Why should every medical clinics use telephone reminder?

November 13th, 2008


How many times have patients not shown up for their appointment because they said they forgot all about it? Among reasons they forgot about their appointments, one being that no one reminded them about it.

In a medical practice, especially a large and busy practice, staff does not always has time to sit down and call all the patients for the next day to make sure they remember they have an appointment. Most practices, even small ones, have enough to do with checking patients in and out, scheduling appointments, billing and insurance claims, and filing, that the one thing that doesn’t seem to get done, is confirm appointments for the next day.

When a patient does not show up for an appointment, the income loss is immediate for the physician and the practice in general. Had the receptionist known that a patient was going to miss an appointment or need to reschedule, she could have re-booked the appointment for someone else. Maybe even someone that really needed the appointment.

Sometimes a doctor’s appointments are booked far out; anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. In these cases, patients often do forget about their appointments without a reminder call being made to them. Because, let’s face it, everyone does not go home and writes their follow-up appointment on the calendar. Many people, in particular the elderly, rely on the doctors’ offices to call and remind them about their appointment, and if someone had, they would have surely gone.

Medical receptionist often times will print up lists of the next day’s appointments, and throughout the day they will try to call each one to confirm. But often times, the office gets busy with phones ringing, patients needing to be checked in or out, and the doctor needing the receptionist to do a hundred other different tasks. More times than not, the appointment confirmation list is the one thing that will get put on the backburner, forgotten, or ignored. To a receptionist, the appointment confirmation task can seem like the least important of all tasks she has in front of her. But whether patients show up or not, can really cut into a physician’s bottom line. If several patients do not show up for their appointments in one day; that is several slots that the doctor has free of seeing someone and several slots of missed pay.

With telephone reminder, appointments are not forgotten, because every patient gets a reminder call. An automated telephone reminder takes the tedious task away from the receptionist of having to call each patient and confirm their appointment; it gives her the freedom to get other jobs done. The automated telephone reminder even speaks to the patients in their language of choice so that everyone understands.

Physicians get very frustrated when a patient does not show up for their appointment. No-shows are one of the biggest frustrations for any doctor, medical facility, or practice. The doctor wants everyone to make it to their appointment, and when the doctor hears that a patient did not show up because he or she was not reminded of the appointment, then the doctor knows that the receptionist did not fulfill her duties. If only the office had an automated telephone reminder, the days of patients forgetting about their appointments would be a thing of the past.

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