Archive for the tag 'appointment reminder calls'

Strategies for Medical Practice Efficiencies

December 30th, 2008

After a recent review of some of the new medical technology devices for 2009, I was impressed with how technology continues to drive and pave the way for efficiency in medical practice management. The new devices range from in house rapid laboratory analyzers to bio-waste concentrators to handheld ultrasound equipment. It is hard for some physicians to see these tools working in their practice when they are struggling with issues such as staffing, morale and meeting the demands of a busy practice.

In today’s economy and low insurance reimbursement rates, it is difficult for most practices to hire and pay for more staff. If you are one of the many physicians who are delicately balancing your payroll with incoming income, hiring more staff is not a consideration. Conversely, if you are able to meet a higher payroll, the risk of staff turnover and inconsistencies in job performance exist. One option to consider meeting the demands on your medical practice is to incorporate the use of a virtual medical receptionist.

A virtual medical receptionist can be an effective part in running your practice and redirecting the focus of office staff to hands on patient care. By loading software on an office computer, the virtual receptionist can begin working without any orientation or training and is maintenance free. You will no longer have to worry about staff turnover in this position or the occasional late starts with opening the practice in the morning or after lunch. Other benefits to having a virtual receptionist include:

- Ability to make appointment reminder calls which decreases patient no-show rates. How do no-show or late-show appointments affect your practice revenue and inconvenience imposed on other patients?

- Handle multiple calls simultaneously without long patient hold times. How often do your patients complain that they call the office and get put on hold for long periods of time or get incorrectly transferred?

- Free medical staff to perform common functions such as bringing patients back to the examination room, taking vital signs, drawing laboratory samples, and focusing on overall patient flow. Imagine having your office staff available to focus entirely on direct patient care delivery.

- Increase staff morale by allowing them to focus directly on patients and not the phones. Does your staff occasionally comment that they have not had time to match laboratory test results up with charts or order necessary supplies because they had a busy “phone” day?

- Decrease overall practice overhead associated with providing benefits to staff that can include paid days off, bonuses, and medical benefits. How do additional compensatory staff benefits affect your ability to keep your practice afloat?

You have the ability to slowly incorporate other medical management efficiencies into your practice by changing the way that the medical receptionist position in your office is staffed. Until this change occurs, it may be a challenge to bring new technologic devices into your practice unless you either hire more staff or incorporate a virtual medical receptionist.

Eye doctors see greater revenue through appointment reminder calls

November 18th, 2008

As is the case with many medical practices, optometry clinics struggle with the revenue and profit drain caused by frequent patient no-shows. Eye doctors rely on revenue generation through consistently scheduled appointments throughout their days. The challenge for many is that it is one thing to have a schedule filled in advance. It is another to actually provide service and collect revenue on those appointment times as they develop. The problem is many patients either forget their appointment, neglect to call and cancel, or wait until the last minute to cancel. All of these scenarios leave the optometrist stuck with an unfilled appointment time, meaning a lost revenue opportunity. Fortunately, advanced technology featured in the automated appointment reminder solution makes reductions in missed appointments and improvements in revenue collection a reality for many eye doctors.

The appointment reminder program has long been a part of the process of running an eye clinic. However, many practices have relied on live agents to deliver the all important phone reminder calls. There are many potential hiccups in this process. First, live agents are human beings and struggle with fatigue, stress, and apathy at times. Healthcare front desk positions have a notoriously high turnover rate because many of the live agents are overwhelmed with patient concerns, phone calls, office tasks, and completion of insurance paperwork. Thus, the telephone reminder program run by a busy receptionist could become inaccurate, unprofessional, or potentially even avoided. A best in class automated phone reminder solution does not pose the same mental and emotional challenges that a live agent does. In fact, an automated phone reminder program offers many potential business advantages over the live agent, while also freeing the receptionist to give more personalized patient care, and complete paperwork.

Appointment reminder software can be easily programmed to deliver appointment reminder calls to scheduled patients in advance of their appointments. These calls are delivered in a timely, precise and multi-functional manner. Along with the phone reminder, an automated telephone reminder service can also allow for various responses on the part of the patient. Patients who need to cancel may do so, allowing the eye clinic to fill the time slot. Patients can also confirm their appointment. Additionally, the telephone reminder can include specific notes tailored to the patients based on the purpose of their visit to the eye clinic.

The consistent and accurate delivery of appointment reminder calls is both a great customer service and a practical business resource for the optometrist. More patients will be “captured” meaning fewer no-shows, and fewer missed appointment times. Live receptionists should be less stressed and better equipped to perform more demanding daily services and tasks. Another excellent advantage of a top automated appointment reminder software solution is that it does not have to come with a steep price tag. Many great phone reminder programs are available for a modest up front cost and little to no ongoing maintenance requirements, making them a very efficient telephone reminder solution.