Archive for the tag 'automated appointment reminder'

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!

Busy holidays remind psychiatrists of importance of reminder calls

January 10th, 2009


The busy holiday season means more than just people rushing to complete last minute shopping and attending lots of holiday parties. It is also one of the busiest times for certain healthcare providers who deal with patients that suffer from both physical and mental stresses.

Along with cold and flu viruses that run rampant during the winter holiday season, mental and emotional stressors also fly high. Unfortunately, for many psychiatric patients, there is so much going on that it is easy to forget visits to the psychiatrist. Thus, the always important appointment reminder call is especially vital during this period of high stress and multiple distractions.

It sounds simple enough – have a receptionist make daily appointment reminder calls to let patients know of upcoming visits. The efficiency and accuracy of this process is often up for debate when reminder calls are delivered by live receptionists. Just as providers are busy during high traffic times, office staff is easily overwhelmed. Many psychiatrists rely on one receptionist, or a small staff, to manage in-clinic visits, call answering, paperwork, errands, and other office tasks. This can be stressful and challenging during heightened busy seasons. Medical office staff has a traditionally high turnover rate because of the amount of stress and exhaustion.

What is a psychiatry practice to do then? Reminder calls are necessary to ensure appointment times are filled and follow up visits are kept, but the challenges have been identified. What if there is a solution that allows the practice to efficiently and accurately deliver telephone reminder calls every day, with confirmation or cancellation options, appointment notes, and other vital details? Fortunately, there is. A best in class automated appointment reminder software solution can be programmed to efficiently make appointment reminder calls every day, and at a very moderate up front cost and with little to no ongoing maintenance requirements.

The benefits of using an automated reminder solution are more than just delivery of the reminder calls. Sure, improving rates of customers showing up for scheduled appointments is important. But, office morale is also given a boost when the automated reminder call solution kicks in. The receptionist is able to focus on giving personal attention to sometimes fragile customers and their needs. He or she can also accurately and effectively complete important insurance claims paperwork. The psychiatrist benefits as well. Psychiatry professionals already operate in a high stress environment. Removing some of the stressors of managing tough office situations makes things even more difficult.

Reminder calls are not just an effective tool for reminding patients of upcoming visits. The automated reminder includes a confirmation or cancellation option that lets the provider know the patient’s intention. The solution can also be used, though, to follow up with patients to remind them to schedule their next visit. With distractions abound, patients can easily lose track of the need to schedule their next visits which can cause bigger issues down the road. The multiple capabilities of a top automated reminder solution, combined with its moderate cost and office benefits, makes it a great investment before, during, or after the stressful holiday season.

A Simple Way of Running a Successful Medical Practice during This Recession

January 10th, 2009


‘Money is the root cause of all evil.’ Being flat broke should then be better, right? Well, don’t answer because I already have the answer to that. As the world painstakingly goes through the paces with a pulse whose strings gets tighter every day the outcry is almost everywhere. The number of people being laid off has reached some of its highest levels in recent times. Talk about foreclosures and that sends a shiver down the spines of many. It is not only here in the US but even on the sandy beaches of Seychelles, Mauritius and the Kenyan coast; people know there is something wrong with the economy.

Unfortunately almost all the sectors are affected; from the ones offering basic commodities to the luxurious services sectors. The medical profession also has had a fair share of its woes. People making appointments are on the decline as more people try to postpone or put off completely that appointment with the doctor that does not seem so necessary. For others the appointment is very necessary but the worries that characterize many lives today make them forget this important meeting with their doctor.

Sounds strange? Well, it should not as it has been shown through research that when you are worrying about something a lot you may forget some other important matters. People need a reminder service especially when many pressing matters are going through their minds.

As a doctor you may have noted that you are losing a lot of revenue from patient no-shows. Don’t watch as you business goes under especially when you know that your patient could be missing appointments out of forgetfulness. Invest in a reminder software or telephone reminder service. With this you can help both your practice and your patients.

You can even get a multilingual appointment reminder to cater for all your patients. Less will miss their appointments out of forgetfulness as they worry about other pressing matters.

Online appointment reminder software does not requires installation on your computer and it sends reminders automatically to all the patients that have an appointment with you at a certain date. The reminder software works in such away that the patient is well informed in good time that there is an upcoming appointment with the doctor. It helps the patient schedule things well in advance to avoid last minute rush. As the day nears the patient will still be reminded of the nearing appointment.

Your live receptionist can (although it is not necessary) physically call the patient to remind him of an appointment when it is due in a few hours, say under 24 hours. By doing this your staff will be freed from repetitive and sometimes boring duties. The phone reminder will do that as your staff engages in other more important matters that the soft ware can not carry out. Thus ensuring a more efficient practice and more satisfied patients!

Take advantage of this excellent reminder software today. See your practice maneuver through these difficult times but ensuring you reduce on the number of patients who don’t show up. Let the patient appointment reminder remind your clients to do business with you! Who would not want such kind of staff?

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.

Due Diligence Necessary When Selecting an Appointment Reminder Service

December 14th, 2008


Not all appointment reminder services are created equal. When you begin your quest for the optimum automated appointment reminder system, take the time to try the demos the vendors offer before you buy. Committing to appointment reminder software that is sub par will only reflect poorly on your ability to make good choices. Take the time to find what is right for your office.

Seek the assistance of your fulltime medical office receptionist or speak to whoever is on the frontline of client and patient calling in your office. Your staff could guide you on whether the medical reminder systems you are trying are worth the investment. Count on your employees to offer their opinions. Consider them carefully as part of your due diligence process.

Make sure the company you decide to do medical reminder business with has a reputation for customer service and longevity in the marketplace. The last thing you need is to hook up with a vendor and find they are out of business when you require their help. If possible, make your initial inquiries with the main company directly; let them choose a specific reseller for you. It is preferable to deal with someone who is exclusively committed to the sale and service of appointment reminder services.

Some appointment reminder services will ask you for a long-term service contract and this should be avoided like the plague in today’s tight economy. Try to research the company’s viability by finding out how long they have been in business. Do a Google search of the company name and read about what has been written about them in reviews. Beware of penalties charged for early service cancellation and try to arrange a pay for use or month to month invoicing.

Determine if you are capable of training yourself on automated appointment reminder software in house. Some medical reminder services require you set up the service yourself online in connecting to your current network. Do you need this added responsibility or would you prefer that the appointment reminder service vendor set everything up? Both options have their valid points to consider.

If you are time or technically challenged then Internet based appointment reminder services will be perfect for you. These systems are generally simple to learn, quickly activated by staff, and are maintenance free. Technical support is usually only a toll free call away and appointment reminder service tech support is usually available without much waiting or fuss.

Every business or medical practice has special needs for an appointment reminder service. You should be sure that your system has all the features for your particular business. For example, email is far more prevalent today than it was only 5 years ago; you must cater to the needs of patients who have their Blackberry’s glued to their palms. Email and phone reminders may be essential to them. You will be amazed how an appointment reminder service will assist your practice but do your homework.

Appointment Reminder for Your Practice

December 11th, 2008


The complexities of running a medical office can be daunting. Practices, particularly solo practitioners, are finding it harder and harder to cover their overhead expenses, pay staff and malpractice insurance while still maintaining a full focus on patient care. Changes in staff, disgruntled patients, and low insurance company reimbursements often leave physician friends of mine questioning why they went into the practice of medicine. But in the end, their love for patients and desire to provide quality care always outweighs the rest. They continue to juggle and provide care while managing the pressures of running a practice and smaller things albeit important don’t get done.

Key to managing never-ending workloads, patient call backs and demands that are squeezed in between fifteen minute appointments, is the ability to utilize innovative methods and resources that focus on cost effective practice improvements. It is important that any change in practice patterns or medical practice management have a high yield, big benefit and can be incorporated seamlessly.

One of the things that I have found that make a big difference is appointment reminder calls. These have tremendous benefits all around. A 2006 study that evaluated the effectiveness of patient reminder calls showed that the rate of no show appointments significantly reduced when patient reminder calls were instituted. How do “no show” appointments currently affect your practice? Or, better yet – how do you accommodate patients who come in on the wrong day or time for their appointment because they were guessing about when to come? Lastly, has your practice tried to perform reminder calls in the past but found that they were haphazardly done when other more pressing priorities arose? These scenarios can greatly impact projected cash flow or cause disruption in patient flow.

If you had trouble answering any of the questions or find that you are looking for more ways to increase your practice’s efficiency or productivity, you should consider investing in appointment reminder. Online appointment reminder service does not require maintnance and are cost effective and pay for themselves. They can free up front office staff so that duties that are more hands on can be focused on more intently. You’ll find that office staff are more productive and may welcome one less “task” to perform. They can focus for instance on things like more accurate claims submissions for proper reimbursement from insurance companies.

Additionally, patients really appreciate appointment reminder. Often they themselves are multitasking and juggling multiple doctors’ appointments for family members and can easily loose track of when their own appointment is scheduled. The connection with the patient and great first impression can then begin before they even walk in to the practice. This helps to ensure patient loyalty and a higher degree of patient satisfaction which can also decrease medical liability.

As you can see, so many things come into play when a appointment reminder is instituted. It is very simple, easy to maintain, requires little upkeep, and has a big payoff.

Eye doctors should add patient reminder to holiday wish list

December 5th, 2008


As the holiday season rolls around, eye doctors should consider adding patient reminder to their holiday wish lists. Although not as exciting as the latest movie or music player, or television set, patient reminder is a practical business solution that can improve profit and reduce stress for any optometry practice.

A patient reminder is a common tool long used by many medical providers to reduce the percentage of patient no-shows for appointments. The problem is that receptionists that are often relied on to deliver the calls are overwhelmed, stressed, tired, and irritable. This means that the reminder calls are often neglected, delivered inaccurately, or even worse, delivered with an irritable tone that turns of patients. Consistent and timely telephone reminder calls are crucial to confirming appointments with patients who might otherwise forget an appointment or neglect to cancel in advance. This is a big drain on revenue for the practice.

A better solution in today’s high-tech world is an automated phone reminder. Yes, people can always offer a more personalized approach, but they also have limitations and emotions, as noted. An automated reminder can be set up to quickly make reminder calls. It also allows the patient to confirm or cancel the appointment, ensuring a better chance the scheduled time will be used, one way or the other. Are there important messages for a first-time patient or a patient with a follow up visit? A best in class automated reminder program can also be programmed to include the notes in the reminder telephone call.

Reminder calls are not just important to confirm appointments either. Eye doctors rely heavily on follow up appointments and repeat traffic for long-term business success. The automated reminder can be used to follow up with patients who need to reschedule appointments. Many people try to avoid or forget about the importance of follow up care with their vision and eye needs. A simple reminder call can help remind these people to schedule an appointment and return for the visit. The ability to help people come back again and again with the use of an efficient automated tool is an excellent opportunity for the optometry practice.

The automated reminder also does not struggle with the human limitations and stressors identified. It knows no stress and works diligently as it’s told with no complaints. More great perks? A great automated reminder solution does not have to cost a lot. A good solution can be acquired for a moderate up front investment. More importantly it requires very little ongoing maintenance, expense, and coaching. The same cannot always be said about live agents expected to make the appointment reminder calls. This combination of benefits and modest expense makes the automated reminder a great solution to deliver important reminder calls. Thus, despite the glitz and glamour offered by other gift ideas during the holidays, an appointment reminder software is the gift that keeps on giving for many optometrists.

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