Archive for the tag 'appointment'

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!

Good First Impressions

January 2nd, 2009

Shhhhh, the sound of static as you attempt to connect to the number you have just dialed. After a long wait there is the annoying tone of a busy line. You put down the receiver and try again. Shhhhhh, the sound of static once again as you wait for the connection to be made. Ring, ring, ring, finally you have managed to get through. “Hello,” says a pleasant voice on the other side of the line. “Hello, Dr. ……’s office, please hold.” La la la la ding la, the sound of music to keep you entertained as wait to be attended to.

Many patients seeking to arrange appointments with their physicians undergo similar experiences. Medical practices are normally very busy places. As an increased number of people discover the importance of keeping track of their health, the traffic to medical practices continues to grow steadily. Many people in today’s society recognize the importance of regular check ups for themselves as well as their families. This means booming business for your practice. It also means that your staff may be stretched in order to deliver the right services to your patients.

The telephone is usually the first contact a patient has with a medical practice. Many patients judge your medical practice based on how they were handled when they called to make an appointment. People like to feel appreciated and important. If your practice has a constant flow of patients, your staff maybe unable to keep track of patients waiting in the lobby as well as the constantly ringing phone. The pressures of the job may even get to them to the point that they may not attend to the patients and callers as well as they are supposed to.

So what can you do about this? Hire a virtual medical office receptionist.

With the services of a virtual medical receptionist at your disposal, you can be sure that your callers will receive the best service available. Your patients will no longer get a busy tone when they call you. They will also not be put on hold as the receptionist attends to another client. Patients will receive full attention from the pleasant sounding 24/7 back up receptionist as they set appointments for visits at the practice. All the patient has to do is give an appropriate date and time for their visit and have it confirmed by the remote receptionist service.

A doctor office receptionist works 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Patients can make appointments any time of the day or night and even when your practice is closed or when there is no one available to attend to the phone. Patients can call to make appointments anytime with the confidence of being attended to.

Virtual medical office receptionists not only schedule appointments, they also remind patients of their appointments. The virtual receptionist makes phone calls to patients with upcoming appointments to remind them.

First impressions account for a lot in a medical practice. It is important to make a good impression on your patients when they make their first contact with your practice over the phone as they book their appointments. Medical office assistants can help you increase the traffic to your medical practice as well as repeat visits because your callers will receive the attention they require from your receptionist. With a doctor office receptionist working for you, you will no longer receive complaints from disgruntled callers.

A New Era in Medical practice

December 20th, 2008

Everywhere that I can think of technology has entered every aspect of our lives. The way we watch television has changed with the advent of TIVO, the way we drive is different now that GPS devices are readily available. Our phones are now like pocket computers and the games that our children and grandchildren now play are so far advanced compared to the Atari systems that we clamored for. How do you envision incorporating technology into your medical practice management in the New Year?

We know that technology in a medical practice equals more efficiency and better productivity. Look at how incorporation of electronic medical records can change the way a practice operates, both big and small. Perhaps you are thinking that you do not have enough money to invest in an EMR, or you do have an EMR and don’t see the need to incorporate any other process flow changes into your practice. Let me tell you about some other medical practice management tools that can be a tremendous resource and asset and can easily be incorporated into your practice.

Virtual Receptionist

Initially this concept sounded so out of synch with how I envision a medical receptionist. My first impression of a great medical receptionist is one who remembers patients’ names and shows up on time to open the office and greet each one with a smile. This person would also require little on the job training and orientation. And most importantly, they would be efficient at what they do and be able to multitask and jump in where needed. However, the more I thought though of what my actual experiences are with medical receptionists I realized that I am used to high turnover in this position and lower job satisfaction whether it’s due to being overwhelmed, receiving little pay, or dealing with sick and sometimes difficult patients. A virtual receptionist is a cost effective way to consistently have high standards of care delivered. What it cannot provide in face to face interaction, is certainly made up in its efficiency and ability to be a value add to any practice.

Automated On-Call System

A virtual on-call system really sells itself. Imagine not being bothered at various times of the evening or night because you were incorrectly contacted by your on-call service? Think about the struggles you sometimes face with finding a service that is affordable and has the ability to triage urgent from non-urgent calls and transmit names, numbers and chief complaints accurately. An automated system does all of this for you in addition to scheduling appointments for those complaints that are not urgent. This has tremendous benefits for the front office staff of a practice.

Automated Patient Reminder System

Another concept that I immediately took to was the idea of an automated patient reminder system. This system can call patients and remind them of an upcoming appointment. Incorporating the process of visit reminders into your practice can cut down on no-show rates and frees your front office staff up to do other more importantly things. All of this at a fraction of the cost that you would expect given the return in value.

For some of us including me, getting pulled into this new technologic era has come with some hesitancy and reluctance. But, the more that I explore and find out how these cost effective advances can be combined with medical practice efficiencies that increase a bottom line and also contribute to good patient care then I am more of a believer.

Reduce Medical Appointment No-Shows Through Automated Scheduling

December 2nd, 2008

Your waiting room is full of patients reading magazines in anticipation of their name being called. Even though the waiting room is full, there are still no-shows. Every no-show slows down the rate at which you can see the patients that showed up because the medical receptionist holds out hope that the patient will eventually arrive. Despite your carefully worded and publicized cancellation policy, no-shows seem to be an inevitable fact of medical practice. Fortunately there are steps that you can take to control the problem.

The reasons that patients miss appointments are many. Studies done on the topic show that reasons range from lack of transportation, confusion about date and time, too sick to move, and simple memory lapse. Automated appointment scheduling cannot solve all of these reasons, but the right appointment reminder system can cut down on many of them.

Patients who forget their scheduled appointments are a source of poor medical service and revenue loss for clinics. Excessive patient no-shows directly impact nearly every level of medical care and office efficiency. Automated appointment scheduling is an easy solution to preventing medical no-shows and the wasted resources they create.

Patient Care

Continuity of care is greatly impacted with high no-show rates. When patients do not call to cancel an appointment or just forget to show up, many times a new appointment fails to be scheduled. Also, there tends to be a time lag in rescheduling that can negatively affect treatment plans. No-shows directly relate to longer wait times for the patients that did make their appointments. These patients get frustrated and possibly angry by the wait and this affects the medical interview and therefore treatment.

Automated telephone reminder services can reduce no-shows and cancellations. Self-service patient appointment scheduling will help encourage patients to reschedule their missed appointments. Adhering to treatment plans is vital to good health care. In a way, a good medical appointment scheduler will assist you in making and keeping your patients healthy.

Clinical Staffing

Productivity takes a hit when there are too many missed appointments. When your clinic appears to less busy than it should be there is an underestimation of your office staffing needs. When staff size is based on incorrect assumptions, patient care could suffer but your bottom line certainly will.

A patient appointment reminder service automatically contacts patients about when and where they need to be. Your staff is then freed up to handle any other clinical priorities. This takes away much of the chaos and confusion of botched appointment scheduling. With a steady flow of patients it is far easier to predict correct amount of staff required to operate your practice. As a bonus, the best of these web-based scheduling services will include multilingual capability, which can expand your practice.

Financials

As I mentioned, budget planning is very difficult with unanticipated no-shows. It’s almost impossible for you to accurately form a revenue projection with intermittent missed appointments. You might try to overbook in order to make up for the income that is lost from no-shows; however, if everyone then makes their appointments you are slammed and your patients are angry.

Quality 24/7 patient scheduling programs help control costs. This makes for more accurate revenue projections that keep your staff and office operations in the smooth, steady flow that enhances a success practice.

Save Medical Office Costs in a Receding Economy

December 2nd, 2008

While medicine is often touted as a recession-proof industry, many doctors are dismayed to watch their revenues flat-line even as patient workload increases. Using an online medical scheduling service can reduce the cost of many common office time wasters. In these uncertain economic times, it is more important than ever to get a firm grip on your clinic’s cost-to-profit ratios.

In order to get the most income out of your sterling patient services could be a simple matter of a 24/7 medical reception service. How is online medical scheduling or a type of Virtual Medical Office Receptionist going to earn you more revenue in a down economy? I have listed five of ways that you can get the most out of your clinic’s overhead costs by hiring a virtual receptionist as your new back up employee.

High Staff Turnover Protection – Even the most efficient medical office can have trouble with low staffing periods. A reliable remote receptionist service serves as a live answering service, 24/7 patient scheduling, appointment reminder, as well as a back-up receptionist. Not only will you save the hassle of trying to keep a full team during these potentially chaotic times, but you may find your clinic is able to spend less money overall because you are able to trim some personnel costs. This brings us to the next advantage.

Less Medical Staffing – Depending on the unique needs of your clinic and patients, an online medical scheduling service can cut your staffing needs considerably. A small practice may be able to run very efficiently with only a Virtual Medical Office Receptionist and one or two medical assistants. Well, and you, of course. The best virtual receptionist systems will also provide an after-hours answering service, appointment scheduling and reminder program.

Attract and Keep Web-Savvy Patients – More and more people prefer to use the internet for as much of their personal business as they can. For some, they prefer going online to dealing with anyone face to face. In their minds, the fewer people to deal with the better. A lot of that sentiment comes from being burnt by human error. Not only will you impress your existing patients with your modern, web-based appointment scheduling service, but the change has the potential to attract new patients, patients who are surfing the web for a clinic that is web-service friendly. Unconsciously, putative patients will equate you presence online with a dedication to always being on the cutting edge. It matters!

Cut Patient No-Show Rates – Patients that do not call to cancel an appointment wastes time and money. A patient no-show may be a lost patient if they simply do not reschedule. In this economy it is important to keep your practice a big as you can handle. An automated appointment reminder service cuts down on those patient no-shows. With an appointment scheduler, you will also free up staff to handle more important patient calls.

Improved Insurance Filings – Medical billing to insurance companies is one task that can pile up easily in a busy doctor’s office. It is not unusual to overlook reimbursement advantages when there is too much other work to be done. When the medical receptionist tasks are automated, you can afford to find and keep an excellent medical coder/biller. A good medical coder is worth their weight in gold. They can assure faster reimbursements and higher overall revenue for your practice. Plus your medical technicians will be able to devote more attention to your patients.

Cut down on patient appointment no-shows with reminder call technology

November 28th, 2008

Would you like to reclaim over 18 wasted appointment times a week? Or help your practice as a whole reclaim cash wasted in missed appointments? If your answer is yes, then you should take advantage of the latest in telephone reminder software for your practice.

A survey by the Doctor-Patient Partnership in the UK showed that on average, a UK practice misses 18 appointments a week per GP, and a further eight with a practice nurse. This amounts to a staggering 10.5 million missed appointments over the UK alone, and at an average of £18 per consultation, this is costing the health service around £187m a year.

You can do your bit to reduce figures like this, and at the same time improve the efficiency of your practice in general, by employing the services of a virtual receptionist, and the automated appointment reminder service that comes with it.

Taxi technology

The technology used by telephone reminder services can already be seen in day-to-day life. Many among us will have phoned for a taxi at some point over the last few months, and received an automated phone call shortly afterwards (or not-so shortly in the case of some taxi companies!), telling us that the taxi is about to pull up outside. Unlike in the past, when this meant that the taxi had in fact only just left the depot, the automated nature of the call means that your car really is just around the corner, and that reminder call saves frantic curtain twitching looking out for the taxi.

Taxi companies use this technology just to make sure that their customers are ready in time, but for a doctor’s surgery, it can make sure that your patients turn up at all, or at least remind them to cancel appointments that are no longer needed.

Cost efficient

By reminding patients of their appointments, it can pay for itself in no time at all, you are able to end that revenue loss. Your automated appointment reminder offers call-backs or reminders which are sent out to your patients, and some services can even ask them to make a follow-up appointment or relay messages.

Despite the above statistics, most people do want to make their appointments; the one in 10 people who do fail to turn up are usually due to having simply forgotten about their appointment. Thus the automated telephone reminder service provided by a virtual medical receptionist is an ideal way to address this issue.

Virtual receptionist features

A multilingual appointment reminder service can contact your patients in their own language and leave messages in a clear and informative manner. The service can also detect the difference between human voices and answering machines, and will retry unanswered calls at different times of the day until it gets an answer.

The virtual receptionist logs all calls, attempts and results with efficiency and accuracy.

Reminder calls are just one aspect offered by a virtual medical receptionist, and such calls, in general, are received well and greatly valued by patients, so this part of the package can be a good way to get your patients familiar with a service which you might want to expand upon at a later date.

Patient appointment reminder service is a dentist’s best helper

November 25th, 2008

Many dentists are turning to an automated appointment reminder software solution to complete all-important appointment reminder calls to patients. There are a couple main reasons that dental offices deliver appointment reminder calls to patients. The first is simply as a reminder call to ensure a scheduled patient does not forget an appointment or neglect to cancel in advance. This is an important service for the patient who may not keep a good schedule or one that does not offer the courtesy of a phone call in advance. Additionally, a telephone reminder can be used to remind recent patients to schedule follow up visits which are very common with certain types of dental procedures. Some patients will avoid or neglect to schedule a follow up after a procedure. The dentist wants to make sure everything is okay and repeat visits are an important revenue driver for the dental practice.

Surprisingly to some providers, an automated appointment reminder is often more efficient and cost-effective than a live agent telephone reminder, and many patients prefer the automated patient appointment reminder. Receptionists in a dental office can be stressed or overwhelmed with work which prevents them from efficiently completing appointment reminder calls. Sometimes, their irritable tone can even turn off new or existing patients. However, the automated reminder service does not grow tired or weary and it performs the telephone reminder consistently and accurately every time. Though not as strong on personal interaction, the appointment reminder software solution is just what the “dentist” ordered for many patients.

The automated reminder as an appointment reminder courtesy can allow the patient to confirm or cancel their appointment. This way, a cancellation still leaves time for the appointment time to be rescheduled, preventing lost revenue for the practice. Dentists rely on appointments to generate revenue and missed times are a burden. The phone reminder can also include notes directing certain types of patients (new, follow up, certain procedures) on arrival times, what to bring, and the like.

The telephone reminder as a reminder to the patient to schedule a follow up visit helps encourage ongoing relationships with patients and repeat business for the dental practice. Many patients just forget the importance of a follow up visit and get caught up in their day-to-day lives. A simple telephone reminder can be a great prompt to get them to return to the dentist office for follow up care.

The efficiency and accuracy of an automated appointment reminder is a great value for many dentists, especially given the moderate up front cost and little to no ongoing investment. It is not just the performance of the phone reminder program that is important to keep in mind. Employee performance should also greatly improve if they are freed from the burden of processing the reminder call program. Employees can focus on personal attention to callers and patient visitors, while also completing important insurance paperwork and other routine office tasks. Everyone wins when an automated telephone reminder is used in a dental practice.

Appointment reminder software drives optometrist revenue

November 25th, 2008

From a consumer standpoint, an eye doctor appears to be someone there to perform eye vision screenings, give us glasses, and manage our ongoing eye care needs. These are all elements of an effective optometry practice, but optometrists are also business people who must earn revenue and manage costs. One of the biggest drains on eye clinics is missed appointments and lost opportunities for follow up appointments. Though many clinics rely on appointment reminders to handle these challenges, the effectiveness of an appointment reminder is questionable at best given that they are sometimes missed or poorly delivered by stressed and overwhelmed receptionists. This is why many eye doctors are looking to a best in class appointment reminder software solution to perform daily patient appointment reminder calls.

Patient no shows are a burden for any optometry practice. Each scheduled appointment time is important to the clinic as completed appointments are the key driver of revenue for the business. When a scheduled time is missed or empty, the practice does not collect that revenue despite having to pay for the costs to earn it. Employees are still present, utilities and other resource bills are still paid. Thus, avoiding patient no-shows or last minute cancellations is critical. A top automated telephone reminder program is an efficient and accurate way to cut down on missed appointments. The phone reminder is not only an appointment reminder service, it also allows a patient to confirm or cancel an appointment. Earlier detection of a cancellation allows the eye clinic to fill that time with another patient, thus avoiding the lost revenue. The telephone reminder can also be a way to deliver quick notes about the appointment as it pertains to the patient’s situation.

Another important use of an automated telephone reminder in the eye care profession is to encourage patients to schedule follow up visits. When patients have treatments, new prescriptions, or other issues handled in an office visit, the eye doctor generally likes the patient to return for a follow up visit. This is a way for the provider to ensure everything is going well and it is also an important way for the practice to maintain an ongoing relationship with its clients. The phone reminder can be used as a tool to prompt the patient to schedule a follow up visit and it can give them specific reasons to do so.

The efficiency and accuracy of the automated reminder is what separates it from a live agent in delivery effective telephone reminder calls. People struggle with stress and fatigue and must also manage personalized situations with in-clinic visitors and complete tedious paperwork. The appointment reminder software can be programmed to perform reminder calls quickly, accurately, and in a way that works for the provider and patients. Some even come with a multilingual appointment reminder feature that allows the clinic to manage the telephone reminder with a multilingual population. Best of all, the reminder service is a moderate up front investment with little ongoing maintenance.

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