Aubrey Andrews 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.
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.
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.