Richard Lango February 24th, 2010
“If patients don’t have a relationship with physicians, they don’t mind not showing up,” said Dr. Tim Gorski from Arlington, Texas. If this is the case, how do you form a relationship with a patient who has not yet shown up for an appointment? This is where your office automation system comes in handy.
You should know that the monthly fee of a good scheduler with telephone, email and mobile text message reminder is roughly about the cost of one patient no-show to you. So can you afford NOT to use a reminder service?
The appointment stage
Your first contact with a patient will often start at the appointment stage. You should therefore ensure that you use a medical appointment scheduling program that is friendly to the patients. Although the patients will obviously like to speak to a live human being, they would rather find a faster alternative than being put on hold.
There are also other patients who would prefer to use the internet to book their own appointments. Self-service patient appointment scheduling makes this possible, where you will set up an online scheduler.
Remind the patients
After the patients have booked their appointments, it is important to make a follow-up by having an effective reminder service. There are some important factors you should consider when finding a good reminder service.
First, it will be very boring for a live agent to keep calling patients with the same message over and over. The frustration and exhaustion that results can easily make the receptionist talk in an unpleasant tone to the patients, and this will cost your business.
You should therefore let a computer that does not get tired or experience boredom do the job. This does not mean that you need to install any hardware or software in your office, which will be unnecessarily expensive. You just have to sign up for an appropriate service to take care of your needs. In this way, preventing just one patient no-show per month will be enough to pay for your subscription.
The appointment reminder service you use should enable you to get in touch with the patients in a variety of ways. For example, you should be able to reach your patients via the telephone, email, and mobile text message (SMS). This will ensure that you reach different types of patients. Each method has its strengths and drawbacks, hence using all of them will offer you the best possible deal.
You can also opt to give your patients the ability to cancel their appointments during the reminder process to further eliminate patient no-shows. You will be able to re-schedule the empty slots in good time.
Your office automation system should help you to maintain a good relationship with your patients and cut patient no-shows.