Healthcare facilities have many tasks that are necessary to keep their business running, such as answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, sending appointment reminders, processing payments, and other office duties. But while those tasks are vital, they can also take up a lot of time. According to a 2016 survey, 59 percent of healthcare providers believe that the most important tool in engaging patients is to spend more time with them while they are in the office. Completing these crucial duties in the most efficient way possible makes the practice’s staff more available to interact with the patients in their office. One way to garner more time to devote to face-to-face patients is to automate more of the practice’s daily communication.
Appointment reminders are one of the most important tasks in a healthcare practice. These messages have been shown to greatly reduce missed appointments. At an average of $150 of lost revenue for every no-show appointment, sending appointment reminders is not something that should be overlooked. However, that doesn’t mean that it cannot be done more efficiently. Automating appointment reminders is an efficient method to ensuring every patient is reminded about every appointment. Eliminating the phone calls or emails the practice staff has to manually complete to remind patients of upcoming appointments can give the staff more time to interact with the patients in the office.
Scheduling patients for follow-up appointments is another vital task the practice does to ensure patients continue to return to the practice. However, monitoring patients’ preventative and follow-up appointment needs can be time-consuming and difficult for practice staff. Automating recall messages can be a great way to ensure each patient is contacted according to their specific needs. Software can be customized to send recare messages only when patients are due for another appointment. This function can be done all automatically, reducing the amount of time spent each week on this task and freeing the practice staff to be more engaged with the patients in the office.
Collecting the revenue from each appointment is a time-consuming responsibility in healthcare practices. According to MGMA, healthcare facilities generally collect about 60% of their billed revenue. Automating the payment reminders a practice sends to its patients can reduce the amount of time spent on the task. A software program can be customized so the practice can set up individualized parameters around minimum balances and the frequency of reminders to ensure each patient is receiving the payment reminders they need. Automating this process allows the practice to efficiently notify each patient, giving the practice staff more time to connect with patients.
Consistent patient communication is key to the success of a healthcare practice, but that doesn’t mean every interaction has to be completed manually. By automating some of the routine messages such as appointment, recall, or payment reminders practices can still convey the needed information, but also have more time for face-to-face communication with the patients in their office.
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