By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Keeping your patients connected and your schedule full automatically.
Using computer and mobile technology to communicate with busy patients, give back time to the busy office staff, keep the appointment calendar filled, and boost productivity is a win-win-win proposition. Here’s a new way to automate a time-intensive task-using a “patient’s choice” that keeps them connected to the practice.
New technology for productivity in healthcare can range from clever to outright amazing.
New tech and applications are powerful tools in healthcare organizations, hospitals and practices of all types. Things like wireless computer tablets provided for patients in reception areas enhance the patient experience and patient education.
And we know office staff members linked by low profile two-way radios (with earplugs, of course), keeping everyone—including the doc—on schedule and wireless wired to the pulse of the day’s activities. It improves productivity, communications and even staff camaraderie.
But what we really-really like is when cutting-edge-stuff converges in an outright win-win-win proposition for providers, staff and managers, AND the patient or client. In this case we’re talking about Internet and mobile technology, so think iPhone, Blackberry, email, text message. The must-have social and business tools we all use these days.
Schedule Saver is an “appointment recovery” system that we like for its versatility. From what we’ve seen, it takes hold of what the patient prefers and does many of the tasks that typically are done by the staff. Here’s what we mean by a three-way win…
Office appointments are created in a calendar format, and this office productivity tool takes advantage of text messaging, automated phone calls, and email for appointment reminders. A big plus is that the system is smart enough to match openings to waiting list preferences.
What patients like: Individuals can elect how they want to be contacted — by phone, email, text. And they can use all three forms of communication to confirm, cancel or change the appointment. Busy-schedule people can elect to get notice of options to fits their schedule.
What the staff likes: The technology is doing most of the heavy lifting for the staff; a tool for them that takes less time than manual phone calls. Outbound reminders and inbound confirmations—according to the preference of the patient—are happening automatically.
What the Office Manager likes: Last minute changes and schedule juggling disrupts a smooth operation. When there’s an unexpected opening on the calendar (for today, next week, whenever), this technology reaches out to anyone who wants an alternative spots on the schedule. (Nobody forgets or runs out of time to make confirmation calls.)
What the doctor likes: Pretty much all of the above. Reminding patients in the format they prefer-and filling open spots-is a real plus. And when calls, text messages, and/or email are automated and give back time to the staff, it’s an extra advantage for the office.
And from a marketing perspective: it’s tough enough to get the phone to ring and to set office appointments. And nobody wants that to erode revenue or routine by a no-shows, cancellations, or unfilled slots. The math is pretty easy—a missed appointment is lost revenue and it adds up quickly.
Although Schedule Saver may not be suitable for everyone—it’s clear that the vast majority of the public is using mobile and email technology and most will have a preference that appeals to them.
We’d like to hear what you think…
Drop us a note or comment below about how you’re using technology for productivity in your practice.