Archive for March, 2010

Can You Customise Your Office Scheduler?

March 29th, 2010

Automation is the buzzword in virtually every industry as people take advantage of the technological advancements. When looking for office automation solution related to scheduler, there are many things you will need to consider as you search for the best, one of which is the ease of cutomisation.

The medical field is very broad and different medical practioners have different needs. This is one of the areas where a medical office scheduler that you can customise easily comes in handy. Whether you are a pediatrician or chiropractor, the automation system should serve your needs equally well.

In addition to suiting whatever line of medical practice you are involved in, the medical practice management programme you use should allow you to make several other customisations. It should allow you to give it as much personal touch as you would like to make your business stand out.

The following are some of the ways through which you should be able to customise your system.

i) Define your own appointment rules, name, appointement duration, what day of week you perform the service, if pre-payment is required or not.
ii) Customize your emails for appointment confirmation, reminder and appointment followup
iii) Customize your new patient signup form, what are the insurance you accept.

You should also have the ability to choose whether the patients can make their own appointments for the required services. You will thus set the services that the patients can book on their own and the ones that need to be booked from the office. If you want to give the patients an even greater personal attention, you should be able to give them special pieces of information relating to their appointments, which will help them to be better prepared.

If you can customise your online scheduler in such a way, you will manage to cut down the chances of incorrect booking. Pre-pay requirement, for example, will also help you eliminate no-show.  In short, the more your scheduler allows you to enforce your own business rule with customization, the more efficient your scheduling is.

Points to Consider While Choosing a Medical Answering Service for Your Office

March 27th, 2010

When there is no one at your front desk or your clinic is closed who takes your important calls? If the answer is no one then it is high time you have a good medical answering system in place so that when a patient calls he/she finds someone who can fix an appointment without any unnecessary delay.

A back-up receptionist will make sure that your patients get desired attention when your staff or you are not available to answer their calls.

You must keep in mind some points while choosing your answering machine.

Friendly voice

Most patients will hang up on hearing a cold answering machine with an unclear voice. So, when you choose your virtual receptionist, make sure that you choose one who is pleasant to here and can provide the caller with a human touch even in the absence of one.

Interactive

If your answering machine needs to take the place of a ‘virtual receptionist’ then it has to be interactive. Most answering machines just have a recorded monologue. You can go for a Patient reminder service which comes clubbed with an answering machine with the capability of voice detection so that the calls can be redirected to required lines by the responses of the caller, without him having to press different numeric keys.

Handling Multiple Calls

A good backup service will have the ability to handle multiple calls at a time so that your patients are never put on hold! Due to such an efficient service it can have an advantage over the live receptionist. The emergency calls will be transferred speedily and without human error. Moreover, a backup receptionist should be one which can work for you 24/7 without fatigue. This will help you tremendously in slashing your patient no-shows so that you can get most out of your business.

Dependability

If you choose to set up an automated office, you should make sure that the system is reliable and error free. You should not need to spend money on its maintenance again and again. A virtual receptionist must be able to do its job consistently so that you are stress-free and can be sure that no patient call is missed. An automated medical answering service and an appointment manager will not only accomplish the job of your front desk receptionist with ease but will also be able to remind the patients of their fixed appointments via e-mail, SMS, or follow-up calls. Important tasks such as patient care and medical billing can keep your staff busy while your virtual receptionist takes care of your appointments!

Realizing the Importance of Patient Reminder System

March 27th, 2010

The importance of follow-up calls cannot be neglected in a doctor’s profession. Many doctors are reluctant to give follow up calls as they worry about “bothering the patient” prospect. But, it is crucial to understand the need of having a patient reminder service which can take care of all the follow-ups so that you do not lose your precious patients.

In most cases, a series of appointments is required to treat a particular problem. So your job is not over after just one appointment. Due to negligence, a lot of patients don’t show up regularly and miss some of their appointments. This negligence proves harmful both to you and your patient. This happens because most of us have a busy lifestyle now-a-days. The reason for patients missing appointments is not because they do not want to show up but because they tend to forget. If you have a large client-base then you might also not be able to give regular need-based follow-up calls to all patients, thus there is a high probability that your appointment scheduling will be disorganized.

A patient reminder service acts as a virtual receptionist which can take care of all your patients without bothering you. Just provide the necessary instructions and it will take charge of all your scheduled appointments, so that your patients don’t forget to return for their routine check-ups. A modern day patient reminder service comes along with a doctor appointment scheduler, thus clubbing both to make it one of the most handy and convenient tools for doctors.

The online scheduler can act as medical software for online appointment scheduling by sending e-mails to your patients to remind them of their next appointment. But what if your client doesn’t check his/her email frequently? You need a service which can directly call the patient and fix the appointment, so that the chances of no-shows are decreased to a large extent.

Such a reminder service provides you flexibility to schedule your follow-up calls according to the requirement. They have a soothing voice of a receptionist and can make calls at different times of the day. Since, they are available 24/7 calls can be made at any time of the day. A virtual receptionist can tirelessly call a patient at regular intervals until she reaches the patient and minimize the chances of a no show. In lack of an automatic appointment reminder service the staff has to get into a lot of hassles and maintain some really messy paperwork

Regular follow-up reminder calls ensure that you do not lose your old client base while you focus on expanding it. The trend of having an online appointment scheduler is on rise now and every doctor that focuses on providing high quality service to their client should have it in their offices.

Is Your Patient Appointment Scheduler User-friendly?

March 16th, 2010

When you want to determine how user-friendly an online medical scheduling program is, you need to bear some important facts in mind. Let us take a look at some of the things you need to consider.

The user interface

This is the place where both you and your patients will gain access to various features of the online scheduler you are using. The program you use should have a modern graphic user interface that is visually appealing. It should display the features you want in an attractive manner that makes it easy to find what you are looking for.

You will find it easy to use your own control panel while the patients will also enjoy booking their appointments on their end.

Ease of Use with those “auto helper”

Have you heard of auto-search, auto-complete, auto-display, auto-call?

Those auto-helper make the “search-and-type” scheduler a thing of the past!  In a modern scheduler, “look-and-click” should be all it takes to get the job done.

You should also find it easy to manage your appointments with those auto-helpers. For instance, if you have auto-search, you no longer need to manually search a ptient record first before enter his/her info. The helper will search while you are typing his name and the match is on your finger tip in a heart beat.

Auto-complete allow you to hit the return key while the match is found and voila! Your just filled the entire patient info form in one key stroke.

If you want to see details of an appointment, pointing at the patient’s name should be enough. auto-display will display the details of an appt where you mouse is point at.

Cancelling or reschedule appointments should be a breeze if you use auto-call. If you want to make a cancellation, auto-call program will ask you whether you want to place an automated call to the concerned patient. Do not expect to succeed if the patients are not happy with the system in the first place.

An online scheduler can not be effective without a nice friendly modern user interface. Check out small details and see if the scheduler is easy enough to you when you try it. Take advantage of the free trial offer to test things out. Ask for those auto-helpers. Remember auto-search, auto-complete, auto-display, and yes auto-call!

Choosing right type of patient reminder service

March 14th, 2010

In US, a single patient no-show will easily cost you more than $100USD  in business revenu. So it is not surprising that many doctors are out looking for a patient reminder service to slash no-show.

Are you looking for a patient reminder services and you are not sure about your choices? Let us look out for all the availabilities, their pros and cons to learn which one is best suitable for you.

You have many systems that inform the patients about their forthcoming consultations or visits to the clinic. Phone reminder, Email reminder, Text Message reminder are few of the most popular ways to notify the patients about their due visits. Patient reminder service is very important for doctors to tackle no-show patients and prevent revenue loss.

Though Internet is quite a popular tool to reach people, unfortunately, not all patients (especially elderly and those who are not well versed with Internet) are reachable through emails. Undoubtedly, email reminder is quite reliable and generally delivered on time (provided, the sender is not directed toward spam or rejected list) but this is not possible for all patients.

Another patient reminder option is calling them directly. Manually calling by health care desk receptionist may have some punctuality issues but patient reminder service through software or specially designed system is comparatively reliable. Again, the drawback of this system is if patients do not pick up the call or they do not have mail box that receives and stores the message, patient reminder service through telephone goes in vain.

Cellular phone or mobile phone has become an integral part of our lives and hence, text message reminder service is quite a popular tool to notify patients. Text message service is not only reliable but it comes with great facility that patients can set their reminder delivery time (for instance, an hour before due appointment or visit to the center). The issue with this type of patient reminding service is patients with text message facilities on their handsets can only receive this. Also, unlike other patient reminding service, the text message is to be paid by the user –i.e. the patient.

All-in-all, every reminder service has its own pros and cons and that is why, it is always advisable for doctors to set the combination of all three for ensuring fruitful results. This is because; any patient would fit in any of those criteria and will receive the notification by any means.

Who is in Control in your medical clinic?

March 8th, 2010

Is technology controlling you or are you controlling it? Do you find that your medical practice management system determines how you work, or are you the one who determines how the system should function?

There are very many types of remote receptionist services that you can choose from, and here is where you should start determining whether you will be in control or not.

Live agent vs an automated system

This begins by considering whether you want to use an automated appointment scheduling programme or a live agent. While you may think of hiring the services of a live agent because of the human touch among other things, there are several drawbacks to using this method. For example, a live agent will simply relay all the messages without making any distinction between emergency and non-emergency ones. A good medical office assistant online, on the other hand, will filter the calls and give more priority to the emergency ones.

Another very significant consideration is the cost of the services. An effective automated system will give you 24/7 medical reception at just a small fraction of what you would otherwise spend on a live agent service.

Payment methods

Another way that you should determine whether your medical practice management program will have the upper hand is the way you make the required payment. First of all, a reputable system will give you the ability to test the services before you make any commitment. This will give you the best way of verifying whether you will really benefit from what is being offered.

You should as well consider whether the system requires you to make a large upfront payment that effectively ties you up for several months. You should find an online scheduler that you just use on a monthly subscription basis, without making such long-term commitments.

Another consideration as far as payment is concerned is the ability to choose different payment plans. For instance, would you like to go for a flat rate monthly payment? Or would you rather opt for a method that charges you per call? A good system will be flexible enough to offer you both methods among others.

Freedom of accessing your scheduler from your blackBerry, iphone or smart phone

This refers to both the way you will manage your online scheduler and how easy it will be to reach your patients. Basically, a good system will not tie you to your office to be able to check and make your appointments. For instance, it should be able to synchronise with Google Calendar so that you can check your appointments and make any necessary adjustments. It should even go further by allowing you to use it whenever you may be, even if there is no internet connection by using sms service.

You should as well have different ways of reaching your patients, which ensures that you cater well for the needs of different people. These ways include via the telephone, email, and mobile text message SMS.

Be in control.