Archive for February, 2009

Virtual Medical Office Receptionist: Things to ponder before buying this service

February 25th, 2009


I have penned many articles about online appointment explaining its benefits and why every doctor in private practice should invest in it. At the risk of sounding repetitive it is important for me to point out that the services of online appointment are a big plus for any medical practice. There will be reduced pressure, patients will be more satisfied and will most likely visit your practice another time.

Best of all online appointments is having a speech-recognition capable virtual receptionist enable patient self-service appointment by phone. This modern service will help you reduce patient now-shows and generally reduce your operating costs. That said it is vital for me to point out also that not all remote receptionist services are good. So, how do you make sure that you get value for your money?

The Internet is awash with many types of virtual medical office receptionist service providers. However, not all are good or are suitable for your medical practice. It can be tricky for a potential buyer to choose the right service but the following tips should increase your chances of getting a good return for your investment.

Know what you need first

A virtual receptionist can do many things but you may not need all them. It is therefore important to have list of what you are looking for in a front desk receptionist service before committing to buy. What you need depends on the nature of your practice. If you have a problem with patient no-shows for instance, then you need a service that offers ‘call backs’ to remind patients of their forthcoming appointments.

Initial investment

Just like any other businessperson a medical practitioner should be savvy enough to know that tying huge sums of money by paying for services that will be used in the future is not a very good idea. The future is very uncertain and you don’t want a situation whereby the company offering you the service goes under with your one year’s service subscription! Whenever possible, pay in small amounts e.g. for a month’s service. If within that one month you’re not satisfied with what you are getting then you have the liberty of shopping elsewhere.

Operating costs

One of the biggest reasons why many doctors invest in a remote receptionist service is to increase their bottom line. If the service you are buying does not help you to reduce costs and therefore bolster profits especially during these challenging economic times then it makes no economic sense at all to invest in it. Don’t go for a service that requires installation of software or hardware. There are very good receptionist services that are solely based on the web. Go for those ones as you need not call a technician to fix them in your office because they are not working.

Benefits

The main goal of most businesses is to maximize profits. So, ask yourself what you stand to gain by investing in a given type of remote receptionist service. Other than the ability to provide ‘call back’ services, a good receptionist service should also act as a back up receptionist. This will enable your practice to handle pressure especially when there is an upsurge of patients with each needing attention. In addition, if the human receptionist is out for one reason or another the backup receptionist can ‘take over’. This would in turn prevent unnecessary losses in revenue due to customer dissatisfaction.

Thus, as you plan to give your practice a boost make sure you bear these few points in mind. You will end up with a better service at a lower cost and ultimately more returns.

Get an online business scheduler that synchs to your iPhone, Blackberry or Smart Phone

February 17th, 2009

Are you a doctor or small business owner? Do you rely on business appointments for meetings patients, clients, or other important times? The life of a doctor or a small business owner who spends a lot of time on the road can be busy, fast-paced, and hectic.

A common challenge is that while away from an office, you do not always have your computer network connection. Many small business locations such as barber-shops do not have Internet access. There are some hot spots where you can pull out your laptop and check on thing, but it can be laborious to carry around a laptop and take it out every time you need to check your schedule, or add something to it. Thankfully, there are now online business schedulers that synch to your Iphone, Blackberry or Smart Phone.

The process is rather simple. When appointments are synched to Google, you can see your appointments on your handheld device directly through Google Calendar or through a synch from Google Calendar to Microsoft Outlook, Blackberry, or your Iphone. Thus, whatever your business scheduler has planned for you, you can view the appointments from your handheld devices.

Professions that are built on an ongoing series of meetings with customers or clients can certainly gain from the use of this advanced online business scheduler feature. A hair-dresser can check her iPhone for her client appointments event if her office does not have Internet access. While on the road, doctors for instance, can quickly and easily check upcoming appointments or schedule appointments while they are out of the office.

Online business appointment schedulers have become more and more popular. They allow patients or clients to go on the web and self-schedule an appointment or visit to the doctor, dentist, hair dress, or the like. This saves the business owner time and provides a valuable service to the customer. Now, with the added ability to check appointments while on the road or without Internet access, people that use the new features of the online scheduler can look ahead to see what new appointments have been scheduled for later in the day or the next day. This is certainly a nice bonus in planning schedules, arranging other non-work engagements, and in coordinating routes if working on the road.

These great benefits make the online business scheduler with synch capabilities to your IPhone, Blackberry, or Smart Phone a must have for any busy professional who keeps a tight schedule. The convenience is amazing and the modest cost for the application makes it a great addition to an effective online scheduler solution. The solution is very easy to use as well, especially if you already use Google Calendar and have Outlook, a Blackberry, or an Iphone.

Online Appointment Scheduler for Your Blackberry, iPhone, or SmartPhone

February 12th, 2009


Busy medical practitioners and business people who are using the modern online appointment software already appreciate the benefits of the service automation. They should be pleased that the online appointment scheduler just became much more efficient.

A new feature will allow the client to access their online appointment software via their handheld devices such as blackberries, iPhones, SmartPhone’s etc. from anywhere. When you are out of your office, you can now be sure you will never miss an appointment. Your online appointment software will display appointments to your mobile devices when you need it.

Your appointments will be synced to your handheld device utilizing tools available through Google Calendar and Goo Sync to provide either one-way appointment access or two ways. You can literally push or pull your appointments to or from your online appointment scheduler from anywhere once you register for this new and exciting service.
The following services can now be synced to your portable phone or handheld device:

• Business Contacts with addresses
• Scheduled agenda events
• Event particulars and your notations
• Regularly scheduled events
• Various calendars
• Shared and public Google calendars
• Audible alerts reminders from your mobile device
• Tasks from your Outlook mail program

Your online appointment scheduler working in conjunction with Goo Sync and Google Calendar will offer you many new services and capabilities. As mentioned, you can choose a one or two-way synchronization between your online calendar or desktop calendar or just a basic upload from your online appointment scheduler. You can set a timer so your calendar will sync automatically with your iPhone, Blackberry, SmartPhone or one of many different handheld or mobile devices.

As with all Google applications, your personal data is well protected but you may want to take further precautions by excluding your personal data from your new mobile appointment calendar. In particular, if there is confidential patient information in your online appointment scheduler these details could be excluded from the syncing process. Common sense should prevail when storing personal information online and when doing so via wireless mobile devices.

Support is available for handhelds including BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Apple iPhone & iPod Touch through your Outlook and iTunes, Google Android and so many more. A complete list of compatible devices is available upon sign up and the list is impressive. Software applications are available to expand the number of personal information management software and desktop applications with which you can sync. These include Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, Palm Desktop, ACT!, GoldMine, Microsoft Outlook with Business Contact Manager and Novell GroupWise.

There is no charge to access Google Calendar or any of the Google products from your phone or handheld device but your mobile device operator may charge you extra for certain added services.

As mentioned above there are various plug ins available on the market to improve your compatibility between mobile devices and software calendars/ personal data programs.
For the busy physician or businessperson who is required to be out of the office and away from their online appointment scheduler software, the advantages of syncing your online appointment scheduler with your SmartPhone, iPhone or Blackberry device are many. Your busy schedule just became a little more tolerable and a lot more organized.

Online scheduler more than just technology for chiropractors

February 5th, 2009


Are you a chiropractor that has ever struggled with patients not showing for appointments? Maybe they forget to call and cancel or maybe they simply forget – PERIOD! Is your office staff overwhelmed with the burden of keeping up with day-to-day demands of helping patients that come in for visits, managing phone calls, scheduling appointments, completing insurance paperwork, and performing other office tasks?

If you want to modernized a medical practice for better business efficiency, then Online appointment is a very important part of that modernization.

An online scheduler is much more than just an advanced technology that eliminates pen and paper scheduling. It is an extremely important business resource that is part of a complete customer relationship program that will help ensure your business operates profitably, with little waste, and with efficient customer service.

Customer service has taken on a whole new meaning in today’s hyper speed, internet-driven society. Consumers are out for information, quick delivery and response to issues, and a hassle free experience. Sure, friendly office staff is important to the overall maintenance of client relationships, but a chiropractor needs to offer patients an efficient and effective tool for self-service online appointment scheduling. Perhaps it is because you operate a fast-paced high traffic office, or maybe your patients are too busy to call and schedule during the hours your office is open. Regardless of the reason, chiropractic patients appreciate the ability to go online at their convenience, any time of the day or night, and use an automated scheduler for quick scheduling of their next visit.

Along with providing a great service instrument for your patients, and online appointment scheduler also makes your business operation more efficient. Your stressed staff is freed to give better in-clinic assistance. They can also work on other important tasks they may get neglected, such as the important paperwork and other office upkeep. By funneling the simple process of appointment scheduling to the web, your office staff is more available.

The online scheduler is also effective for maintaining patient relationships. It appointment scheduling software allows you to gather patient data, including contact information, and send out appointment reminders through e-mail or other mobile technology applications. This helps reduce the new shows that drain your business. The reminders allow the patient to cancel or confirm an appointment, reschedule, and ultimately helps you avoid an empty appointment time in your day. The consistent contact with your patients helps them remember to visit their chiropractor regularly, to schedule follow up visits, and to call when there is a need to cancel.

Do no make the mistake of believing an automated scheduler is an unneeded technology product. A best in class automated scheduler is a business resource that can help you save your patients’ time, improve your overall service, and keep existing clients coming back for care and loyal to your clinic. All of these are not just preferences to consider. In today’s competitive environment, your practice competes with others who are beginning to see the benefits of combining advanced technology with a customer service approach to healthcare. Do not be the one left behind!

Virtual Medical Office Receptionist: A Good Investment Now and In The Future

February 2nd, 2009

Medical professionals should be a happy lot especially due to the fact that health related practices and the education sector are some of the areas that have managed to remain steady even with the current economic tantrums. Despite the recession people still have to go to school and seek medical care. However, it is important to note that the recession has been so severe such that some people are even postponing visits to the doctor. That means that the profits are not as high as they used to be before the recession set in.

Due to this medical practitioners are devising ways of beating their competitors. They are doing major restructuring and changing the way they normally run their business. One way of doing this is to ensure that the overall customer satisfaction is looked into. Private medical practices are ensuring that the medical receptionist not only helps in retaining the usual clients but also attracts new ones. Unfortunately most health practitioners have realized that human receptionist can only do so much. When overstretched, the human receptionist caves in easily. A medical clinic receptionist can only take one phone call at a time, attend to one or two clients at a time and gets tired pretty fast. Human beings are also affected by their surrounding environment and the pressure that sometimes characterizes medical practices can sometimes take its toll on the medical office receptionist. This has made medical practitioners to invest in what is commonly referred to as a Virtual Medical Office Receptionist.

Unlike a human front desk receptionist a medical office assistant online will not get tired or sleepy on the job. It is an easy to install program that can complement the existing medical office staff and can do the necessary but otherwise repetitive and sometimes boring tasks. This program does not require any maintenance and will not complain or ask for a raise! A 24/7 backup receptionist as it is also known ensures that your office remains ‘open’ even after your normal office hours. It is capable of distinguishing between the important and less important calls and ensuring that the important ones get through to you in real time. This is a huge plus for your practice because patients will know you as a reliable medical practitioner and hence developing customer loyalty. In addition, such a health care receptionist will help your business cut the huge losses that are sometimes as a result of the patient no-shows.

Well, you may be saying to yourself, ‘that must cost a whole lot of money’. It all depends with what you want and the software provider. The market is awash with a lot of office automation software. However, before buying any kind of software ensure that you know exactly what you want. Once your ‘shopping list’ is ready then find the software that serves your purpose.  Get a program whose payment is done monthly so that you don’t tie up a lot of your money and the software is not delivering what you expected. Have some ‘exit route’ if a need to exit arises. With this information now you can buy the software that suits your practice well.

Give your medical practice a ‘facelift’ today by investing in a good back up receptionist.  It is a sure and cost effective way of not only beating this recession but also a worthwhile investment into the future!