Boston Children’s Hospital is making it easier for patients to find the right specialist by updating its doctor search directory with a modern search engine. Instead of searching on simply location or name, patients will be able to search on insurance status, procedures performed, and appointment availability.

The research hospital is working with Kyruus, a search and scheduling platform that has a 20,000-term clinical taxonomy to describe highly specialized providers’ clinical areas of focus in more detail. This will make it easier for patients to find the right doctor for rare conditions like Diamond Blackfan Anemia, cystic fibrosis, and Fragile X syndrome.

According to a report from Allied Market Research, the global appointment scheduling software market is expected to reach $546 million by 2026. In the “Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2019–2026” report, Allied states that SaaS platforms make up almost 40% of total market share in 2018. SaaS platforms will keep this lead position over the next few years due to low investment costs and affordability of monthly plans. Allied expects mobile scheduling apps to grow at the highest annual growth rate of 14.6% from 2019 to 2026, particularly in the healthcare sector.

Graham Gardner, MD, and CEO of Kyruus, founded Kyruus to solve the problem of outdated information about doctors on websites patients use to find a physician. Gardner’s medical training is in internal medicine and cardiology and he also founded Generation Health, a genetic benefit management company.

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The ProviderMatch Smart Search component of the Kyruus platform provides a familiar search experience that patients have used on sites like Amazon and Kayak–keyword-based searching, simple sorting, and dynamic filtering. Many find-a-doctor sites have only two search fields: Name or location. With ProviderMatch, users can search on many more terms, including specialty, condition, procedure, insurance, location, appointment availability, and personal preferences such as gender.

“Users can factor insurance into their searches to hone in on providers who match their needs and accept their insurance,” he said.

A 2017 MerrittHawkins survey found that people wait 24 days to get an appointment with a doctor, including: Family medicine, dermatology, obstetrics/gynecology, orthopedic surgery, and cardiology. The longest wait time was in Boston at 52 days for each type of specialist. Finding the right specialist is even more critical, given this delay in scheduling an appointment.

“Perhaps the biggest change for certain groups of providers is that patients will be able to not only select the right provider, but also view their available appointments and schedule directly from the website without even needing to speak with an agent,” Gardner said.

In addition to frustrating patients, these inaccurate directories cause lost revenue for health systems. The KyruusOne doctor directories display the same information for schedulers at a health insurance company, patients, and care coordinators at a hospital.

Kyruus is working with the team at Boston Children’s to define the specific fields and terms that will appear on the hospital’s doctor profiles, a key part of the implementation process.

“Beyond the 200 standard fields, our customers also have the flexibility to highlight providers’ approaches to care in their professional statements and/or in provider videos on their profiles,” he said.

The taxonomy also powers the keyword-based search and autocomplete functionality within the ProviderMatch search bar.

Boston Children’s is ranked the number one pediatric hospital in the nation by U.S. News and World Report and joins about 600 hospitals across the US already using Kyruus. Boston Children’s has more than 40 clinical departments and 258 specialized clinical programs, treating rare conditions including heart defects and genetic disorders. In 2018, Boston Children’s was number one in National Institutes of Health funding for all US children’s hospitals, and number six in funding for research institutes at any independent hospital. More than 3,000 researchers work for the hospital.

Gardner expects his company’s collaboration with Boston Children’s to influence product strategy around simplifying complex scheduling workflows and provider requirements.

“Our goal is to make it easier for parents and caregivers to not only find the right providers for their child’s needs, but also take action to arrange their care online in a way that is straightforward and serves to reduce their stress,” he said.

Image: iStockphoto/Natali_Mis