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Appointment Reminders: How to Choose the Right Vendor

These days, many practices are automating the way they remind patients about appointments and procedures. With small margins and too many patients to see, time is a precious commodity for medical practices. It’s more important than ever for each and every patient to show up for his/her appointment.

Because of the tremendous financial pressure to see more patients and contain overhead expenses, many medical practices are using new technology solutions to speed-up and improve the appointment reminder process.  I’ve helped several medical practices select the right vendor system to replace this tedious process. Why spend your staff’s precious time on a task that could be automated with the right technology?

And even more to the point, why not find a software solution that raises patient engagement while automating your daily tasks?

Today’s tech systems have many features and benefits. The standard now is for patient engagement solutions to communicate with the patient via text, email and/or voice messages. Usually, the patient can choose how they want to receive notifications.

It’s incredibly important to find the right system for your practice – that’s why I’ve developed a quick list of factors to consider when you are comparing the patient engagement systems vendors on the market today.

 10 Decision Factors to Consider when Selecting a Patient Engagement Vendor

  1.  Communication methods: email, text and/or voicethis is a must for any system I would select today.
  1.  Direct integration vs. data upload from PMSsome systems today still require the office staff to upload their data instead of the vendor seamlessly pulling the data out of the practice’s EMR or PMS.
  1. Flexibility of system to customize settingsdepending on how complex the patient types are within your practice and the complexity of the instructions you want to provide to that patient within the reminder, some systems will serve you better than others.
  1. Real time vs. delayed interaction and reportingthe better systems will generate real time notices of patient cancellations while the older systems only send a summary report, which is too late to attempt to fill the open timeslot.
  1. Comprehensive vs. simple reportsconsider how much data you need to complete your job and how much data physician leadership want to know about “No Shows.”
  1. One way vs. bi-directional messagesthe better systems allow for messages to go back-and-forth, to-and-from the patient via email and text, which is a great feature.
  1. Return On Investment vs. practice expenseis this system costing me money or is the function ensuring I’m seeing more of my scheduled patients? Some of the better systems will even generate a list of patients based on the patients CPT or ICD numbers to identify them for new procedures that come to the market.
  1. Flat fee vs. pay per successful attemptsit always comes down to money – what is the best way to pay for this service? I believe that a flat fee is better because you can have more interaction with the patient pre and post appointment for a flat fee.
  1. Long term vs. short term commitment requiredwhat type of contract is going to be required? Some vendors offer month-to-month agreements from the beginning to show their faith in their ability to serve you, while others require one year contracts
  1. Support, how will the vendor take care of you on an ongoing basis?what does their support function look like? Where is the support located? Local or overseas?

Use these factors as a guide to evaluating your options for a patient engagement system that will streamline appointment reminders. Many of these points can also be used to evaluate vendors or your other practice management systems.

Start quizzing your selected vendors today, and get on the road to better patient engagement and an optimized appointment schedule.

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