning accommodations and even just going to the store have all changed dramatically.

Like many great leaps in science and technology, there’s a strong chance that when we arise from the current situation, we’ll find that overcoming the challenges posed resulted in significant advancements in how we deliver, receive and integrate healthcare services.

One of the evolutions that I’ve found particularly exciting as a healthcare technology professional is the increased use of online patient engagement tools to coordinate services and manage the heightened demand put on hospitals. This paradigm shift has become extraordinarily important at a time when maintaining social distance has become an urgent public health necessity.

We’ve seen that the COVID-19 pandemic has spurned an opportunity and necessity to accelerate technology innovation in healthcare. A 2020 study performed Health Research Policy and Systems concluded that – “Efforts to promote innovation in healthcare are more likely to succeed if they are based on an understanding of the forces that drive the spread and scale-up of innovation.” It’s safe to say that the emergence of COVID-19 as a global public health crisis has proven one of the principal forces driving a resurgence in innovation-focused as improving healthcare delivery.

At Picis, we have seen many of our clients engaging in new and exciting ways of managing their patient backlogs in the face of the pandemic. Which often includes digitizing what have traditionally been direct, person-to-person interactions with the healthcare system.

An example that comes to mind is the case of Ontario, where providers such as Brockville General Hospital use online appointment scheduling tools to allow patients to book COVID-19 consults without the need to interact directly with the healthcare system as they once did. In times such as this, the demand for services may have a considerable impact on a hospital’s ability to operate effectively. Digitizing the appointment booking process can help smooth out some of the peaks in demand. Additionally, these tools can help limit exposure and help drive schedule compliance, which are critical to the success of healthcare services.

Leveraging an online scheduling solution can add a level of decision support to the booking process. By adding assessment tools into the booking system, hospitals can perform initial validation symptoms and complaints without the need for direct interaction. Providing a means to validate the criticality of symptoms, ensure that appointments are booked with the appropriate providers, and potentially redirect patients as needed.

In the current healthcare environment, tools such as online appointment scheduling can help organizations reduce the demands on their staff while at the same time allowing an essential way for their patients to interact.

About the Author

Jay Adams, Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Jay Adams is a senior business and technology leader with more than 12 years of client-facing experience delivering best in class professional services and technical support to a broad range of healthcare organizations. A proven track record of implementing business strategies to drive revenue growth, enable customer success, and build enduring organizations. Over a 10-year period, Jay has moved through every level within the Picis support organization and has been an integral part of working with customers to make the most of their investment in the Picis solutions.

Prior to joining Picis, jay held various technical positions within large organizations, including CVS Health and subsidiary Minute Clinic. Additionally, as a Second Class Petty Officer in the United States Navy served overseas supporting electronic systems for the F/A–18 strike fighter aircraft.

Jay holds a Masters of Business Administration and Bachelors of Science in Information Technology from Western Governors University and a Masters of Science in Information Technology at American Public University.