Archive for the tag 'office automation'

Virtual Medical Answering Service – Pay per Call or Flat Fee ?

April 18th, 2009

When it comes to medical answering there are many services out there to choose from. But what narrows your search is the ability to stay out of long-term contracts, and be in charge of how you would like to be invoiced. It is important to know what is available before you jump into a service package with a vendor. Once again do your homework, shop around (Search google using on “medical answering” and you will find everything on the Internet), and ask copious amounts of questions of the vendor.

The first question you should ask yourself when choosing medical answering service is what you intend to use it for? Will it be mainly used as a back up or will it be your main front desk receptionist for answering the phone? Are you intending to use it as an after hours appointment scheduler , or will it be used for callbacks and reminders or other functions? This then brings into question how feature rich do you want your package to be?

The more features you purchase the better your overall price will be relative to a basic package with limited options. This will also mean you could probably negotiate for more flexibility when it comes to invoicing. Do not be afraid to ask for what you want in a package, technical support, and billing options. If you shop around and get competitive pricing perhaps you can use those prices to leverage a better deal from your medical answering vendor of choice.

Although purchasing an online virtual medical answering service may not be the largest expenditure your business will ever make but it could well be the most important one. This means you should not jump at the first service that impresses you. Watch the demonstrations and take advantage of the free trial offers, which are generally for 30 days each. DO NOT be afraid to say no if you are not satisfied after the trial ends. Make a call and try a different package.

Pay per call medical answering packages are probably a wise choice for after hours use because the number of after hour calls will in all likelihood be fewer than what you will receive during regular office hours. You can purchase a package with numerous features sufficient for after hours use and pay [depending on the vendor] $50.00 per month. This will include 50 calls, and if you average ten after hours calls a day for 20 days @ $1.00 per call, that’s $150.00 per month extra for paid calls with an excellent medical answering service package.

Flat fee monthly pricing is more cost effective if you are going to be using your virtual medical answering service more often throughout the regular workday. Regular hours use could include back up phone duties, reminder calls, sick days or vacation leave. Perhaps you would like to transfer one of your employees permanently to other more important office tasks, let the virtual answering service be your new office workhorse. An all-inclusive monthly flat fee on a premium package works for these scenarios.

Whatever your reasons for using your new virtual medical answering service, calculate the number of phone calls on average during the time you will be using the service the most and which options you are likely to use more frequently, and base your choice on these factors.

Online Appointment Scheduler for Your Blackberry, iPhone, or SmartPhone

February 12th, 2009


Busy medical practitioners and business people who are using the modern online appointment software already appreciate the benefits of the service automation. They should be pleased that the online appointment scheduler just became much more efficient.

A new feature will allow the client to access their online appointment software via their handheld devices such as blackberries, iPhones, SmartPhone’s etc. from anywhere. When you are out of your office, you can now be sure you will never miss an appointment. Your online appointment software will display appointments to your mobile devices when you need it.

Your appointments will be synced to your handheld device utilizing tools available through Google Calendar and Goo Sync to provide either one-way appointment access or two ways. You can literally push or pull your appointments to or from your online appointment scheduler from anywhere once you register for this new and exciting service.
The following services can now be synced to your portable phone or handheld device:

• Business Contacts with addresses
• Scheduled agenda events
• Event particulars and your notations
• Regularly scheduled events
• Various calendars
• Shared and public Google calendars
• Audible alerts reminders from your mobile device
• Tasks from your Outlook mail program

Your online appointment scheduler working in conjunction with Goo Sync and Google Calendar will offer you many new services and capabilities. As mentioned, you can choose a one or two-way synchronization between your online calendar or desktop calendar or just a basic upload from your online appointment scheduler. You can set a timer so your calendar will sync automatically with your iPhone, Blackberry, SmartPhone or one of many different handheld or mobile devices.

As with all Google applications, your personal data is well protected but you may want to take further precautions by excluding your personal data from your new mobile appointment calendar. In particular, if there is confidential patient information in your online appointment scheduler these details could be excluded from the syncing process. Common sense should prevail when storing personal information online and when doing so via wireless mobile devices.

Support is available for handhelds including BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Apple iPhone & iPod Touch through your Outlook and iTunes, Google Android and so many more. A complete list of compatible devices is available upon sign up and the list is impressive. Software applications are available to expand the number of personal information management software and desktop applications with which you can sync. These include Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, Palm Desktop, ACT!, GoldMine, Microsoft Outlook with Business Contact Manager and Novell GroupWise.

There is no charge to access Google Calendar or any of the Google products from your phone or handheld device but your mobile device operator may charge you extra for certain added services.

As mentioned above there are various plug ins available on the market to improve your compatibility between mobile devices and software calendars/ personal data programs.
For the busy physician or businessperson who is required to be out of the office and away from their online appointment scheduler software, the advantages of syncing your online appointment scheduler with your SmartPhone, iPhone or Blackberry device are many. Your busy schedule just became a little more tolerable and a lot more organized.

Virtual Medical Office Receptionist: A Good Investment Now and In The Future

February 2nd, 2009

Medical professionals should be a happy lot especially due to the fact that health related practices and the education sector are some of the areas that have managed to remain steady even with the current economic tantrums. Despite the recession people still have to go to school and seek medical care. However, it is important to note that the recession has been so severe such that some people are even postponing visits to the doctor. That means that the profits are not as high as they used to be before the recession set in.

Due to this medical practitioners are devising ways of beating their competitors. They are doing major restructuring and changing the way they normally run their business. One way of doing this is to ensure that the overall customer satisfaction is looked into. Private medical practices are ensuring that the medical receptionist not only helps in retaining the usual clients but also attracts new ones. Unfortunately most health practitioners have realized that human receptionist can only do so much. When overstretched, the human receptionist caves in easily. A medical clinic receptionist can only take one phone call at a time, attend to one or two clients at a time and gets tired pretty fast. Human beings are also affected by their surrounding environment and the pressure that sometimes characterizes medical practices can sometimes take its toll on the medical office receptionist. This has made medical practitioners to invest in what is commonly referred to as a Virtual Medical Office Receptionist.

Unlike a human front desk receptionist a medical office assistant online will not get tired or sleepy on the job. It is an easy to install program that can complement the existing medical office staff and can do the necessary but otherwise repetitive and sometimes boring tasks. This program does not require any maintenance and will not complain or ask for a raise! A 24/7 backup receptionist as it is also known ensures that your office remains ‘open’ even after your normal office hours. It is capable of distinguishing between the important and less important calls and ensuring that the important ones get through to you in real time. This is a huge plus for your practice because patients will know you as a reliable medical practitioner and hence developing customer loyalty. In addition, such a health care receptionist will help your business cut the huge losses that are sometimes as a result of the patient no-shows.

Well, you may be saying to yourself, ‘that must cost a whole lot of money’. It all depends with what you want and the software provider. The market is awash with a lot of office automation software. However, before buying any kind of software ensure that you know exactly what you want. Once your ‘shopping list’ is ready then find the software that serves your purpose.  Get a program whose payment is done monthly so that you don’t tie up a lot of your money and the software is not delivering what you expected. Have some ‘exit route’ if a need to exit arises. With this information now you can buy the software that suits your practice well.

Give your medical practice a ‘facelift’ today by investing in a good back up receptionist.  It is a sure and cost effective way of not only beating this recession but also a worthwhile investment into the future!

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?

How to Speed Up Your Internet Connection FREE of charge!

January 8th, 2009

Internet accelerators are essentially tools that could help your medical practice become more productive, more efficient and leave your staff less stressed. It is easy to enhance your office organization by learning proper computing habits and taking advantage of the various free Internet web accelerators that are available. You may see a speed increase up to 10 or 20 times faster than your office currently has. The two most popular freebies are the Google Web Accelerator and Fasterfox by Mozilla Firefox. These applications are simple to download, implemented in minutes, enabling the user quicker browsing through Internet pages.

The Google’s Web Accelerator is probably the best bet since its many features overlap much of what Fasterfox offers and since it utilizes Google indexed pages, you are getting the best of the Internet. If you use the Firefox browser than you will probably want to use Fasterfox as your web accelerator for better compatibility.

The jury is still out on using both simultaneously so it’s not recommended. Both options offer faster Internet access, which is the desired result after all. The Google internet accelerator is optimized for broadband users specifically; many medical practices are DSL customers and they will find a notable increase in speed.

The same cannot be said for Dial up users who may only notice the slightest increase in speed. There are other accelerators available for dial up connections since these applications were originally designed to speed up a dial up connection.

Freeware programs to accelerate your Internet connection, browsing, and downloading will increase productivity in your medical office with those non-encrypted, secure online applications such as perhaps appointment schedulers. Accessing your appointment booking software more quickly can only increase your efficiency. If you use online resources for research the accelerators will save time, waiting on page loads and every second counts in a busy medical practice.

Free Internet accelerators use advanced compression technology that reduces the size of the online pages, reuses the pages you have already visited [page caching], and establishes a more reliable connection with the modem.

Although some paid web accelerators may provide a greater boost of Internet speed, the free ones can give you the speed you need. Depending on the Accelerator’s settings, your hard drives free space will be under a heavy demand, as will your Internet connection, not a good thing if your Internet account is pay per byte, or your broadband account slows once you hit a certain download or upload limit.

Many small businesses and professional medical practices believe they already have a fast Internet connection. They will be pleasantly surprised in the increased speed and efficiency they will enjoy with a free Web accelerator. Considering the overall performance and the significant increase in Internet speed, free Internet accelerators could be a good idea to increase your medical offices current high speed Internet. Keep in mind, however, that although very efficient, free Internet accelerators cannot guarantee an increase of speed of all you Internet activities.

Since broadband speed is often subject to wild variations such as where you live, who your ISP is, how far you are from the telephone exchange, or broadband usage density etc, some people might find that there is still a place for internet accelerators in their lives. In a world where speed is sought-after, free internet accelerators are high in demand. Try one out in your medical office.

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.

The staff member you have been looking for

January 2nd, 2009

The loud ringing of the phone at the reception seems to be continuous. Every time your receptionist puts it down, it goes off again. The constant buzz is interfering with your current appointment. It is also getting to the people waiting in the lobby. Some of them are irritated by the sound and others are getting impatient because they are not getting the attention they deserve from the staff who have to answer the phone every so often.

You may be thinking “Well, there’s nothing I can do about that? I can’t afford to hire more staff to ensure that callers and waiting patients are satisfied.” It would certainly cost you more money to maintain a larger staff. So what can you do? It is time you invested in an online scheduler.

Online appointment schedulers are programs that are run from a web interface. They answer all incoming calls leaving your staff with more time to attend to the needs of patients awaiting consultation. Patients and their families and friends will appreciate the increased attention they receive from your staff. This personal touch will increase the flow of patients to your practice as well as increasing the number of repeat visits.

Sounds nice, but many people do not like talking to a machine when they call a doctor’s office or anywhere for that matter. Won’t the automated voice put callers off? The answer to that question is a big NO. Online schedulers can interact with patients in a natural language dialog. This means that to callers, they sound like any other receptionist. The self-service patient appointment scheduling ability to interact with patients in such a natural manner is attributed to the speech-recognition software that is installed in it. This cutting-edge software gives them voices that are appealing to callers.

An online doctor appointment scheduling can be used on a part time or full time basis depending on your needs. You no longer have to look for a replacement for your receptionist when she can’t make it to work for one reason or another. All you have to do is turn the scheduler on and let it work for you. All your staff can continue with their duties without being interrupted by the telephone.

What’s more, a web-based doctor appointment scheduling program does not need to sleep. It can work 24 hours a day and 7 days a week without the need for rest or a vacation. Late night callers will receive service from an ever pleasant scheduler that will not mind being disturbed at a late hour. Should your receptionist go on vacation or be forced to leave work for sometime, you can trust your new staff member to handle all your incoming calls. This efficient online scheduler can set appointments for patients as well as forward emergency calls to the rightful numbers. If requested by the caller, they can forward calls to voicemail for later retrieval.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, you don’t have to believe everything you read. So try it yourself. Get an automated appointment scheduling program installed easily in your practice and see what a great difference this cost-effective program will make to your practice.

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.

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