Archive for November, 2008

Why you need to consider investing in a remote receptionist service

November 21st, 2008

Most businesses if not all require excellent customer relations in order to flourish and a healthcare business is no different. Businesses interact with people on many levels; from the customers to the suppliers and everybody else in the supply chain. One area though, that requires well polished people skills is the receptionist desk. The front desk receptionist can break or make a company. This can’t be truer for a medical practitioner’s business.

When clients visit your medical facility the first person they meet with is your office front desk receptionist. They get clearance from the reception desk before proceeding to be served by you. A bad experience with the receptionist substantially reduces their desire to visit your clinic again. Apart from clearing clients, it is the work of the front desk receptionist to schedule appointments with various clients, remind others of upcoming visits, handle cancelled appointments, receive calls from potential and existing clients etc. To manage all this well needs you to find a very good receptionist. That however does not guarantee you that you will not have chaos in case there is an upsurge in the number of clients visiting your facility. At one time your medical front desk maybe required to handle more than three calls as well as other clients who maybe on the line waiting to be served. This creates a very charged atmosphere at the work place and at the end of the day you will also breathe a sigh of relief!

While your health care receptionist may try all that is humanly possible to handle the situation there is no doubt that he or she will only do what is humanly possible. It is probable that during a busy working day an important call won’t get through to you because your receptionist just can’t handle the work. It is human; and humans will only do what is humanly possible. So, what do you do to prevent your health care business from undergoing this negative downward spiral? The first thing that usually comes to your mind is to hire another medical office assistant. ‘He or she has to be very good in multi tasking’, you whisper to yourself. The truth however, is that at one point in time the two receptionists will have more than they can handle. It is bound to happen unless your business is not growing. That is why the idea of a virtual medical office receptionist is a very viable option.

A 24/7 medical reception is a sure way of relieving yourself, other staff and even clients of undue stress that characterizes modern day work environment. A medical office assistant online allows you and your staff to concentrate on important issues that involve serving the patients as the more mundane activities are handled by the remote receptionist A good virtual medical office receptionist will receive calls from your clients, schedule appointments, make reminder calls, handle cancelled appointments and most importantly make your clients happier. A service based industry should always count it as a plus when the clients register their satisfaction. They will be very willing to use your service again. An excellent online medical office receptionist can do even more and will sure be an asset to your business. There are many remote receptionist service providers but few can actually deliver what you would really want.

Therefore, do some thorough background research and find a good 24 hours a day, 7 days a week medical reception service provider for your business. It will proof to be the thing you have always wanted. You will always look forward to a new working day!

Online Doctor Appointment Scheduling Gives Bottom Line A Shot In The Arm!

November 21st, 2008

Self-service scheduling system is wonderful for patients because of the convenience it provides. It also gives the medical staff in the office more time to spend with patients in the office. Who may need assistance with any number of things from arranging specialist visits, blood test documentation, insurance information etc.

Modernized scheduling system will benefit everyone in a medical practice. In addition to reducing the workload and the stress from the medical receptionist by reducing the patients calls, there are other more tangible benefits. Notebly, the online scheduler is a relatively inexpensive service that can deliver major improvement on the business bottom line of a medical practice.

One health care professional I am personally familiar with would trade evening shifts with another clinician so the clinic can always have someone available to treat patients. The clinic opens from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm, five days a week. In addition to two fulltime office staff, they have two part time receptionists to split the evening hours weekly.

At $12.50/hour rate, 22.5 hours a week, the clinic is paying $1125.00/month to their part-time receptionists to answer phones and greet patients.

As comparaison, the prices for Automated virtual medical receptionist range from $50.00/month for a basic service package, to a full function 24/7 virtual receptionist that is capable of handling front-desk business calls, setting-up appointement for your patients, and making reminder calls to your patients everyday, for less that $400.00/month.

The premium services will provide your medical practice with a more consistent front desk receptionist for a much better cost then a live receptionist. It is a 24/7 backup to your live staff that will never need any sick-leave or lunch break.

Your medical receptionist may want to have her hours reduced for any number of reasons or perhaps you find there are times when a three or four day week would be sufficient for the full time front esk receptionist. Modern scheduling system is so advanced that cutting back on receptionist staff hours, and perhaps beefing up in other more skilled staffing requirements will seem more plausible with a virtual medical receptionist professionally taking care of your phones.

With self-service scheduling system you now have options in place that you can turn to if your staff lets you down, [and no matter when this happens the timing is lousy] as often happens. You can also have the freedom to make staffing changes of your own because you have the most advanced technology on the market as a back up for your current staff. They will be motivated to work harder for you because you are showing your concern for their well-being or maybe because you have their potential replacement working diligently yet silently beyond the phone line.

This Medical Front Desk Receptionist Never Leaves the Office

November 21st, 2008

Every medical office strives to have the most competent and capable front desk receptionist personnel possible but humans being human we have failings that will sometimes effect our employment. We are not always operating at 100% efficiency. As an employer we must give a certain amount of latitude to our staff and excuse “off days” when they occur. When the problems are a result of the medical practice itself not offering proper support to existing staff then a problem exists that must be resolved.

Medical front desk receptionists are under the gun in a stressful environment daily and having proper back up is imperative for the smooth running of your operation and the mental health of your employee. Automated assistance may be just what the doctor ordered to relieve the stress for your medical receptionist. When your medical receptionist is busy talking to patients at the front desk, answering phone lines, scheduling appointments in person or over the phone, and generally looking after a potentially packed waiting room full of patients, help should be available to them.

Automated medical front desk receptionist systems are being used now more than ever with an aging population and multicultural patients requiring medical services more frequently, your medical front desk personnel will have an ally they can count on when the going gets tough. Answering phones, scheduling appointments, making appointment reminder calls and after hour back up assistance are all available in a professional and customizable software technology that is extremely simple to own and operate.

Imagine the benefits of knowing you will never miss an important call because your back up medical front desk receptionist is on duty supporting your human medical receptionist when things begin to get frantic. As a medical practitioner you are busy treating your patients and necessarily so, but you must take an objective look at the operation of your practice and make decisions that could affect the overall fitness of your business.

By testing and introducing medical office assistant software, you are making a sensible decision that will bode well for your office efficiency and the general well-being of your other employees. They will be reenergized by the fact you recognize their plight on a daily basis and appreciate the fact you took the lead in choosing to move forward with a solution to the challenges they face.

Could you count on your current medical front desk receptionist to come to you with a complaint about being overworked and stressed out? Not many employees would have the nerve to make such a suggestion and would rather fall on their sword than suggest a solution that will cost you money. As a business owner AND a medical professional you have an obligation to your staff to observe their performance and commit to solutions to enhance office profitability and proficiency.

Being a capable medical front desk receptionist requires a skill set that not everyone has. It may appear to be a simple job but it is challenging, and one that requires oversight and back up that can be counted on.

Improving Medical Practice Efficiency Through Automation

November 20th, 2008

When I decided to move to appointment scheduling software for my medical practice, I approached the decision much like I make other business or budgetary decisions: Get everything that I need for the best possible price. At first I found that many appointment scheduling programs had some, but not all of the features that I needed. I also realized that in order to make the process truly cost effective, I should integrate all of my needs into one software package.

I first needed to clearly define everything that I needed in a medical appointment scheduler. Since I run a solo internal medicine practice by myself, I am always making business decisions when I should be caring for patients. One area that I particular hated was the hiring and firing of my medical reception. I firmly decided that I needed a program that provided self-service patient appointment scheduling. This way, patients could simply call me or log on and schedule a time to see me.

Since I had decided to move to a web-based doctor appointment scheduling system, I decided that a package should offer an automated appointment reminder. If patients were doing their appointment scheduling online, I should be able to have an automated reminder for those appointments. Instead of having a medical receptionist make calls, I asked myself, why not get a package that would do it automatically and without error? I could then use it for keeping track of my schedule, as well. It seemed silly to go paperless for appointment scheduling and then waste paper by printing out my list of patients at the start of every day.

As I was researching the various programs and their features, I found that the level of sophistication in these programs was pretty impressive. The larger packages make it so that I do not really need to have a front desk receptionist at all. Some programs provided the equivalent of 24/7 medical reception. Now you may think that would be impersonal but it really is ideal. Patients hardly miss a live front desk receptionist because my medical technicians greet them when it is time for their appointment and begin intake right away. Since appointment scheduling is automated, the practice runs much more smoothly, and patients are not kept waiting nearly as long as they had been in the past.

Since I was moving towards automating just about every medical receptionist duty, I decided that should probably also consolidate my physician answering service into the same program. Why pay for a live answering service when I would have to manually input patient appointments into the now online appointment scheduler?

With all of these features, I realized that I was really asking a lot from a single piece of software or a single online service. I wanted a virtual receptionist, a reminder program, a 24/7 medical answering service and 24/7 patient scheduling. I may have been able to sacrifice one of these, if I had not found them all in a single package, but I had to have a package that was secure. In order to make the move to automated appointment scheduling, the entire program of service had to be fully HIPAA compliant. Regulations have gotten extremely strict over the past five years or so and I cannot afford to have fines or lose clinic days for a violation.

Now that I had this tall order to fill, I went online and spoke to colleagues to find out the best programs available and at the best price. The programs available today are very advanced and I was able to find one that provided all of those features and did so securely. When I considered the savings in terms of personnel costs and hassle, I wish I had made the move to automated appointment scheduling sooner.

Getting Staff Going: The Case for Performance Evaluations

November 19th, 2008

Have you ever wondered why some staff just come in and get the day started while other people wait on instructions? Have you ever wished that your employees could be more proactive or show more initiative when they are dealing with daily concerns on their job?

Well there’s a way that you could have these things happen in your organization without having to loose any employees. Reports have shown that one of the largest financial drains to a company and biggest threat to internal productivity is employee turnover. Successful companies have found a way to keep their best employees while re-educating the staff who need a boost. A simple process can make all the difference to your staff relationships and productivity and that process is called: Performance Evaluations.

Performance evaluations provides a way for you to express the distinct terms that are needed to get a job done well. It can clarify expectations for low performance and set a new standard for high achievers who value improvement in their jobs. Your first step is to be clear about what each person’s job description is. If you don’t have a job description on all of your employees you can create one using easy to find templates or hire a consultant that can help you write one that is tailored to your business needs. Once you have a job description in hand, break down the parts of their job that they are supposed to be doing and have a conversation with your employees about what is expected of them. Set timelines for reviewing their performance that you both can look forward to as a checkpoint to discuss their success or areas of improvement.

Many employers and employees scoff at getting or giving feedback but if you approach performance evaluations as giving the employee the ‘gift’ of feedback about their performance then it can and will be a more pleasant experience for you both. Some tips on giving feedback is to make the feedback timely, relevant and objective and tied to measurable results. Instead of “You are always late and the whole staff knows you don’t care about this job.” Opt for the alternative statement that says “For the past week you have come in more than thirty minutes late, the impact this has on the staff is that they had to work through their lunch hour to do the accounting we normally do in the morning.” Then talk to your employee about what you can do to help them to achieve their goals in alignment with the work that they are paid to do. For the high achieving employee make sure you give the same kind of specific feedback so that they will continue to perform.

Performance evaluations help you set up an administrative process for determining and justifying raises and bonuses and it can help create a system for determining who would work best in what role. From a legal standpoint, it creates a paper trail of a worker’s performance and your interventions in the event that you may ever have to release an employee. Performance evaluations should be routine and not set up as something to be dreaded. Successful managers choose to look at performance evaluations as a dedicated opportunity to connect with their most important resource in their office, the human resource.

Virtual Medical Receptionist Keeps Appointments for You

November 19th, 2008

If you’re a busy Doctor, patient no-shows can cost you time and money. Medical office receptionists can be inundated with making reminder calls throughout the day to make sure patients keep their appointments.

What if you could free up your office staff and still make sure patients show up for their appointments? Many automated telephone reminder call services are available via the internet so there’s no need for expensive hardware or software. An automated reminder program is likely maintenance free and available 27/7 to meet all your needs. Some services also offer reminder emails. An automated reminder call or email service will send out a message to your patients with the date and time of their next appointment eliminating the fuss and hassle for your staff. You can customize and record your messages, personalize them, deliver them in different languages and include other useful information. An automated email service can also send your patient’s appointment reminder directly to their inbox. An email message can also include other important reminders such as flu shot schedule times, upcoming clinics or seminars.

Your receptionist or office staff has more important things to do than spend the majority of the day making reminder calls. An automated reminder call service allows your staff to spend time on billing, insurance filing and other necessary office tasks. It’s like having an additional employee on your side. Another added benefit, your staff may not be so disgruntled making routine, mundane patient reminder calls. Your staff can focus on patient care or other high priority jobs.

A reminder program also offers reliability and convenience. Your staff will no longer be waiting on the phone or searching for patient contact information. An automated reminder service will do all the work for you. An automated call or email program is the most efficient, cost-effective way to get appointment reminders completed as the software can handle multiple calls at once. An automated call service or email eliminates the need for costly postage and postcards too! If you’re facing a staff shortage, an automated telephone service can provide you the answer while providing a long-term solution at an affordable price.

Automated reminder call services are competitively priced and you can often take advantage of free-trial offers. Some companies also help with automated appointment scheduling and some provide back-up answering services during high-call times in your medical office. You might also want to consider call-forwarding for patient emergencies or voicemail for after-hours so patients can leave a message. All these services will help maximize your services for your patients. You can think of your automated reminder call service as a “virtual receptionist” or online physician assistant. It can take away the headaches of the time-consuming task of calling patients to remind them of appointments and help make sure there are no holes in your busy schedule. The result can be increased revenue, efficiency and quality patient service.

As a busy doctor or dentist, an automated telephone reminder call service can ultimately save you time and money and keep you in the business of taking care of your patients.

Eye doctors see greater revenue through appointment reminder calls

November 18th, 2008

As is the case with many medical practices, optometry clinics struggle with the revenue and profit drain caused by frequent patient no-shows. Eye doctors rely on revenue generation through consistently scheduled appointments throughout their days. The challenge for many is that it is one thing to have a schedule filled in advance. It is another to actually provide service and collect revenue on those appointment times as they develop. The problem is many patients either forget their appointment, neglect to call and cancel, or wait until the last minute to cancel. All of these scenarios leave the optometrist stuck with an unfilled appointment time, meaning a lost revenue opportunity. Fortunately, advanced technology featured in the automated appointment reminder solution makes reductions in missed appointments and improvements in revenue collection a reality for many eye doctors.

The appointment reminder program has long been a part of the process of running an eye clinic. However, many practices have relied on live agents to deliver the all important phone reminder calls. There are many potential hiccups in this process. First, live agents are human beings and struggle with fatigue, stress, and apathy at times. Healthcare front desk positions have a notoriously high turnover rate because many of the live agents are overwhelmed with patient concerns, phone calls, office tasks, and completion of insurance paperwork. Thus, the telephone reminder program run by a busy receptionist could become inaccurate, unprofessional, or potentially even avoided. A best in class automated phone reminder solution does not pose the same mental and emotional challenges that a live agent does. In fact, an automated phone reminder program offers many potential business advantages over the live agent, while also freeing the receptionist to give more personalized patient care, and complete paperwork.

Appointment reminder software can be easily programmed to deliver appointment reminder calls to scheduled patients in advance of their appointments. These calls are delivered in a timely, precise and multi-functional manner. Along with the phone reminder, an automated telephone reminder service can also allow for various responses on the part of the patient. Patients who need to cancel may do so, allowing the eye clinic to fill the time slot. Patients can also confirm their appointment. Additionally, the telephone reminder can include specific notes tailored to the patients based on the purpose of their visit to the eye clinic.

The consistent and accurate delivery of appointment reminder calls is both a great customer service and a practical business resource for the optometrist. More patients will be “captured” meaning fewer no-shows, and fewer missed appointment times. Live receptionists should be less stressed and better equipped to perform more demanding daily services and tasks. Another excellent advantage of a top automated appointment reminder software solution is that it does not have to come with a steep price tag. Many great phone reminder programs are available for a modest up front cost and little to no ongoing maintenance requirements, making them a very efficient telephone reminder solution.

Psychiatrists helps patients and cash in with virtual receptionist

November 18th, 2008

Psychiatrists, and their receptionists, often have very stressful jobs. Managing patients and business relationships with others that come to your practice to share their personal challenges can be stressful. Obviously, professional practices are the business of helping people with their mental and emotional challenges for a reason. However, the life of the live receptionist at a psychiatry clinic can be more difficult at times than that of the psychiatrist. The reality is front desk receptionists in many healthcare industries have a high rate of turnover. Receptionists are often overwhelmed with delivering personalized services to in-clinic patients, responding to phone calls, and completing requirement insurance paperwork. Psychiatric practices should do themselves, their patients, and their live receptionists a favor and look to the virtual medical office assistant as a backup receptionist.

The virtual receptionist can often deliver certain components of customer service better than a live receptionist, and with less cost and little to know maintenance. Typically, the virtual front desk receptionist requires a one time up front cost and little or no ongoing expense or resource utilization. The value the virtual medical receptionist provides is tremendous, though.

The virtual medical receptionist is the ideal backup receptionist because it offers the preferred backup to a personalized patient approach used by a live receptionist. Live front desk receptionists should be able to deliver personalized and helpful service to patients that are in-clinic and on the phone. They also need to complete insurance claims in an accurate and timely manner in order for the practice to collect important insurance revenue. Unfortunately, many live agents are consumed with patient concerns, phone calls and other office tasks, making them stressed and overwhelmed.

The virtual medical receptionist can answer multiple phone calls at once. As opposed to patients being left on hold, getting a busy signal, or being ignored, the virtual receptionist can help patients quickly and accurately schedule appointments, while at the same time offering the most efficient route to the psychiatric professional in an emergency. Many emergency phone calls are ineffectively managed by live front desk receptionists because they are busy, distracted, or cannot track down the professional. The virtual medical office assistant can be programmed to automatically connect callers with the psychiatrist in an emergency situation. This ability of the backup receptionist to efficiently help busy patients is a tremendous relief to the live receptionist, enabling them to focus on personal care and important paperwork.

The value of the virtual medical assistant is extreme. It is an efficient service program for patients and an excellent complement to a friendly and helpful live receptionist. The virtual medical receptionist can also be expanded to deliver other excellent benefits to a psychiatry practice. Many medical professionals are required to offer after-hours answering service support for patients. The virtual medical receptionist can be a great phone answering service because of its ability to manage anything from the simply patient appointment situation to the true medical emergency. A virtual medical office assistant is benefits all key stakeholders in a psychiatrist office.

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