Archive for April, 2009

Online Medical Office Assistant Technology Is a Great Business Solution

April 19th, 2009

Are you considering using an All-in-One virtual receptionist for your medical practice? Is it a good time now to consider your overall technology needs within your medical practice?  If you feel your own medical office is out of step with technology, what should be done to improve your office efficiency?

Online an All-in-One virtual office assistant offers numerous features that will certainly elevate your practice into the 21st century as far as your telecommunications are concerned; At a fraction of the live agent cost, you can expect an virtual receptionist to performe most of your medical front desk tasks. To name a few; making patient reminder call, dispatch emergency call and believe or not, talking to patients in natural language and set appointment for them. 

There are vendors of software designed specifically for the medical community and as you are upgrading to an online medical office assistant service you should investigate other forms of technology to improve upon office organization and performance. If ever there were a business practice that lived up to the motto “time is money” it would be the medical field. Better use of time through technology means your staff will be operating at peak performance.

There is no better time to take the final step into a computer literate environment for your office then when you are in the process of introducing a virtual receptionist. Your staff will be excited by the new technology and if they are even somewhat literate with computers and certain software applications such as windows OS’s or other basic programs, they will adjust to new software applications you introduce at once with your remote reception service.

Once you start to investigate various technologies for your medical practice, someone within the office should be responsible for keeping up to date with these programs and upgrades. They would act as your in-house IT go to person if there were operation questions, quick fixes required etc. It might even be prudent to send one of your trusted employees or even yourself for classroom training to become current with new technology and Internet based software applications in general.

The thing about computer technology and becoming accomplished with it is it takes a basic understanding of how computers work and some fundamentals of software applications – web based and off the shelf. The more you work with it the more comfortable you will become. Before you know it, your staff will not only be enjoying their lightened workload due to the new virtual medical office assistant online but they will also develop into skilful medical software virtuosos!

Virtual Medical Answering Service – Pay per Call or Flat Fee ?

April 18th, 2009

When it comes to medical answering there are many services out there to choose from. But what narrows your search is the ability to stay out of long-term contracts, and be in charge of how you would like to be invoiced. It is important to know what is available before you jump into a service package with a vendor. Once again do your homework, shop around (Search google using on “medical answering” and you will find everything on the Internet), and ask copious amounts of questions of the vendor.

The first question you should ask yourself when choosing medical answering service is what you intend to use it for? Will it be mainly used as a back up or will it be your main front desk receptionist for answering the phone? Are you intending to use it as an after hours appointment scheduler , or will it be used for callbacks and reminders or other functions? This then brings into question how feature rich do you want your package to be?

The more features you purchase the better your overall price will be relative to a basic package with limited options. This will also mean you could probably negotiate for more flexibility when it comes to invoicing. Do not be afraid to ask for what you want in a package, technical support, and billing options. If you shop around and get competitive pricing perhaps you can use those prices to leverage a better deal from your medical answering vendor of choice.

Although purchasing an online virtual medical answering service may not be the largest expenditure your business will ever make but it could well be the most important one. This means you should not jump at the first service that impresses you. Watch the demonstrations and take advantage of the free trial offers, which are generally for 30 days each. DO NOT be afraid to say no if you are not satisfied after the trial ends. Make a call and try a different package.

Pay per call medical answering packages are probably a wise choice for after hours use because the number of after hour calls will in all likelihood be fewer than what you will receive during regular office hours. You can purchase a package with numerous features sufficient for after hours use and pay [depending on the vendor] $50.00 per month. This will include 50 calls, and if you average ten after hours calls a day for 20 days @ $1.00 per call, that’s $150.00 per month extra for paid calls with an excellent medical answering service package.

Flat fee monthly pricing is more cost effective if you are going to be using your virtual medical answering service more often throughout the regular workday. Regular hours use could include back up phone duties, reminder calls, sick days or vacation leave. Perhaps you would like to transfer one of your employees permanently to other more important office tasks, let the virtual answering service be your new office workhorse. An all-inclusive monthly flat fee on a premium package works for these scenarios.

Whatever your reasons for using your new virtual medical answering service, calculate the number of phone calls on average during the time you will be using the service the most and which options you are likely to use more frequently, and base your choice on these factors.

Wading Through New Patient Paperwork

April 1st, 2009

I love new patients, but I do not love the mountain of paperwork that accompanies each new patient. If you are a physician or ever handled paperwork in a physician’s office, you know that with each new patient there are dozens of forms that need to be filled out and processed, including past medical history forms, releases of information, HIPAA agreements, and any number of insurance forms. I was warned by a colleague before I started my own practice that I should try to streamline the paperwork as much as possible. I used her intake paperwork as a guide and limited my forms to only ten pages. This was still a large amount of material to consider during a first visit. Despite having all of this information available to me on the various forms, I still felt that I was wading through an ocean of papers during each new patient visit. I almost requested that my patients show up a half an hour before their scheduled appointment in order to fill out all of the requested information.

When I moved to an automated virtual medical receptionist, the one downfall of the system was that I was still clamoring to have the patient fill out all of this initial paperwork. Well, the system I used has listened to the calls of doctors and dentists everywhere and enhanced their system. My virtual receptionist now has an online interface for new patients to insert their information online. What that means is that a potential new patient of mine can sit in the comfort of their home, and spend as little or as long as they would like placing their information into the secure, HIPAA-compliant website. When they do that their insurance information is cross-checked against the insurance carriers that I accept and the HMOs that have me on their approved physician list. If the patient’s insurer will cover my visit and I accept the patient’s health insurance, the patient can then schedule a “new patient” appointment in my automated scheduling system (all part of the same package). Each “new patient” visit is about four times as long as my “established patient” visits in the system. If I do not accept the patient’s insurance carrier or I am not on their list of approved professionals, the system notifies the patients of the mismatch. This saves them the time and money of making an unreimbursed appointment and saves me the time, energy and money of learning about a new patient but not being able to see them longitudinally. Few things are more frustrating and aggravating than learning about a new patient, becoming interesting in them as a patient and as a person and wanting to help them, only to find out that I will not be reimbursed for the visit and cannot see them as patient. My current medical scheduling software makes that a problem of the past.

If you are looking to move to an automated medical receptionist with an online medical scheduler built into the system, you really need to consider one that has a “new patient” sign-up page that allows a patient to upload all of their important information before they ever set foot in your clinic.