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!

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