If you run a business, few things are as frustrating as missed appointments. They cost you time and money, and a missed appointment without a prior cancellation means that you can’t see other patients during that time frame either. It very much feels like a wasted opportunity all-around.
Some practices have taken to penalizing patients who miss an appointment, by charging them $50, $100, or even more than that, depending on the cost of a typical visit. But there are other options, and they involve technology. In fact, technology is making it easier than ever for businesses to reach their customers. When utilized properly, technology can make life easier for you and the people you serve.
New patients are a great thing. It means your base is growing and you can serve more people. But it almost always comes with reams of paperwork for the patient to fill out. Then you have to take that massive pile of paperwork and file it away in a cabinet somewhere. .
Now, you might not have to. The Internet allows you to send patients and email notifying them that they have paperwork to fill out on their online patient portal. Medical histories, allergies, everything else — it’s all online now. They can fill it out on their laptop from the comfort of home, rather than balancing it on their lap in a crowded waiting room. Best of all, the paperwork is all done long before they arrive at their first appointment.
You get the information you need for their records without having to keep track of so much paperwork. Depending on your practice and the way the information is stored online, a paper backup might not be a bad idea, but it’s no longer your only option.
Remember the days when your hardworking receptionists had to mail out hundreds of postcards each month, all saying something like “This is a reminder that (Patient X) is due for a check-up on (date)?” Well, now you can just send those reminders via an automated text message or email. Even better, once the patient calls and makes an appointment, you don’t have to call and remind them. You can simply remind patients of an upcoming appointment via an automated text message.
Of course, patients still have options. They can sign up for email, text, or phone call reminders, but chances are many of them will prefer the text message option. Let’s use the following example: Diana is an ophthalmologist. She’s put in years of hard work to make sure her eye clinic and surgery center is successful. Regardless of if someone needs their cataracts treated or is looking into LASIK surgery, she and her team eye care professionals are on it.
Enter Carl. Carl has astigmatism that requires him to use special contact lenses. He calls and schedules a normal check-up. But Carl is very forgetful. His wife can’t even count on him to remember their anniversary, and they’ve been together over twenty years. Carl is prone to missing appointments because of this absent-mindedness, but a week before his eye appointment, he gets an automated text reminding him that he’s due to see Diana next Tuesday at 11 a.m. The day before the appointment, he gets another reminder. He has no more excuses, and he makes it to the appointment on time and gets an updated prescription for his contacts.
Technology in the modern era is advancing so quickly that it can sometimes be hard to keep up, but it also offers many advantages over an era where everything had to be recorded with ink, and when reminders had to be mailed out via postcards. Technology can help your business run much more smoothly; it would be a shame not to use it.