College Avenue Vision Clinic provides the Houghton, Michigan community with comprehensive eye and vision wellness services. The team strives to provide every patient with excellent customer service and communication. The practice felt they were spending time on the phone that could be better used engaging patients, so they implemented Solutionreach, a cloud-based patient relationship management software.
Barb Halonen, the office manager at College Avenue Vision Clinic, knew her team was spending too much time on the phone. Between appointment conﬁrmations, letting patients know their contacts or glasses were ready, and reminding them of past-due balances, a staff member was spending half of every day on the phone.
“There was a lot of staff time that was being taken up when it could be used for something else,” says Barb. “Phone calls took up a big chunk of the afternoon. And of course a lot of people don’t answer their phone. We would get an answering machine or no answer, and it would take days of calling them back. It was a waste of staff time.”
Since using Solutionreach to automate those messages, the staff has been able to engage more with patients both in and out of the office.
“Solutionreach not only freed up our staff to do more hands-on with our patients, it helped us reach our patients,” explains Barb. “I didn’t realize the capability we were going to have. But all of the notiﬁcations our patients receive personalize our office, so they feel connected with us.”
One of the features Barb has found most beneﬁcial is the ability to manage patient communication on an individual basis.
“I like that we can customize each patients’ communication settings,” Barb states. “A few patients have let me know they don’t want to receive a newsletter or they don’t want so many reminders. I like that I can make those changes for that patient.”
In addition to reducing time spent on the phone, the practice has also seen the impact Solutionreach has on their bottom line.
“One of the biggest things Solutionreach has helped with is our accounts receivable,” says Barb. “We were wasting time printing bills and using envelopes and stamps. And we weren’t getting any response.”
Now Barb reaches out to patients with balances through a text message once a week and asks them to contact the office.
“It’s been really efficient because I can do a whole page in a matter of 30 minutes,” explains Barb. “I let the front desk know I sent out the texts, and within about ﬁve minutes patients start calling.”
The practice sees about 10 times as many patients respond to the text than they were getting from mailed invoices.
“We’re not making phone calls and we’re not wasting the money sending out bills,” Barb says. “People respond quicker to texts than they do to a phone call. It’s really increased our bottom line.”
Barb has also seen value from sending a post-appointment survey to each patient.
“Overall we’ve received positive feedback,” states Barb. “But every once in a while you get someone who has a complaint. It’s nice to give them an opportunity to give that feedback directly to us instead of complaining to others.”
The team at College Avenue Vision Clinic strive to make each interaction a positive one, so Barb keeps an eye on the surveys and makes an effort to contact patients who respond.
From improving the patient experience to increasing their bottom line, Solutionreach has been beneﬁcial for Barb and her team.
“I’ve seen the value in Solutionreach,” Barb states. “It’s user-friendly and I like that I can look at our numbers and see how it’s affecting our office. I use it every day.”
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