Archive for the 'Appointment Reminder' Category

Slash Patient No-Shows Through Automated Appointment Reminder

June 30th, 2010

“Failed appointments pose financial as well as administrative problems for residency practices. Proactive reminder systems are needed to promote patient attendance.” Concludes a study carried out to determine the effects of patient no-shows at clinics. The study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that cancellations and no-shows covered 31.1% of scheduled appointments and gobbled up 32.2% of scheduled time. This results in a revenue shortfall of between 3% and 14% within one year.

Time and money: effects of no-shows at a family practice residency clinic

This study shows the seriousness of no-shows in any medical practice. Therefore, you cannot afford to take it for granted. You need to set up a good patient appointment reminder system to help your patients and your business. Most of the patient no-shows are as a result of the patients forgeting about their appoinments for one reason or another.

The secret here is the word good. There are very many reminder services in the market, and not all of them will suit your purposes. So, what constitutes a good reminder program?

The reminder software you are using helps you to get in touch with your patients in the best way possible. This means that it needs to have a way of reaching all types of people, hence it should get in touch with the patients in a variety of ways, including:

Telephone

Telephone is a very good way of getting in touch with many people. An automated telephone reminder is especially suitable for the elderly who do not often use the newer modes of communication.

You will cater to the needs of the patients who prefer using the telephone. However, you can still miss some people since not all people have installed an answering system in case they are away.

Email

Many people use email nowadays, which makes it a convenient way of reaching them. There are some people who use email as their main mode of communication.

If your reminder software uses email alone, however, you will not serve every person well. In addition, the prevalence of spam mail has resulted in spam filters that can inadvertently send your reminders to the spam folders.

Text message

Apart from the fact that very many people use cell phones, text messages have the added advantage that you will reach your patients wherever they are. This is an especially good choice for busy individuals who travel often.

However, the patients have to pay for the text messages.

Your patient reminder service should therefore include all these options. Preventing just one no-show in a month suffices to cover your subscription.

How to Avoid Patient No-Shows

April 13th, 2010

According to a survey presented at a conference that was organized by the Royal College of Surgeons, as much as 15% of patients who make appointments do not show up for their appointments. 76% of these patients do not even let their doctors know that they would not go for the scheduled appointments. 15% of them said that they forgot about their appointments while 26% said that they got no notification. From this study, you can see the importance of patient appointment reminder service.

Making appointments is certainly very important. However, if you leave it at that, you will still be losing out. You need an effective way of keeping in touch with the patients to ensure that they do not forget to come for the scheduled appointments.

You have already set up an appointment scheduler. Why should you spend on a patient appointment reminder service? Look at it this way. How many patients fail to show up to your medical practice each month? If 15% of patients do not show up because you do not remind them, how much will you be losing? Yet if you save just one patient no-show within a month, you will have paid for the reminder service.

Now that you have seen the importance of a patient appointment reminder program, what should you look for to ensure that you get the best service?

Avoid large up-front costs:

Just because you have read a good review about a given service should not make you commit to a program that requires a large upfront payment that will tie you up for a long time. You should preferably look for an appointment reminder service that you pay for on a monthly basis.

Different ways of contacting patients:

People have different interests and lead different lifestyles. This means that relying on a service that uses just one method of contacting the patients will not serve you well. Here are some of the ways through which you should be able to contact your patients.

Telephone

Very many people use telephone, both young and old. However, you will miss the patients who are not at home during the call and do not have an answering system.

Email

The advancement in Information Technology has made the use of email very popular nowadays. Email offers a fast way of getting in touch with people easily.

However, if your patient reminder service uses email only, you will not cater for those who who do use email, particularly the elderly. In addition, increasing misuse of email has has made email programs enhance their spam filters, and your reminders may not reach the patients at times.

Text message reminder

Text message gives a convenient way of keeping in touch with the patients wherever they may be. The greatest drawback, however, is the fact that the patients will pay for the text messages.

The automated patient reminder service you use should use a combination of all these methods.

Why Do Patients Forget About Their Appointments?

April 2nd, 2010

Using a reminder service to make sure that your patients don’t forget about their appointments is a great way to deliver a very useful service to your patients and make the life of your staff just a little easier.

Why Do Patients Forget About Appointments?


When the patient makes an appointment with your medical office you can be sure that they have a problem that they need you to fix.  They won’t make an appointment because they just want to chat about the weather or the latest news.

They have some sort of problem that bothered them enough to call and schedule an appointment that would take a chunk of time out of their day and cost them some money.

So why don’t they show up for the appointment?  While occasionally it might be because the problem went away or that another larger problem came up that required their attention, most of the time it’s just because they forgot.

So What Can You Do?


A lot of offices try to discourage no shows by charging them even if they didn’t come unless the appointment is not canceled 24 to 48 hours in advance.  But this is an adversarial tactic that will only annoy or even anger your patients.

A better way is to help them remember that they have an appointment.  Medical appointment reminder services are a great tool that you can use to do just that, help your patients remember.

A reminder service is a proactive step that you can take that will be greatly appreciated by your patients.  After all, they needed the appointment in the first place so what would be more user friendly than offering this service.

How Do You Do It?


Virtual medical reminder services are available that make reminders fast and painless.  Why take your staff away from their other duties when a reminder service can do the work for you?

Best of all, even if you have your staff making reminder calls, they are using only the phone and will be making the calls during business hours when your patients are likely busy at their own jobs.

A medical reminder service can contact your patients in a number of different ways including home phone, cell phone, e-mail or even mobile text message. A average reminder service with all of the reminder type mentionned-above cost you very affordable monthly fee. Usually that fee is lower than what a single no-show may cost you. (Do the math!)

This gives your office the ability to add an inexpensive service that will more than pay for itself in the long run with the extra income that is generated by cutting the number of no-shows to your office.

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.

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.

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.

The Secret to Cutting Patient No-Shows

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.

Office Automation – How to Get the Best Medical Practice Management Program

February 17th, 2010

The importance of office automation has resulted in the supply of many types of programs in the market. It is therefore very crucial that you go for a system that will give you the best value possible. This means that you should consider some factors before you even start looking for your office automation program. The following are some of the pertinent points that you need to bear in mind.

Compatibility with your office work flow and multiple communication channels

You most likely already have some system in place. For instance, you are already using telephone in your clinic. The automated telephone reminder that you would like to set up should not create a complete overhaul because it will not be able to operate seamlessly with your present telephone system.

People use different modes of communication in today’s world of Information Technology. You should therefore ensure that the office automation system you want to use is compatible with many types of systems and devices. This means that apart from using the telephone, the program you are looking for should be able to send emails, and instant text messages among others. In this way, you will be able to cater for the needs of different types of patients. While there are those patients who will prefer to use the telephone, particularly the elderly, others will prefer using the Internet. There are still some patients who have busy schedules and would like to receive automated reminders on their cell phones.

24/7 medical reception with automated virtual receptionist

While your medical office front desk receptionist will not be able to work round the clock, the virtual medical office receptionist should give you a 24/7 service. You will therefore have a self-service patient appointment scheduling, whereby the patients will be able to book their own appointments at any time of the day or night.

This means that your system should be robust enough to handle unlimited number of appointments in a day.

In addition to these considerations, you should use a pre-paid medical scheduler. This means that the patients will make some small payments when they make their appointments. As a result, you will be protected even when some patients do not show up. Patient no-shows result in what are known as invisible costs.

The type of office automation that you use will either make or break your medical practice. You should therefore ensure that you get the best service that suits both you and your patients.

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