Archive for the tag 'phone reminder'

Turn “uh-oh no-show” into $$$ with automated reminder service

May 21st, 2009


Some doctors insist on letting their own staff to make patient reminder calls instead of using reminder service! They believe such calls make the service more “personal”.

Is it really better, for patient or for medical office, if a reminder call is made by staff (or more “personal”) than automated system?

Let’s face it. We all live busy lives, and none of us have too much extra time for small talk. The last time my doctor’s office called me to remind me of an upcoming appointment the receptionist began with, “Hi, how are you feeling?” It was a very nice sentiment – but one in which my busy day, I don’t have time to be engaged in. I was very nice, but a call that should’ve taken 10 seconds, ended up taking 3 minutes. And, really- who wants to waste anytime let alone speaking to a receptionist at your doctor’s office?

Vice versa, I am pretty sure there are receptionists that get caught into an undesired long conversation by patients bring up issues that are beyond their control. “Can you tell doctor that I still have this pain over…”. “How comes the medicine I took is not working…”.

It got me to thinking – wouldn’t that a receptionist’s time be better served talking to patients in person at the office and not bantering over the phone? And, wouldn’t it make more sense for the receptionist to be doing something more productive for the practice?
And, that’s where the idea of the automated reminder service comes in.

A reminder service automatically calls patients and reminds them of their appointments. With the virtual system in place, the call is made on time and is quick and easy. Patients like it because you’re not taking up their valuable time. And, there is a hidden benefit for the medical practice as well.

The hidden benefit is by using a reminder service – you are actually cutting your cost and increasing revenue. Why? First of all, you are turning potential “no-shows” into returning patients. The more patients you can maintain in your practice, the more your revenue increases. In addition, this frees up your live receptionist to do more important business around the office. For example, because the automatic reminder service is handling reminding patients about their appointments, the receptionist can focus on attracting new patients. Attracting new patients is something an automated system may not do – but reminding current patients of their appointments is absolutely something the virtual service can and will do effectively. And, when no-shows at your medical practice go down and customer satisfaction goes up because of the automated reminders – you have struck gold!

And all of this, without perhaps alienating your patients by unnecessary small talk or – even worse – by being put on hold during the appointment reminder process. The automated reminder cuts down on many different things that could adversely affect the patient’s experience.

And, there is one more thing to keep in mind as well. An automated appointment reminder system can be programmed to do many different things. Calling and reminding patients of their appointments is just one small aspect. Imagine programming the system to speak in the language the patient speaks – automatically! Or, imagine the automated reminder system calling to remind patients about prescription refills or other necessary items that could impact their health? There are many different uses for the virtual reminder system – all of which help bring in more patients and help keep your current patients satisfied. And, when your patients are happy, the practice is happy because chances are those patients are telling their friends what a wonderful office experience they had!

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.

Telephone reminder vital to chiropractice success

December 4th, 2008


Chiropractic care is still very much a controversial medical practice. Though popular opinion seems to be moving more and more toward acceptance of muscle and bone manipulation as a medical treatment, there is still a large segment of people who are opposed to the use of chiropractic care. While chiropractors are certainly investing time and resources into educating the public on the benefits of treatment, they should also be focused on maintain relationships with people who have already demonstrated a willingness to receive care. A simple patient appointment reminder goes along way toward keeping patients coming.

There is now a large enough population of people that are comfortable with chiropractic care to satisfy the business needs of many providers. The challenge for providers is to make an immediate connection with patients and establish ongoing relationships. For some people, chiropractic treatment is used as part of rehabilitation from injury or as a one-time use. Others, however, are turning to the industry to assist with ongoing physical ailments. People with chronic back pain, muscle soreness, and other aches and pains recognize the long-term effects that consistent treatment can give them.

It sounds simple enough – deliver a patient appointment reminder to people about upcoming appointments or to schedule follow up appointments, and they will come. This is true. Reminder calls can help reduce patient no shows which are a revenue drain and can help with getting repeat visits from patients after initial care. The challenge lies in having a receptionist who has the time, ability, and inclination to consistently and effectively deliver phone reminder calls every day to confirm appointments or schedule follow ups. In many chiropractic care facilities, one receptionist is relied on to manage the office. This includes in-clinic patient assistance, answering phone calls, filing, completing insurance paperwork, billing, running errands, and more. There is not always time for an accurate and thorough deliver of an appointment reminder call.

Enter the automated reminder program. An automated appointment reminder software program is a tool that can be customized to deliver efficient and effective appointment reminder calls every day, without fail, and a cost-effective manner. Reminder calls are delivered through an automated system that enables the patient to confirm or cancel an appointment. This helps ensure the appointment time is filled by that patient or another. Notes can also be included with the call based on particular needs or direction for the given patient. Additionally, reminder calls can be used to follow up with patients to encourage them to schedule their next appointment.

The best news about the great benefits provided by a patient appointment reminder solution is that it been be obtained with a moderate investment. Top systems typically come with an up front cost and little to no ongoing expense and maintenance. Given the significant business advantages addressed, especially the one about the importance of maintaining patient relationships, an investment in an automated appointment reminder solution seems like one sure to pay off for most chiropractic offices.

Psychiatrists depend on automated phone reminder

December 2nd, 2008


Operating a psychiatric practice can be stressful. Psychiatrists often work with patients that struggle with tough mental and emotional issues. The ability to work effectively with patients can be very rewarding to professionals, though, which is why providers select psychiatry as a profession.

Psychiatry is also a business. Like any other service provider, psychiatric practices must generate revenue and manage costs. This part of the industry can also contribute to the stress level of a provider and managing office staff can certainly be a strain on the real focus of the psychiatric professional.

Turnover is notoriously high in medical practice front desk positions. In many psychiatric clinics, one or two receptionists are relied upon to manage the office. This includes patient attentiveness, answering phone calls, filing, errands, delivering reminder calls, and completing insurance paperwork. This can be a massive undertaking for any human being and the stress has proved too much for many a receptionist. Fortunately, an automated appointment reminder program can be a problem solver and help in many facets of operating a practice.

Appointment reminder software offers solution for managing one of the more tedious tasks that office staff must complete. Daily reminder calls are necessary in any industry that relies on appointments for revenue. Patients, especially those burdened with other mental and emotional challenges can be forgetful. They can also forget to call and cancel appointments when something else comes up.

Appointment no-shows are a huge financial strain on a psychiatric practice as providers rely on consistent appointment bookings for ongoing revenue generation. Staff and resource expenses are still necessary even when appointment times are missed.

Why is appointment reminder software better than a live agent phone reminder? There are several reasons. First, as mentioned, receptionists are overwhelmed and delivering tedious telephone reminders every day can be exhausting. This may cause the live agent to be irritable in making the calls and potentially cause them to neglect effective performance of other important tasks. Since people deal with stress and fatigue and an automated appointment reminder software does not, there is much less ongoing management and maintenance of the virtual phone reminder.

Appointment reminder software operates efficiently and accurately. It delivers reminder calls precisely as it is programmed and in a quick fashion. This frees up the live agent to handle the other personalized care and paperwork needs. A good phone reminder program can be acquired for a modest up front investment, which is certainly repaid in the reduction of patient no-shows. The phone reminder enables the patient to either confirm or cancel their appointment. The confirmation serves as a friendly reminder and the cancellation lets the office know to reschedule that time slot. Either scenario helps protect the important revenue that might otherwise have been lost.

The phone reminder can also be programmed to include notes about the visit to ensure there are no issues or delays when the patient arrives at the office. Small features like this have prove to be big help to medical practice, making the service ever pupular among physicians.

Reminder call program keeps patients coming back for eye care

December 2nd, 2008

Eye care clinics are recognizing increased competition and the need to drive consistent revenue and maintain patient relationships. As is the case with other medical providers, optometrists depend on consistently utilized appointment times to collect revenue from patients. Patient no-shows or missed follow up business can harm the long-term viability of any practice. A virtual reminder call program has become the answer for many of the top optometrists. An automated reminder call service is the most efficient, cost-effective, and accurate way to deliver telephone reminders to patients, thus reducing the number of no-shows and last minute appointment cancellations.

Historically, receptionists have been responsible for making reminder calls in optometry clinics. However, turnover has been fairly high in many healthcare offices because receptionists are stressed, overwhelmed and fatigued. Many practices operate with one or two receptionists who are responsible for managing in-clinic patients, telephone calls, office communications, and insurance paperwork. The burden of doing all of these things, plus taking the time to making daily reminder phone calls can wear any person out. Even though good receptionists may try to accomplish all of these things effectively, at some point their stress causes them to lose effectiveness in handling personalized concerns of patients and accurately completing tasks.

The automated appointment reminder solution does not struggle with stress or fatigue. More importantly, it potentially relieves some of the stress and fatigue of the other members of an office staff. An optometrist relies on patient relationships for long-term success. An automated reminder helps reduce the number of forgotten appointments and helps increase revenue collection. Additionally, the reminder call enables the patient to either confirm or cancel. An early cancel allows the practice to schedule another patient during that time slot and not miss out on the revenue earning opportunity. The appointment reminder is also a good way to deliver important notes on what to bring or other instructions to patients based on their particular needs.

Automated reminder call program can perform these daily phone reminders efficiently and accurately without the possible irritability that accompanies some calls from receptionists. Top reminder call software programs also offer multilingual call capabilities to help serve a diverse population. The good news is that an automated reminder program does not have to cost too much. Solutions can be purchased for a moderate up front cost and typically require little to no ongoing maintenance. For many eye care practices, the use of an automated appointment reminder program can potentially mean the elimination of the need for a backup receptionist or part time receptionist to help with managing office tasks.

Additionally, the reminder call program not only performs its duties without fail, it also frees up the receptionist to complete his or her more important tasks efficiently and with less stress. The overall morale of the office is improved, patient care is more personable, and the practice benefits through a reduced number of patient no-shows and better long-term relationships with its patients.

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.

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