Archive for January, 2009

Virtual Receptionist and Appointment Reminder Software: How It Has Helped Medical Practices Through This Recession

January 29th, 2009

After the inauguration of Barrack Obama as the 44th president of the USA, Americans and indeed the whole world has shown renewed optimism and many believe that the new administration will bring some tangible change. The economy is still struggling and massive layoffs continue to hit our headlines. Businesses are looking for ways of remaining afloat. 

One method businesses are using to enhance their survival is through cutting costs by reducing the number of staff requiring insurance cover and other benefits. Apart from downsizing, automation is the other way of cutting costs. Since the deleterious effects of the global economic downturn have affected all manner of businesses medical practices also have had to find ways of surviving. An example is investing in a virtual receptionist.

A medical receptionist has come in handy to help the practices retain and attract new clients. With the services of a medical office front office receptionist patients can call any time of day or night and book an appointment. In addition, they do not have to wait for long for their call to go through. In case of an emergency they can reach the right person without any delays. This endears them to the practice and thus increasing referrals. The number of patient no-shows has declined as the appointment reminder sends reminders to patients with appointments well before the appointment day.

Customer satisfaction more than ever before has become a major ingredient for the success of any business. Use of the virtual answering service has freed the hands of the staff working at medical practices enabling them to dedicate more time to more important tasks like medical billing and ensuring that clients are well served. This has been possible because the mundane tasks can now be done very effectively by the medical office receptionist. This is a sure way of beating the competition that is being witnessed currently in the business world as every body tries to prevent their businesses from going under. It is a sure way of ‘killing’ the proverbial two birds with one stone. Ensuring customer satisfaction while not necessarily hiring more staff and hence spending less in the long run.

As we look forward to a better economy (hoping it happens soon) in the coming days especially with the new economic rescue package by the Obama administration it pays to ensure that your business does not ‘die out’ completely. Use all means possible to ‘hibernate’ your medical practice until when better days come. Automation wherever possible is a sure way of doing that. It will help you cut operating costs to their bare minimum and hence increasing your bottom line. This could be the reason why the neighboring medical practice seems not to be suffering from the effects of the financial slump.

Give your practice all that important new lease of life and see it pull through the recession. It could make the difference between life and death. This cost effective solution will bring you the turn around you have been looking for all along.  Invest in appointment reminder software today and enjoy the benefits!

Phone Answering Service – How It Could Save Your Medical Practice

January 19th, 2009

Hospitals all over the US are reeling from effects of an economy in chaos and financial markets experiencing some of their worst times in 70 years. There is a tremendous increase in the number of uninsured patients visiting hospitals. Many hospitals are thus on the brink of collapsing while others are being closed down daily. As many employers work on how to scale back on health coverage and as the State looks for ways of cutting health care programs the people are left with no option but to off important but elective care like colonoscopies. With this kind of a scenario private medical practice is also taking a body blow. No practitioner can afford to lose clients and practices are looking for ways of attracting new ones. A lot needs to be done though, to achieve this. The kind of service that clients get will determine whether the practice retains or loses the client.

A good phone answering service is a sure way of ensuring that your clients are always happy. A friendly 24/7 medical answering service makes the patients feel well cared for and believe they are getting value for their money. As the competition for the few clients continues a efficient and friendly front desk phone answering service could be the critical thing you need to help your practice pull through this recession.

By investing in an after-hours answering service you make it possible for your clients to get attention when you are out of the office. A good phone answering service will also help your staff concentrate on other more important issues that will improve customer satisfaction and ultimately enhance retention. During these challenging economic times it is important to make sure that your clients are not kept for long waiting for their calls to go through. A good doctor answering service will give your practice the edge you need to beat your competitors. As more businesses close down you need to change the way you do things and ensure increased efficiency to enhance customer satisfaction.

The cost of investing in a live answering service is incomparable to the earnings you stand to gain from this one time investment. In addition, there is no need to worry about maintenance fees and your office will remain ‘open’ 24 hours a day 7 days a week! You could easily see your client list double within a few months through referrals and increased retention. A physician answering service is all you need to weather this recession. Get one today and you will always be glad you made this decision!

As the world eagerly awaits the swearing in of the 44th American president, it is no doubt that the new White House occupant has his job well cut out for him. With the effects of the economic downturn being felt not only here in the US but in many other areas in the world, governments are doing everything in their capacity to cushion their economies. Big businesses like Citigroup and SsangYong in Asia continue to register huge losses and file for bankruptcy as the business arena gets trickier. The medical practice will certainly be

Take good care of your business and have a recession-proof year at your practice!

Busy holidays remind psychiatrists of importance of reminder calls

January 10th, 2009

The busy holiday season means more than just people rushing to complete last minute shopping and attending lots of holiday parties. It is also one of the busiest times for certain healthcare providers who deal with patients that suffer from both physical and mental stresses.

Along with cold and flu viruses that run rampant during the winter holiday season, mental and emotional stressors also fly high. Unfortunately, for many psychiatric patients, there is so much going on that it is easy to forget visits to the psychiatrist. Thus, the always important appointment reminder call is especially vital during this period of high stress and multiple distractions.

It sounds simple enough – have a receptionist make daily appointment reminder calls to let patients know of upcoming visits. The efficiency and accuracy of this process is often up for debate when reminder calls are delivered by live receptionists. Just as providers are busy during high traffic times, office staff is easily overwhelmed. Many psychiatrists rely on one receptionist, or a small staff, to manage in-clinic visits, call answering, paperwork, errands, and other office tasks. This can be stressful and challenging during heightened busy seasons. Medical office staff has a traditionally high turnover rate because of the amount of stress and exhaustion.

What is a psychiatry practice to do then? Reminder calls are necessary to ensure appointment times are filled and follow up visits are kept, but the challenges have been identified. What if there is a solution that allows the practice to efficiently and accurately deliver telephone reminder calls every day, with confirmation or cancellation options, appointment notes, and other vital details? Fortunately, there is. A best in class automated appointment reminder software solution can be programmed to efficiently make appointment reminder calls every day, and at a very moderate up front cost and with little to no ongoing maintenance requirements.

The benefits of using an automated reminder solution are more than just delivery of the reminder calls. Sure, improving rates of customers showing up for scheduled appointments is important. But, office morale is also given a boost when the automated reminder call solution kicks in. The receptionist is able to focus on giving personal attention to sometimes fragile customers and their needs. He or she can also accurately and effectively complete important insurance claims paperwork. The psychiatrist benefits as well. Psychiatry professionals already operate in a high stress environment. Removing some of the stressors of managing tough office situations makes things even more difficult.

Reminder calls are not just an effective tool for reminding patients of upcoming visits. The automated reminder includes a confirmation or cancellation option that lets the provider know the patient’s intention. The solution can also be used, though, to follow up with patients to remind them to schedule their next visit. With distractions abound, patients can easily lose track of the need to schedule their next visits which can cause bigger issues down the road. The multiple capabilities of a top automated reminder solution, combined with its moderate cost and office benefits, makes it a great investment before, during, or after the stressful holiday season.

Virtual medical receptionist chiropractic life support for recession

January 10th, 2009

With many forecasts predicting that the US and global recession could last through much of 2009, consumers are watching their wallets more than ever. Recent reports have suggested that some are even avoiding medical care and attention in lieu of the expense. This is not good news for chiropractors. Chiropractic care is a medical practice still considered by some people to be more of helpful treatment than a medical necessity. While providers are working to market their businesses, they should also be looking for more efficient means of operation. The virtual medical receptionist presents a tremendous opportunity for chiropractors to deliver quick and accurate customer service while saving on costs and stress.

A virtual medical receptionist is an advanced technology that enables clinics to work with fewer live receptionists, or to offer a great backup receptionist in the event the live agent is busy with patients. The virtual medical office assistant is quick to fill in when needed. It can respond to multiple phone calls at once and assist callers in scheduling appointments and other basic needs, while also being the most efficient connection between a caller and a professional. Though personal attention is nice, most patients would agree that having a quick response to their needs is better than being left on hold or ignored by an overwhelmed live agent.

The virtual receptionist is also the best option for an after-hours response to legal requirements or patient needs. Many small to medium sized chiropractic clinics cannot justify the expense of paying someone to answer phones 24/7. The virtual medical receptionist can easily manage appointment calls and emergency connections when the office is closed.

What makes the virtual receptionist a great value for chiropractors looking to stem the tide of a slumping economy is that it requires little upfront cost and very low maintenance. The technology cost is moderate and other than basic programming and setup, there is no ongoing hassle to get the benefits of the virtual technology. This is not generally the case with live receptionists. In addition to paying the labor and benefits costs for an employee, the provider must also manage employee emotions including stress and exhaustion that are common to medical practices. Additionally, the virtual medical office assistant does not have the same human limitations and it operates with maximum efficiency.

Finding effective ways to control costs is important for any organization during tough economic times. As consumers are looking to manage resources, operators must figure out ways to manage their expenses, yet provide quality service. This is why the virtual medical receptionist is such a huge opportunity for chiropractors. It offers a way to manage labor costs and deliver more efficiency with basic services, yet does not adversely affect the overall performance of the clinic. In fact, most often the best in class virtual receptionist enhances overall office staff performance. Live agents appreciate the reduced stress and support, and they are better able to focus on personal care and necessary insurance paperwork.

A Simple Way of Running a Successful Medical Practice during This Recession

January 10th, 2009

‘Money is the root cause of all evil.’ Being flat broke should then be better, right? Well, don’t answer because I already have the answer to that. As the world painstakingly goes through the paces with a pulse whose strings gets tighter every day the outcry is almost everywhere. The number of people being laid off has reached some of its highest levels in recent times. Talk about foreclosures and that sends a shiver down the spines of many. It is not only here in the US but even on the sandy beaches of Seychelles, Mauritius and the Kenyan coast; people know there is something wrong with the economy.

Unfortunately almost all the sectors are affected; from the ones offering basic commodities to the luxurious services sectors. The medical profession also has had a fair share of its woes. People making appointments are on the decline as more people try to postpone or put off completely that appointment with the doctor that does not seem so necessary. For others the appointment is very necessary but the worries that characterize many lives today make them forget this important meeting with their doctor.

Sounds strange? Well, it should not as it has been shown through research that when you are worrying about something a lot you may forget some other important matters. People need a reminder service especially when many pressing matters are going through their minds.

As a doctor you may have noted that you are losing a lot of revenue from patient no-shows. Don’t watch as you business goes under especially when you know that your patient could be missing appointments out of forgetfulness. Invest in a reminder software or telephone reminder service. With this you can help both your practice and your patients.

You can even get a multilingual appointment reminder to cater for all your patients. Less will miss their appointments out of forgetfulness as they worry about other pressing matters.

Online appointment reminder software does not requires installation on your computer and it sends reminders automatically to all the patients that have an appointment with you at a certain date. The reminder software works in such away that the patient is well informed in good time that there is an upcoming appointment with the doctor. It helps the patient schedule things well in advance to avoid last minute rush. As the day nears the patient will still be reminded of the nearing appointment.

Your live receptionist can (although it is not necessary) physically call the patient to remind him of an appointment when it is due in a few hours, say under 24 hours. By doing this your staff will be freed from repetitive and sometimes boring duties. The phone reminder will do that as your staff engages in other more important matters that the soft ware can not carry out. Thus ensuring a more efficient practice and more satisfied patients!

Take advantage of this excellent reminder software today. See your practice maneuver through these difficult times but ensuring you reduce on the number of patients who don’t show up. Let the patient appointment reminder remind your clients to do business with you! Who would not want such kind of staff?

How to Speed Up Your Internet Connection FREE of charge!

January 8th, 2009

Internet accelerators are essentially tools that could help your medical practice become more productive, more efficient and leave your staff less stressed. It is easy to enhance your office organization by learning proper computing habits and taking advantage of the various free Internet web accelerators that are available. You may see a speed increase up to 10 or 20 times faster than your office currently has. The two most popular freebies are the Google Web Accelerator and Fasterfox by Mozilla Firefox. These applications are simple to download, implemented in minutes, enabling the user quicker browsing through Internet pages.

The Google’s Web Accelerator is probably the best bet since its many features overlap much of what Fasterfox offers and since it utilizes Google indexed pages, you are getting the best of the Internet. If you use the Firefox browser than you will probably want to use Fasterfox as your web accelerator for better compatibility.

The jury is still out on using both simultaneously so it’s not recommended. Both options offer faster Internet access, which is the desired result after all. The Google internet accelerator is optimized for broadband users specifically; many medical practices are DSL customers and they will find a notable increase in speed.

The same cannot be said for Dial up users who may only notice the slightest increase in speed. There are other accelerators available for dial up connections since these applications were originally designed to speed up a dial up connection.

Freeware programs to accelerate your Internet connection, browsing, and downloading will increase productivity in your medical office with those non-encrypted, secure online applications such as perhaps appointment schedulers. Accessing your appointment booking software more quickly can only increase your efficiency. If you use online resources for research the accelerators will save time, waiting on page loads and every second counts in a busy medical practice.

Free Internet accelerators use advanced compression technology that reduces the size of the online pages, reuses the pages you have already visited [page caching], and establishes a more reliable connection with the modem.

Although some paid web accelerators may provide a greater boost of Internet speed, the free ones can give you the speed you need. Depending on the Accelerator’s settings, your hard drives free space will be under a heavy demand, as will your Internet connection, not a good thing if your Internet account is pay per byte, or your broadband account slows once you hit a certain download or upload limit.

Many small businesses and professional medical practices believe they already have a fast Internet connection. They will be pleasantly surprised in the increased speed and efficiency they will enjoy with a free Web accelerator. Considering the overall performance and the significant increase in Internet speed, free Internet accelerators could be a good idea to increase your medical offices current high speed Internet. Keep in mind, however, that although very efficient, free Internet accelerators cannot guarantee an increase of speed of all you Internet activities.

Since broadband speed is often subject to wild variations such as where you live, who your ISP is, how far you are from the telephone exchange, or broadband usage density etc, some people might find that there is still a place for internet accelerators in their lives. In a world where speed is sought-after, free internet accelerators are high in demand. Try one out in your medical office.

Good First Impressions

January 2nd, 2009

Shhhhh, the sound of static as you attempt to connect to the number you have just dialed. After a long wait there is the annoying tone of a busy line. You put down the receiver and try again. Shhhhhh, the sound of static once again as you wait for the connection to be made. Ring, ring, ring, finally you have managed to get through. “Hello,” says a pleasant voice on the other side of the line. “Hello, Dr. ……’s office, please hold.” La la la la ding la, the sound of music to keep you entertained as wait to be attended to.

Many patients seeking to arrange appointments with their physicians undergo similar experiences. Medical practices are normally very busy places. As an increased number of people discover the importance of keeping track of their health, the traffic to medical practices continues to grow steadily. Many people in today’s society recognize the importance of regular check ups for themselves as well as their families. This means booming business for your practice. It also means that your staff may be stretched in order to deliver the right services to your patients.

The telephone is usually the first contact a patient has with a medical practice. Many patients judge your medical practice based on how they were handled when they called to make an appointment. People like to feel appreciated and important. If your practice has a constant flow of patients, your staff maybe unable to keep track of patients waiting in the lobby as well as the constantly ringing phone. The pressures of the job may even get to them to the point that they may not attend to the patients and callers as well as they are supposed to.

So what can you do about this? Hire a virtual medical office receptionist.

With the services of a virtual medical receptionist at your disposal, you can be sure that your callers will receive the best service available. Your patients will no longer get a busy tone when they call you. They will also not be put on hold as the receptionist attends to another client. Patients will receive full attention from the pleasant sounding 24/7 back up receptionist as they set appointments for visits at the practice. All the patient has to do is give an appropriate date and time for their visit and have it confirmed by the remote receptionist service.

A doctor office receptionist works 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Patients can make appointments any time of the day or night and even when your practice is closed or when there is no one available to attend to the phone. Patients can call to make appointments anytime with the confidence of being attended to.

Virtual medical office receptionists not only schedule appointments, they also remind patients of their appointments. The virtual receptionist makes phone calls to patients with upcoming appointments to remind them.

First impressions account for a lot in a medical practice. It is important to make a good impression on your patients when they make their first contact with your practice over the phone as they book their appointments. Medical office assistants can help you increase the traffic to your medical practice as well as repeat visits because your callers will receive the attention they require from your receptionist. With a doctor office receptionist working for you, you will no longer receive complaints from disgruntled callers.

The staff member you have been looking for

January 2nd, 2009

The loud ringing of the phone at the reception seems to be continuous. Every time your receptionist puts it down, it goes off again. The constant buzz is interfering with your current appointment. It is also getting to the people waiting in the lobby. Some of them are irritated by the sound and others are getting impatient because they are not getting the attention they deserve from the staff who have to answer the phone every so often.

You may be thinking “Well, there’s nothing I can do about that? I can’t afford to hire more staff to ensure that callers and waiting patients are satisfied.” It would certainly cost you more money to maintain a larger staff. So what can you do? It is time you invested in an online scheduler.

Online appointment schedulers are programs that are run from a web interface. They answer all incoming calls leaving your staff with more time to attend to the needs of patients awaiting consultation. Patients and their families and friends will appreciate the increased attention they receive from your staff. This personal touch will increase the flow of patients to your practice as well as increasing the number of repeat visits.

Sounds nice, but many people do not like talking to a machine when they call a doctor’s office or anywhere for that matter. Won’t the automated voice put callers off? The answer to that question is a big NO. Online schedulers can interact with patients in a natural language dialog. This means that to callers, they sound like any other receptionist. The self-service patient appointment scheduling ability to interact with patients in such a natural manner is attributed to the speech-recognition software that is installed in it. This cutting-edge software gives them voices that are appealing to callers.

An online doctor appointment scheduling can be used on a part time or full time basis depending on your needs. You no longer have to look for a replacement for your receptionist when she can’t make it to work for one reason or another. All you have to do is turn the scheduler on and let it work for you. All your staff can continue with their duties without being interrupted by the telephone.

What’s more, a web-based doctor appointment scheduling program does not need to sleep. It can work 24 hours a day and 7 days a week without the need for rest or a vacation. Late night callers will receive service from an ever pleasant scheduler that will not mind being disturbed at a late hour. Should your receptionist go on vacation or be forced to leave work for sometime, you can trust your new staff member to handle all your incoming calls. This efficient online scheduler can set appointments for patients as well as forward emergency calls to the rightful numbers. If requested by the caller, they can forward calls to voicemail for later retrieval.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, you don’t have to believe everything you read. So try it yourself. Get an automated appointment scheduling program installed easily in your practice and see what a great difference this cost-effective program will make to your practice.