The emergence of electronic appointment reminders via text messaging and the Internet has given doctors a new avenue for accommodating their patients. This kind of service benefits not only the doctor and the doctor’s medical staff, but the patients as well.
Considering all the different features of automated appointment reminder programs and services, the following have been deemed the most important advantages of this technology:
1. Adherence to Appointments
The likelihood that a patient will keep the appointment is higher when he or she receives an alert through SMS, electronic mail, and voice calls. Because they are informed of the date, time and the name of the doctor, there is little chance that they will miss the schedule or be late for it. On their end, doctors can also use appointment reminder software to keep track of their meetings with colleagues or consultation schedules with patients.
2. Reduction in Wait Times
Patients who know what time they should come in for clinical visits do not have to wait in line for their consultation. As a business, clinics can take advantage of this technology as a form of customer service strategy. The more satisfied their patients are, the more likely they will return to seek medical assistance.
3. Potential for Revenue Growth
The numerous benefits that an automated reminder can provide to patients guarantees quality customer service and can translate into higher revenue from repeated consultations and treatments.
4. Multiple Communication Portals
E-mail reminders are ideal for patients who have regular access to the Internet, or those who use their e-mails as part of their work. Voice calls are most beneficial to older people, who spend less time online and know less about mobile phones. SMS text messaging is perhaps the most effective patient appointment reminder, as it sends the message directly to the device of the person involved in the appointment. Doctors and their staff can use any or all of these options to help patients remember their schedule.
5. Compliance with Electronic Records Rules and Trends
In the United States and a growing number of countries around the world, the public and private health sectors are switching to a paperless system of record-keeping. Appointment reminders are often part of web-based offerings that help organize and store patient information. These programs are ideally compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act under U.S. health care law, which means they are considered part of the treatment covered by insurance.
6. Customer Service Features
Many automated reminder services are available in multiple languages to cater to patients of different nationalities. Patients can also respond to the reminder by confirming or canceling the appointment upon receiving the call. In addition, they may have a function that lets the patient opt out of the reminder service.
7. Physician-Friendly Features
Doctors can customize the files according to specialization so that the scheduling and reminding of patients’ appointments are more organized. They can also attach additional notes to the reminder call or message. A lot of programs offer unlimited text message reminders.
Although appointment reminder tools may appear to add costs to a medical establishment, it can actually save clinics money in some ways. Since the calls are automated, physicians do not need to hire additional staff to contact the patients for their upcoming visit. Administrative staff can be assigned to do other tasks instead of organizing patient appointments.
9. Data Security
These programs come with solid security features that ensure confidentiality of patient information. They also have maintenance functions that allow for daily database backups and lower the risk of misuse of data.
10. Accommodation of Multiple Customers
Automated reminder programs can handle simultaneous calls, e-mails and SMS messages to a multiple number of patients. This saves time, money and avoids the inconvenience of making the patient wait.
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