To date, more than 1,200 providers delivering primary, urgent and emergency department care are offering online scheduling.

A big Catholic health system is making a full-court—and national—press to get patients to use its online appointment scheduling tool.

This morning Ascension, which bills itself as the world’s largest Catholic healthcare system with 153 hospitals in 22 states and the District of Columbia, announced that online appointment scheduling is available in all of the markets it serves.

To date, more than 1,200 providers offering primary care, urgent care and emergency department care are aligned with online scheduling capabilities. Plans to expand online scheduling options to specialty care and diagnostic and imaging services are underway, Ascension says.

“Most of us use technology daily to simplify our lives, and the process of getting the care we need, when and where we need it, should be no different,” says Ascension Medical Group president Joseph Cacchione. “Online scheduling allows consumers to view available appointments at their preferred location and select a time that fits their busy schedules.”

The online scheduling tools are available on the health system’s regional provider sites such as GetAscensionCareSEWI.org in Milwaukee. When Ascension patients access their regional website, they are able to schedule an online appointment with a primary care physician or one of Ascension’s local walk-in clinics. They also are able to schedule a $35 telehealth visit or check in to the emergency room.

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About 20,000 Ascension patients are now making appointments online each month, the system says.  Ascension is launching a national advertising campaign using television, radio, billboards and direct-mail ads to get the word out. “Providing an easy way to immediately schedule appointments strengthens consumer relationships and differentiates our brand,” says Ascension chief marketing officer Nick Ragone.

Each year Ascension conducts 24.5 million outpatient visits, 12.1 million physician office visits, 3.1 million emergency room visits and 1.4 million urgent care visits.

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