Archive for October, 2008

Eye doctors rely on upon phone reminder for patient relationships

Neil Kokemuller October 31st, 2008


The general trend in business and industry continues to emphasize customer relationships and retention as the keys to long-term success and profitability. This is just as true in the healthcare sector as it is in other business arenas. Eye doctors are among the health care providers who rely on building and maintaining relationships with patients. The benefits to successful long-term relationships are many. Most research suggests it costs as much as five times as much to acquire a new client as it is to retain one. Thus, keeping current patients happy and coming for eye care needs is important for eye doctors. A great tool for helping in this relationship maintenance is the appointment phone reminder.

An appointment phone reminder can be used for a couple different purposes in order for the eye doctor’s practice to keep in contact with patients. First, many patients are forgetful or do not keep good calendars. No-shows are costly to any medical provider. A no-call missed appointment creates an empty schedule void that prevents the doctor from earning revenue. An advanced appointment reminder software solution can be programmed to complete routine daily reminder program calls to let patients know that they have a pending appointment. Along with reducing no-shows, this can also help improve call rates for patients who need to cancel and might forget to call otherwise.

Another tremendous benefit of a good phone reminder program is the ability to stay in touch with patients after a visit to help ensure they schedule a follow-up, or a next visit. As with any profit-generating operation, latching on to customers after a visit is crucial to maintaining a connection with them. The automated appointment reminder solution can also be programmed to make telephone reminder calls to patients who need to schedule a follow-up visit. Eye doctors rely on follow-up visits as an important revenue generator as well as for a routine health check after care has been given. Consumers can easily forget the importance of this follow-up visit and may avoid making the call for an appointment without the phone reminder.

Everyone needs eye care at some point in time. Most eye doctors do use some types of ongoing advertising and promotion campaigns to attract new clients. People move, lose touch, or move on to other providers. This attrition requires that providers always seek to bring in new prospects. However, the long-term cost reduction and profit benefits of maintaining good relationships with established patients are hard to argue with. A patient appointment reminder is more than just an economic tool, however. It is also a customer service. Patients do appreciate the phone reminder in today’s fast-paced world. People get busy and it is easy to forget appointments at times. The eye doctor that provides a friendly automated appointment reminder service can appear genuinely concerned and helpful. This not only secures existing patient relationships, but word of mouth spreads as your patients tell others about what a great business practice you operate.

How to build a 24/7 medical front office?

Neil Kokemuller October 31st, 2008

There are many reasons medical professionals, such as medical doctors, optometrists, chiropractors, psychologists and the like are turning to a best in class 24/7 medical answering service. First, many medical professionals are actually required by law to offer some type of 24/7 medical answering service. Since most small-to-medium-sized providers simply cannot afford to pay a part-time receptionist to cover slow times on the evenings and overnight, this challenge can often be tricky. Many have elected very limited voice response systems over the years that may fit the bill, but lack the customer service qualities that are an advantage for the practice.

An after-hours answering service is important in the healthcare environment because health and illness are unpredictable factors of life. People get ill, have accidents, or need help during non-regular office hours. By having a 24/7 medical answering service in place, providers not only meets any legal requirements, they also offer a tremendous service to people in emergency situations when the office is closed.

Thanks to advances in technology, there are now opportunities for a virtual answering service that can respond to calls for simple appointment planning, or direct transfer to the appropriate medical professional, in cases of emergency.

There are other great benefits to a top virtual answering service that are of business importance to any practice. First, many medical receptionists operate in busy offices and are tasked with many responsibilities. Dealing with in-clinic patients, answering phones, filing, and completing required insurance paperwork are just some of the important duties of a receptionist. High turnover is common in many medical practices as receptionists become overwhelmed and stressed. Their stress, combine with patients being left on hold, getting a busy signal, or being unattended to, are all negative factors to the success of a medical practice.

The virtual answering service can be a great backup answering service solution as it is obtained through one upfront cost and can come with little to no ongoing maintenance and care. This is a much better option for many providers than hiring another employee.

Live receptionists are then freed up to respond to pressing needs, and should be able to offer a higher level of personalized service to those that need it. Even more appealing from a service standpoint, the best virtual call answering service can sort calls based on need and respond appropriately. Some patients just want to efficiently schedule their next visit. Others need immediate assistance in an emergency. A great answering service can immediately transfer the patient to the medical professional in an emergency. Live receptionists are often slow to respond or deliver messages and providers may be less apt to reply immediately upon receiving a human message.

The 24/7 medical answering service is therefore a great tool to meet legal requirements for 24/7 medical answering support. It offers excellent cost savings and revenue-generating advantages. Most importantly, it makes employees and customers much more satisfied, which ultimately drives the long-term success of any medical practice.

Can you afford a virtual receptionist?

Kristen Bailey October 31st, 2008

As a doctor or office manager at a medical office, you probably keep up to date on new ways to make the office more efficient and cost effective. Everyone likes it when things run smoothly. You just noticed that there is a new service out there that can help you. It is a virtual receptionist which can schedule appointments over the phone or online, make reminder calls for you, and even sort routine and emergency calls.

The idea sounds great but you have to weigh the costs and benefits to see if having a back up receptionist is worth it for you. To help your homework, here is a list of benifits for using virtual receptionist:

  • An appointment reminder service will down patient no-shows, therefore increase business income.
  • The fact that it is 100% maintenance free. You actually don’t have to install or maintain anything since the virtual receptionist is an online program.
  • Virtual receptionist service is at a fraction of the cost of hiring extra staff for your front office. Virtual receptionist works 24/7 and will not require any benefit or compensation you normally have to pay to your employee.
  • When you can use a virtual receptionist for trivial repetitive task, you staff can focus their time on more important task such as patient care and medical billing.
  • Quicker response time for patients calling in or going online to schedule their next medical appointment. Better service will lead to positive word-of-mouth and attract more patients to your office.
  • You offer more option for patients to schedule their appointments 24/7.

While virtual receptionist has gradually become common to the medical practices around the country, you’ll find it the best business decision you ever made to “hire” a virtual receptionist. Such a new hire will bring your office to a higher level of professionalism. In fact, ss more and more offices add the virtual receptionist to their employee list, you will simply risk your competitiveness by not having one.

Optometrists seeing the benefits of medical answering service

Neil Kokemuller October 29th, 2008

Optometrists, like other healthcare professionals, must focus on more than just quality eye care when managing the business side of eye care. To most people, eye care providers help us to see optimally and tend to any eye concerns that come up in our lives. To an optometrist, eye care is a business as well as a passion. As such, customer service, customer retention, and effective cost management are all important business concerns.

Many optometrists operate with one receptionist managing their front desk. This may generally be okay, but it may also be a hindrance to delivery of the best customer service. Front desk receptionists are often overwhelmed with patients and phone calls on busy days. They also must keep up with all important insurance claims paperwork. These demands and the ability to offer an after-hours answering service are factors that have prompted many eye care professionals to turn to a best in class, 24/7 medical answering service.

A 24/7 backup receptionist enables optometrists to have a backup solution by day and an after-hours answering service by night, in order to optimize customer service. Most consumers still prefer the ability to have questions and concerns addressed by a live receptionist. However, these consumers also would rather have basic needs, such as appointment scheduling, handled immediately by a quality virtual answering service, as opposed to waiting on hold for a busy receptionist. Customer service in today’s fast-paced, high consumer demand culture is a balance between a personalized offering and an efficient service-delivery.

Most optometrists also do not have a receptionist on hand after hours. In many markets, there is simply not enough demand to do so. Thus, after-hours callers are traditionally greeted by a simple voice-messaging system. They leave a message and hope to have their call returned sometime the next business day. A top after-hours answering service allows patients to call anytime, day or night, for appointment scheduling, emergency contact transfers, and other efficiently handled needs. The virtual answering service is intelligent enough organize typical calls basic on the need and respond accordingly based on its programming.

Along with the customer service benefits, a 24/7 optometrist answering service can be a tremendous relief to regular staff. Live receptionists are supposed to deliver great customer service through a personalized approach to service and excellent phone skills. The challenge in single-receptionist operations, or busy clinics, is that a steady flow of patient needs, including selection and trial of glasses and contacts, is stressful. Many receptionists are overwhelmed dealing with in-store patients, phone calls, and still trying to keep up with required paperwork. Additionally, most clinics rely on receptionists to deliver all important appointment confirmation calls, although all-around virtual medical office assistant solutions can also be programmed to perform this routine task.

Optometrists who understand the value of happy employees and satisfied customers are recognizing the benefits of the virtual answering service. A top 24/7 medical answering service can be one of the best moderate business investments for any practices. Another benefit is that some solutions require little to no ongoing maintenance.

Online scheduler helps psychiatrists focus on patient care

Neil Kokemuller October 29th, 2008

Psychiatrists are among the more stressed groups of professional workers, according to many research studies. Though the work that they do is extremely vital, and potentially life saving at times, the challenges they deal with can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. For many small and medium-sized psychiatry practices, there are other stressors on the job aside from just the day to day rigor of managing client relationships and providing support. Some providers do not use a receptionist as it is not cost-effective for them to do so. Other practices rely on one support person to manage patient registration, phone calls, other operational needs, and tedious insurance paperwork that is important. For these practices, a technology solution such as an online scheduler can either be a primary automated appointment scheduling solution or a value-added service for patients looking for efficient appointment scheduling.

The online scheduler is often part of a broader solution portfolio known as the virtual medical office receptionist. This backup receptionist solution is intended to offer an automated support solution as a backup when a live receptionist is unavailable or too busy to deal with immediate patient needs. Given the rapid growth in online business, an online scheduler is a great fit for any psychiatry practice. The web-based psychiatry appointment scheduling opportunity is a great way to catch people searching online for treatment solutions. It is also a convenient service solution for current patients who prefer to use the online scheduler as opposed to dealing with busy phones or being placed on hold.

There is no question the market trend is for more business transactions being completed online. Many non-web businesses, including travel, hospitality, and healthcare are seeing tremendous increases in online interaction from prospects and patients. This means that those providers who fail to connect through the web may miss or lose patients. Online psychiatrist appointment scheduling may be a major source of appointment bookings for psychiatrists who use no receptionist or who rely on one receptionist for all operational needs.

Another advantage of online appointment scheduling is that it can enable otherwise 9-5 practices to allow patients a 24/7 appointment scheduling solution. This is an excellent opportunity for patients who may not have a chance to consider their mental health needs until after their own work hours. Additionally, some mental health patients deal with ongoing stresses and instable challenges. The ability to respond immediately to schedule an appointment through a 24/7 patient scheduling tool can be necessary for these people.

If all of the great benefits described are not enough to convince any psychiatry practice to add automated appointment scheduling to their service, the modest up front cost, and low maintenance needs of the best solutions should. Many best in class virtual receptionist solutions have no maintenance needs for hardware, software, or care. This makes the web-based doctor appointment scheduler an excellent value and a great business tool for good psychiatry practices. Patients appreciate the convenience and efficiency they get from this 24/7 patient scheduling resource.

Medical answering service keeps patients happy

Neil Kokemuller October 29th, 2008

Many medical providers are starting to recognize that delivering quality customer service to patient and prospects in the healthcare industry is more complex than it used to be. Most patients prefer the ability to speak with live front desk receptionists when possible. The live receptionist has the best ability to offer a personalized service solution to the customer. However, in many practices that are overwhelmed with more traffic than the receptionist can handle, patients are being placed on hold or having to wait to have their concerns addressed. In these situations, patients would clearly rather have their needs handled immediately by a best in class technology solution such as a virtual answering service.

Through a top of the line virtual answering service, a medical practice can set up a call transfer on “busy” or on a “no-answer” incoming call. This enables the medical practice to offer the most optimized customer service solution available to consumers. When available, the live receptionist answers the telephone. When busy or not at the desk, the virtual answering service steps in as the backup receptionist. This way, patients can have immediate or basic needs met quickly. Some patients simply need to make an appointment. The virtual 24/7 medical answering service can manage this process quickly and efficiently. Other times, patients need immediate help in an emergency. The virtual answering service can quickly connect these callers with the right emergency contacts.

Customer service has certainly taken on a new meaning in today’s fast-paced, immediate gratification culture. People are just as concerned with efficient service as they are personalized service. The internet economy has ingrained consumers with the mindset that convenience and concise service are equivalent to quality personalized service, at least when compared with inattentiveness as the alternative. Customer relationships are undoubtedly still a key to long-term medical practice success. A moderate up front investment in a high-tech virtual answering service is a good addition to a complete customer retention program.

Medical emergencies can be traumatic for people, or those close to them who help out. A medical answering service can connect callers to the doctor or provider without any delay. The same cannot always be said about human service providers. Human receptionists sometimes struggle to relay a patient’s message. The patient then must wait for the doctor to call back.

Another benefit of the virtual answering service is that it is a 24/7 medical answering service. This means that patients can now call and schedule appointments or get immediate support after hours. Previously, many medical practices had not after-hours response system and callers simply had to leave voice messages that likely did not get returned until the next day of operation. The 24/7 medical answering service is the answer to many of the customer service challenges faced by medical practices looking to compete in the new economy. It can also be a great support as a backup receptionist to the overwhelmed receptionist who deals with patients and also needs to complete necessary insurance claims.

Appointment reminder solution important business tool for optometrists

Neil Kokemuller October 29th, 2008

New technology has been improving the ability of optometrists to collect revenue that otherwise might be lost. As is the case with the entire health care industry, one good example is that eye care providers see a significant impact from their level of success scheduling and maintaining appointment times.

Typically, optometrists only collect revenue when appointment times are filled and kept by patients. The challenge is ensuring that a full schedule of patients leads to an optimal revenue performance. One important customer service technique that can significantly improve a practice’s efficiency with appointment times and revenue generation is the appointment reminder call. This sounds simple enough. Unfortunately, execution of appointment reminder calls in an accurate and timely manner can be difficult for a busy receptionist.

The good news for many eye care practices, and their overwhelmed receptionists, is that a best in class automated telephone reminder solution is available. A top of the line backup receptionist is a great help for a busy receptionist. This virtual receptionist can assist with many routine tasks that receptionists sometimes struggle to complete. Receptionists often must manage multiple in-clinic patients, constant phone calls, and still complete necessary insurance paperwork. All of these tasks can keep them from completing the all-important daily appointment reminder calls. Fortunately, with moderate up front investment, and little to no ongoing maintenance, an appointment reminder software solution can be the answer to great revenue generation for any optometrist.

An online patient appointment reminder is a great way to accurately and efficiently reminder scheduled patients of upcoming appointments. Many patients get caught up in the day-to-day rigor of life and can forget appointments, or neglect to make calls to cancel. A simple appointment reminder message through a quality and convenient automated reminder can make the difference between a high-revenue customer, and an empty appointment slot.

Along with bringing in important revenue, the appointment reminder is a key customer service and customer retention factor. Many patients appreciate the reminders and feel more connected with a provider if they are contacted consistently and are assisted with keeping up on appointments. Some patients get upset if they miss an appointment and cannot reschedule for weeks, potentially, at a busy clinic. Another advantage with the best phone reminder solutions is a multilingual appointment reminder that enables reminder calls to be effectively completed with non-English speaking clients.

The automated appointment reminder is beneficial to all key parties involved. The optometrist can save important revenue from being lost to missed appointments. Customers are happier as they do not miss appointments and they receive efficient and accurate appointment reminder calls. Employees feel less stressed from performing the routine but time-consuming calls and can deliver better service and complete required paperwork. All of these are reasons that any high-quality eye care provider or practice should strongly consider adding a virtual backup receptionist to its offering. It might be the best investment a provider could make considering the multiple benefits, modest cost, and lack of maintenance needed.

Why Your Medical Practice Will Benefit from an Automated Receptionist

Denise Clark October 28th, 2008

A virtual medical office receptionist can provide any medical office environment with 24/7 backup receptionist services without the downside of having to pay high overhead or overtime. Take a look at a handful of great reasons why your medical practice could benefit from 24/7 medical reception capabilities.

Increase and Enhance Office Efficiency

Medical staff and patients alike know that an efficient office is an effective office. An automated receptionist will take a lot of the ‘grunt work’ out of daily chores and tasks that take so much time. Don’t spend half your day dealing with appointment reminders, fielding patient phone calls, dealing with cancellations and no-shows.

Increase your Medical Practice Income

Reducing patient no-shows will help your practice grow in patient satisfaction, loyalty and income. A virtual medical office receptionist will help enable live medical staff to spend more time focusing on patient care.

Keep your Patients Happy!

Patients don’t like to be kept waiting. If your receptionist is busy with other clients, phone lines are busy, patients are transferred to voicemail, or receive messages telling them to try and call back later. Patients using an automated receptionist will not have to deal with this, and be happier and more satisfied with provider services.

Keep your Staff Happy!

Medical staff is trained to help provide patient care. While answering phones may be necessary, it shouldn’t take away from their ability to care for patients and soothe concerns and worries. A backup receptionist allows medical staff to do what they were trained to do, which is to provide superlative patient care.

Conveniently Reach Your Staff

Patients wishing to speak with a particular nurse or a physician will be transferred by voice commands to specific staff members’ office telephone numbers using 24/7 medical answering service software. No more looking for staff, placing patients on hold, or wasted time waiting for connections to go through.

No Maintenance!

A virtual receptionist doesn’t require special hours, time off, overtime, or holiday pay. An automated virtual medical office receptionist comes with 100% maintenance free software utilized over a secure server. No glitches, no complaints.

Try-It-Out-Offers

A good automated, 24/7 medical answering services will offer no risk trials. This is a perfect opportunity for all types of medical practices to discover the benefits and opportunities that automated medical receptionist backup support can provide.

No Patient Database Migration Necessary

One of the greatest benefits of a quality automated medical receptionist backup support system is that you don’t need to spend hours transferring or migrating databases. Ask for a package that allows patient identification to be added or updated when appointments are made.

Secured Data

Secure data support is available for most virtual answering service products, virtual medical office receptionist products and online scheduler and reminder software. Your data will be secure and safeguarded with the latest technologies that meet HIPAA and client care standards.

Free 24/7 Tech Support

You don’t have to be a computer expert to run quality automated backup receptionist software. Online support should be offered and included for the lifetime of all software selections and choices.

Next »