Samuel Kohan, Healthcare Consultant

How Can Medical Practices Keep a Full Schedule, Improve Customer Satisfaction, and Save Money?
By: Samuel Kohan
Nov. 12, 2011 - PRLog -- Samuel Kohan: How Can Medical Practices Keep a Full Schedule, Improve Customer
Medical practices need to maintain good relationships with their patients. And they need to manage their practice as a business. How can a medical practice balance these diverse needs? The best solution would be to automate and simplify some of the business processes that take away time of practice’s staff. These easily implemented strategies will help practices improve customer satisfaction while enhancing their business success—saving time and money.  Here’s how medical practices of all types can simplify their businesses and thrive.

How to Keep Practice’s Appointment Book Full
A medical practice will only become its most profitable when the practice schedule is full. Open slots hurt, but not nearly as much as missed appointments. When a patient doesn’t show up, the practice is left helpless: by the time staff realizes the patient won’t attend, it’s too late to do anything constructive with this slot. What can be done to improve this situation? The simple answer is an automated reminder service. A patient will receive a call a few days before his/her scheduled visit and will be asked to “press 1 to confirm this appointment or press 2 to reschedule.” If the patient asks to reschedule, the call can be automatically transferred to the medical office in order to find a new available time slot. This service can be easily set up and can help in two ways:
• Fewer patients will miss their appointments when they receive a reminder call directly to their phone. An automated reminder call is more effective than a postcard—and cheaper too. Save the time of practice employees and save the money that used to be spent on postage.
• Even when customers must reschedule, practice benefits by knowing this in advance.

This is the perfect opportunity for practices with busy calendars to institute a waiting list: when a patient asks to reschedule, practice now has the ability to send out automated phone calls to patients trying to get an appointment, filling in those gaps in practice schedule.

Improve Customer Satisfaction
What’s most important to patients? When it comes to their health, people are looking for great service. Providing a comforting and professional experience for the patients and they’ll keep coming back. The main portion of this effort obviously takes place in the office, but don’t underestimate the importance of your pre- and post-visit communications.

Think of these conversations as a form of marketing: each customer interaction is another chance to impress the patient with your professionalism and dedication. There are three ways to improve the out-of-office patient experience:

What happens when patients call after hours? An off-hours medical hotline for patients with urgent medical questions will let them know that you support them, even in the middle of the night. You can automate the call distribution process to direct emergency calls to the hospital, urgent calls to the doctor, and general calls to a voice mail for next-day follow-up.
• Do you serve patients in multiple areas? Make it easier for patients to call the right center by providing all patients with one easy-to-remember phone number that geo routes calls from patients to the nearest medical center and provides phone menus to route callers to the right department within that medical center.

Make Better Use of Your Staff
What do all these solutions have in common? They automate the administrative tasks that previously ate up the time of your staff. In short, these strategies will save the valuable time of your doctors, nurses, and administrative staff, allowing them to spend more time directly caring for patients in the office.

Improve Your Marketing
If your practice advertises, it’s imperative that you know how effective these advertisements are. How do you know which ads are leading to new appointments? Here’s a simple strategy: assign a unique phone number to each online and offline advertisement, measure which advertisements actually generate new appointments, and optimize your advertising spend to generate more appointments and reduce advertising costs.

As much as your practice is about providing great care to your patients, it’s also a business. While your main concern will always be these patients, these phone solutions will help you run this business more effectively, improving everything from your appointment calendar to your accounts receivable, and from your customer satisfaction to your marketing. And, most important, these solutions will free up the time of your employees so that they can spend more time caring for your patients in-office. You don’t need to be a technology genius to make this work; our helpful staff will personally guide you through every step of the process.
Give us a call to learn more about these affordable and easily configured business solutions.
Source:Samuel Kohan
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