Archive for the tag 'practice management software'

Which Medical Appointment Reminder Suits your Practice; the Email Reminder or Telephone Reminder?

July 14th, 2009


When you decided to become a private practitioner you probably started out with a handful of patients. Appointments were easy to keep track of and you probably thought that your medical receptionist was the most efficient front desk receptionist available. You knew each patient down to their dog’s name and so did everyone in the practice.

Your practice has probably grown since then and keeping track of your patients and their appointments is becoming more of a challenge for both your patients and especially for your medical receptionist. You can help ease the burden on your front desk receptionist and the rest of your medical staff by investing in an email reminder or telephone reminder. A telephone or email reminder will remind patients of their appointment either online or via a telephone call according to your preference.

The success of your reminder service will directly affect the success of your practice. Deciding on which type of appointment reminder service will suit you best will be influenced by your practice and your patients. Check your patients’ personal records for their contact information. If most of them have email addresses then an email reminder would be suitable. If most of your patients do not have email addresses then a telephone reminder would be more logical.

You ought to consider the type of practice you are running and the type of people you receive as patients. If majority of your patients are elderly or from poor neighborhoods, an email reminder may not reach as many of your patients as you would like. Even if these patients had email addresses they would not spend much time surfing as they either cannot afford to or do not know how to. An email reminder would be suitable in a practice where the patients have access to the Internet and check their emails regularly.

Doctors should also consider the preference of their patients. Some patients will be irritated by receiving telephone calls reminding them of appointments at regular intervals. Such patients would much rather have an email reminder sent to their email addresses. Others would prefer to be alerted via telephone as they are probably prone to forgetting about their appointments easily. This is especially true for elderly patients.

Both a telephone and email reminder are only 90% effective. No doctor can be assured 100% of the successful delivery of all reminders on either service. A telephone reminder may not be delivered as the patient may not answer the telephone. An email reminder may not be read as the patient may fail to check his or her email in good time.

It is therefore advisable for a doctor to invest in both a telephone and email reminder. It may seem expensive in the beginning but the returns will be well worth it. Both services are inexpensive to maintain and working together will guarantee you a more successful delivery. Your patients can even choose the reminder service they prefer.

Psychiatrist New Year’s Resolution: Get an online scheduler

December 5th, 2008


As psychiatrists contemplate what changes to make in their practices, an online scheduler should be at the top of the list for consideration. This resolution is not just one that would help them personally and professionally, it would also be an outstanding service opportunity for patients and employees. An automated scheduling software tool allows the psychiatrist to offer prospects and patients the ability to schedule appointments through the web, and it also presents an automated way to send important email reminders.

Web-based business transactions are growing. After remaining stagnant for a while, internet business has doubled as a portion of total business sales since 2006. In 2006, the internet accounted for about three percent of all sales. As of late 2008, the internet generated six percent of sales. Internet sales are also growing at a 20-25 percent annual rate, a trend that most analysts expect to continue. Why is this happening? Many credit the strong growth in internet business to more creative internet marketing from non-internet based businesses.

Industries, like transportation, hospitality, and yes, healthcare, have recognized the growing trend and the opportunity to generate traffic and sales through a new channel. Though psychiatrists deliver their services in an office, they can reach out to new prospects and book appointments through a web-based doctor appointment scheduling solution. There are definitely advantages to using the solution, and the benefits affect the psychiatrist, his staff, and patients.

Patients are the ones using the web who should be targeted with the efficient ability to schedule appointments online. With an online scheduler, busy people can make appointments on the web 24/7 and avoid the hassle of calling and getting a busy signal, being left no hold, or dealing with a stressed and overworked receptionist. With an automated appointment scheduler, the patient is able to quickly setup an appointment using the customized scheduler available to providers to use. Using the advanced security measures delivered by a top solution, the patient also shares a bit of personal data, including an email address when scheduling. This provides the psychiatrist with patient data that can be backed up, used for follow up and appointment reminder emails, and used other marketing and operational needs.

Receptionists appreciate the online scheduler as well. Patients schedule via the web allows receptionists to focus on personalized care, complex phone calls, insurance paperwork, and other important office management tasks. The reduction in stress and burden makes receptionists more satisfied and effective.

Finally, the psychiatric practices benefits from the business benefits of the online scheduler. The technology offers an efficient connection to a large audience. A good online scheduler comes with a moderate up front investment and requires little to no ongoing maintenance. The modest cost and maintenance combined with the enhanced customer service and employee morale create a great value. Plus, the ability to deliver email reminders helps reduce patient no-shows and improves revenue generation. This is more effective than a receptionist half-heartedly or while exhausted, making reminder phone calls.

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.

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.

Cut down on patient appointment no-shows with reminder call technology

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.

Taxi technology

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.

Cost efficient

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.

Respond to the High Turn Over of Health Care Office Staff

November 25th, 2008

Your office hired an excellent medical front desk receptionist not too long ago. She had medical office superpowers that allowed her to answer phones, cater to patients, make reminder calls, deal with insurance paperwork and companies and rescheduled appointments.

Now she is gone.

Once again you are left with the prospect of advertising, rehiring, and training another qualified receptionist who may leave at anytime. Is there a solution to this all too frequent scenario? One alternative is to take your medical reception online.

A good online medical scheduler will streamline all of your essential office operations to allow you smooth transitions between office receptionists or assistants. Imagine being able to have your appointments scheduled, calls answered, and emergencies dealt with 24/7—even during under staffed periods. Well, it’s not a dream. You can get all of this and more with the right online medical appointment scheduling software program.

What can the right online scheduling program do for you? Well to start, you have a remote receptionist service. In or out of office hours, around the clock service is available to answer calls from your patients. Even if you are one of the fortunate ones and are fully staffed, the service can pick up the phone when your receptionist gets overwhelmed or takes her lunch hour.

If you do keep a full staff (you may not need to with the right software), an online medical answering service can free your staff up from the most trivial of office duties. For example, some programs can perform automated appointment reminders. This is something that staff hates to do and often forgets. Automated appointment reminders can cut down on income loss due to missed appointments.

A Virtual Medical Office Receptionist can triage urgent or emergencies by immediately forwarding calls to the appropriate contact number, unlike most human operated answering services. A few programs can actually differentiate a regular call from an urgent one. A feature like this will increase patient safety and will assure a timely response. Speaking of patient safety, make sure the software that you use is HIPAA compliant. Many of them are, but you need to make sure that patient information is secure.

Self-service patient appointment scheduling is available for patients online with online scheduler software. This is not only great for your short staffed moments, but also for the growing number of people who would rather do most things online, including scheduling their medical appointments.

Automated appointment scheduling programs include the ability to track statistics such as cancellations and no-shows. You can then pinpoint problem areas and make corrections. Even the best medical receptionist does not have the time or the skills to do this with the fill-in-the-blank paper schedule that you are probably using.

The best of these web-based doctor appointment scheduling programs are maintenance free and do not require hardware— the software installed in your office and administered remotely. Given the versatility of current medical appointment scheduling software at a fraction of the cost of full-time medical receptionists, it makes sense to automate well in advance of the next resignation notice.

Patient appointment reminder service is a dentist’s best helper

November 25th, 2008

Many dentists are turning to an automated appointment reminder software solution to complete all-important appointment reminder calls to patients. There are a couple main reasons that dental offices deliver appointment reminder calls to patients. The first is simply as a reminder call to ensure a scheduled patient does not forget an appointment or neglect to cancel in advance. This is an important service for the patient who may not keep a good schedule or one that does not offer the courtesy of a phone call in advance. Additionally, a telephone reminder can be used to remind recent patients to schedule follow up visits which are very common with certain types of dental procedures. Some patients will avoid or neglect to schedule a follow up after a procedure. The dentist wants to make sure everything is okay and repeat visits are an important revenue driver for the dental practice.

Surprisingly to some providers, an automated appointment reminder is often more efficient and cost-effective than a live agent telephone reminder, and many patients prefer the automated patient appointment reminder. Receptionists in a dental office can be stressed or overwhelmed with work which prevents them from efficiently completing appointment reminder calls. Sometimes, their irritable tone can even turn off new or existing patients. However, the automated reminder service does not grow tired or weary and it performs the telephone reminder consistently and accurately every time. Though not as strong on personal interaction, the appointment reminder software solution is just what the “dentist” ordered for many patients.

The automated reminder as an appointment reminder courtesy can allow the patient to confirm or cancel their appointment. This way, a cancellation still leaves time for the appointment time to be rescheduled, preventing lost revenue for the practice. Dentists rely on appointments to generate revenue and missed times are a burden. The phone reminder can also include notes directing certain types of patients (new, follow up, certain procedures) on arrival times, what to bring, and the like.

The telephone reminder as a reminder to the patient to schedule a follow up visit helps encourage ongoing relationships with patients and repeat business for the dental practice. Many patients just forget the importance of a follow up visit and get caught up in their day-to-day lives. A simple telephone reminder can be a great prompt to get them to return to the dentist office for follow up care.

The efficiency and accuracy of an automated appointment reminder is a great value for many dentists, especially given the moderate up front cost and little to no ongoing investment. It is not just the performance of the phone reminder program that is important to keep in mind. Employee performance should also greatly improve if they are freed from the burden of processing the reminder call program. Employees can focus on personal attention to callers and patient visitors, while also completing important insurance paperwork and other routine office tasks. Everyone wins when an automated telephone reminder is used in a dental practice.

Appointment reminder software drives optometrist revenue

November 25th, 2008

From a consumer standpoint, an eye doctor appears to be someone there to perform eye vision screenings, give us glasses, and manage our ongoing eye care needs. These are all elements of an effective optometry practice, but optometrists are also business people who must earn revenue and manage costs. One of the biggest drains on eye clinics is missed appointments and lost opportunities for follow up appointments. Though many clinics rely on appointment reminders to handle these challenges, the effectiveness of an appointment reminder is questionable at best given that they are sometimes missed or poorly delivered by stressed and overwhelmed receptionists. This is why many eye doctors are looking to a best in class appointment reminder software solution to perform daily patient appointment reminder calls.

Patient no shows are a burden for any optometry practice. Each scheduled appointment time is important to the clinic as completed appointments are the key driver of revenue for the business. When a scheduled time is missed or empty, the practice does not collect that revenue despite having to pay for the costs to earn it. Employees are still present, utilities and other resource bills are still paid. Thus, avoiding patient no-shows or last minute cancellations is critical. A top automated telephone reminder program is an efficient and accurate way to cut down on missed appointments. The phone reminder is not only an appointment reminder service, it also allows a patient to confirm or cancel an appointment. Earlier detection of a cancellation allows the eye clinic to fill that time with another patient, thus avoiding the lost revenue. The telephone reminder can also be a way to deliver quick notes about the appointment as it pertains to the patient’s situation.

Another important use of an automated telephone reminder in the eye care profession is to encourage patients to schedule follow up visits. When patients have treatments, new prescriptions, or other issues handled in an office visit, the eye doctor generally likes the patient to return for a follow up visit. This is a way for the provider to ensure everything is going well and it is also an important way for the practice to maintain an ongoing relationship with its clients. The phone reminder can be used as a tool to prompt the patient to schedule a follow up visit and it can give them specific reasons to do so.

The efficiency and accuracy of the automated reminder is what separates it from a live agent in delivery effective telephone reminder calls. People struggle with stress and fatigue and must also manage personalized situations with in-clinic visitors and complete tedious paperwork. The appointment reminder software can be programmed to perform reminder calls quickly, accurately, and in a way that works for the provider and patients. Some even come with a multilingual appointment reminder feature that allows the clinic to manage the telephone reminder with a multilingual population. Best of all, the reminder service is a moderate up front investment with little ongoing maintenance.