An Inphonite White Paper 6601 E Grant Rd, Ste. 201 Tucson, Arizona

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1 An Inphonite White Paper 6601 E Grant Rd, Ste. 201 Tucson, Arizona How an Automated Interactive Voice System Can Benefit Your Medical Practice

2 Contents Introduction 2 Problem Statement 2 Previous Options 2 A Brief Evolution of Messaging Systems 3 Benefit 1 3 Benefit 2 3 Benefit 3 4 Benefit 4 5 Implementation 5 Summary 5 Introduction This white paper will explain the basic details of how an automated interactive voice (IVR) system can benefit a healthcare organization s practice by saving significant time and money, improving office productivity, and increasing patient satisfaction. Problem Statement As a business, it is vitally important that patients remember their appointments. Rarely does a day go by that every scheduled patient actually shows up, arrives on time, arrives at the correct location, carries their correct documents, and is totally prepared for their appointment Previous Options In the past, one of the most common ways to reduce the inefficiency of the ever-occurring no show appointment was to overbook, scheduling several appointments for the same time. However, this practice made for longer wait times and less patient satisfaction. Reminders were another method doctors used to keep the calendar full and keep the day running smoothly. Responsibility for these reminders generally fell to whoever was at the front desk. These overworked employees busily scribbled down the next appointment date and time information on the backs of business cards and then handed them to patients who were leaving. The appointment time and date also had to be entered into an appointment book or in a calendar system on the computer. However, 2

3 this was an ineffective system because the business cards with appointment information were frequently lost by the patients. Additionally, the same employee may be the one calling the patients with their reminders a day or two in advance. In fact, in many cases, even the doctors themselves contact the patients the day or night before an appointment to remind them to come in. This method is very time consuming for office staff and physicians and is difficult to consistently contact patients in a timely manner. calls, s, text messaging, and social networking sites such as Twitter is in. Today s software messaging platforms must be powerful and flexible enough to adapt to each doctor s and patient s specific needs. Patient messaging systems have been around since the early 1990s, and continue to make technology advancements that benefit both the physician s practice and the patients themselves. Listed below is an overview of the types of IVR systems, product features, and benefits they can bring to your practice. A Brief Evolution of Messaging Systems This universal problem for physicians brought about the first technology solutions of automated calling systems which left very basic messages to patients by phone. This was a vast improvement over office staff having to make individual phone calls manually. However, as time passed and society became highly computerized and mobile, the technology had to advance to keep pace with all of the new communication options available via computers and cell phones. Reminder systems needed to be flexible and convenient for increasingly busy patients who began requesting reminders via different means of communication, which in turn made it virtually impossible for office staff to continue this manually. The times demanded a change. Clearly, overbooking and relying only on business card reminders are out. Interactive phone Benefit 1 Save Money Saving Money is the number one benefit of an automated IVR system for any organization. Less time on the phone by office staff means less overhead. More people showing up for appointments means more insurance dollars, more co-pays, and more private pays. With the way insurance companies are constantly lowering the U&C rates for services, doctors need to see more patients just to make ends meet. An effective IVR System is guaranteed to make a significant improvement in this area. Benefit 2 Save Time Saving time means increased productivity, which also saves money. Consider how much additional work and services can be performed when office staff is no longer required to manually make appointment reminder phone calls or send s to 3

4 patients. A Manager of a one-person psychologist s office is quoted as saying, The doctor can t afford to have missed appointments, and she can t afford to keep me around either. She says she s going to make her own reminder calls from now on, but I wonder how that will work. Patients that know she s calling will certainly engage her in chatting. It s a good thing she can set boundaries. Or maybe she ll get her teenage sons to make the calls for her now that I m leaving. It is not easy for doctors to make telephone calls because this task is very time consuming and doctors are easily and frequently pulled into the lives of patients. On average, the Office Manager above made about 10 calls in one hour. In this situation, it was a comfort that the doctor only saw 10 patients a day, as that left seven hours of time for office staff to handle the bookkeeping, filing, transcription, ordering supplies, and every other office task that came along. Even one extra hour a day would have been welcome and valuable, especially when it came to sitting on hold with insurance companies that were constantly saying they weren t going to pay, didn t get the HCFA (Health Care Financing Administration) forms, didn t receive the primary insurance paperwork, or had no record of a secondary insurance, etc. Equally as important, an effective IVR System will save patients time. How many times do patients drive all the way to the office, only to realize their appointment isn t for another hour, or even the next day or week? Patients appreciate reminders, notifications, and updates. With a good IVR and customized calling rules, patients can even be notified if the doctor is running late. One OB patient said, I d love to be notified that my doc is doing a delivery. I don t enjoy being 7-months pregnant and waiting around for three hours while she delivers a baby. I d rather reschedule or come back later. Benefit 3 Technology Must Evolve to Keep up with Patients. Most IVR Systems allows patients to receive their Appointment Reminders and other messages via phone, , text, or even Twitter or leave responses regarding these messages. A variety of pre-planned Voice messages can be recorded by someone in the office and then sent to a patient via the communication means they choose. Or messages can be typed into the system and delivered to patients using the latest text-tospeech technologies or message formatting. Using these techniques, patients will have no excuse to miss an appointment except for an emergency or for unforeseen circumstances. And, since the patient has been reminded so effectively and professionally, the office can even consider charging a reasonable fee for no-shows. Most systems provide a variety of reports detailing the ways patients were contacted, if they responded, hung up, received voic , etc. It is easy to document a repeat offender of no shows, so that the matter can be discussed with them before escalating to charging a fee. 4

5 Benefit 4 Flexible platform. Most companies want flexible solutions that can adapt and be customized to their business and processes, rather than having to purchase new software for every office function. One example is the ability to use an Import Template that allows users to create their own Imports if the office makes a change to its Practice Management or Electronic Medical Records software or the way they send their messages. Another strong benefit: the messages and notifications that can be created and delivered are not limited to appointment reminders. Messages can be created to inform or remind patients that the office has moved, or that ongoing renovation makes it easier to access the office from a different entrance, or even that patients with flu or other symptoms should wear a mask before coming in. Additionally, complete IVR systems will allow things like private mailboxes, touch tone responses or voic , and text back capabilities so medical practices know without a doubt that their patients got the message. The possibilities are endless. Record programs, Contact Managers, and other software. Interactive Voice Response Systems can be implemented as complete in-house hardware/software solutions or as online or hosted subscription services depending on what works best for the customer. Summary The benefits are clear. An effective Interactive Voice Response System will save any healthcare organization money and time and significantly increase patient satisfaction. It will also demonstrate to patients that your organization is tech-savvy and committed to proactively communicating with them to ensure that the physician/patient relationship is a positive one. Implementation Interactive Voice Response Systems can be beneficial to any-sized organization. There are versions available for small one-doctor practices, medium-sized practices, all the way to large hospital-sized enterprise environments. In most cases, the systems can integrate easily with Practice Management Systems, Electronic Medical 5

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