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Medical Practice 101 - How Online Patient Scheduling And Automated Appointment Reminders Can Help Doctors?

Feb 29, 2008
Technology is a wonderful thing; it can help us to improve efficiency and productivity in nearly every aspect of our daily lives. Not only has technology afforded us as individuals to become more efficient and productive, such as with the invention of the cell phone and answering machines; it has given professionals a way to outsource monotonous and time-consuming tasks so that they can concentrate on things that need their personal and undivided attention.

In the medical field, advancements in technology have given doctors the tools necessary to improve the care that they give to their patients, and even ways to help organize and maintain large databases of patient information and records electronically; meaning that patient scheduling and health histories can be obtained with the click of a button, whereas not too long ago, doctors or their medical receptionists had to sift through thousands of hard-copy paper documents and filing systems to obtain patient information.

A concept that is unfamiliar to many doctors, unfortunately, is certain aspects of technology that can help them to lower their financial overhead as well as increase patient satisfaction by catering to their patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The concept to which we're referring to is online patient scheduling with automated appointment reminders.

Online patient appointment scheduling

Regardless of the skills of a doctors' medical receptionist, he or she is limited to performing one task at a time, no matter how skilled they are at multi-tasking. Moreover, a medical receptionist is only available a certain number of hours throughout the day, meaning that any established patients that attempt to call outside of office hours will not be able to do something as simple as schedule an appointment; a service that can be offered by doctors that utilize the services of an automated appointment scheduler.

An online appointment scheduler affords medical practices the luxury of being available 24/7 for their patients; truly seen as a "self service" solution for patient appointment scheduling, doctors have the ability to cater to their existing patients by offering appointment scheduling even when it's outside of the practices set office hours.

The sad truth is, though, that many doctors are unaware that these types of services exist; services that could help to increase their practices productivity and increase their patients overall satisfaction.

Doctors and patients benefit from automated appointment reminder services

Seen as a major loss financially for most medical practices, no-show appointments can cost a practice a significant amount of money, each and every month. The losses are so real that many medical practices have an entire system designed to counteract the no-show appointment revenue loss, by requiring their front-desk receptionist to call and even mail out letters to remind patients of their appointments.

Something that many doctors are not aware of, however, is that there are automated appointment reminder services on the market; those which not only help the front-desk receptionist to be more productive by relieving him or her of the mundane, yet necessary, tasks of calling patients to remind them of their appointments, but can also help to improve the financial bottom line of the practice by reducing the number of patients that fail to show up for their scheduled appointments.

Increased productivity, decreased revenue loss with online appointment schedulers

While there are many different medical answering services available today, few provide the benefits of using an online system, one that is maintenance free for medical office, automated and runs 24/7 to help improve the efficiency of a medical practice. Not only cost-effective, these online systems outperform their human competitors day in and day out; dollar for dollar, you cannot beat an online scheduler with automated appointment reminders anywhere.

When acquiring the services of a medical answering service, you are not much better off than hiring another in-house employee. There are savings with this solution, but the bottom line is - you are still paying for human effort, not an automated system.

To date, there are not many of these all-encompassing systems that offer an online scheduler with an automated appointment reminder, but there are a few that you can choose from. If you think that your practice would improve by being available 24/7 for your exiting patients and would benefit from cutting your appointment no-show revenue down significantly, you owe it to yourself, and your patients, to find out the options available for your medical practice. Chances are, you will see the benefits right away, and end up with more time, and money, to cater to your patients in the long run.
About the Author
This article is number seven in a series By Andy Press about Medical Receptionist, Answing Service and Online Scheduling. Additional resources and articles written by Andy Press related to Medical Practices Efficiency are accessible on line.
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