Allowing patients to self-schedule mammograms frees up providers for other tasks, Mayo study shows – Health Imaging

Having patients schedule their own mammograms is much more efficient than requiring radiology staff to do the job and reduces the workload for these employees, according to data published this month.

In September 2019, Mayo Clinic’s primary care practice unveiled an application allowing patients to self-schedule their screening mammograms. Providers involved in the program analyzed one years’ worth of results and reported positive findings, along with some drawbacks, in the December issue of JMIR Medical Informatics.

Patient-scheduled exams, on average, required less than one action from staff, putting to rest the notion they would have to “clean up” appointments made online. Screening exams scheduled in-house, meanwhile, required additional work from staff members.

While app-based scheduling did slightly increase patient no-shows, Rochester, Minnesota-based researchers believe the benefits outweigh the downsides.

“Because automated bulk ordering of mammograms was part of the self-scheduling process, providers were freed up to do other activities besides ordering routine mammograms,” Frederick North, MD, with Mayo’s Department of Internal Medicine, and co-authors added. “As preventive services and other chronic care services take up an increasing amount of provider time, decreasing provider time for this activity is very important.”


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