Patient Communication: What Will it be Like in the Future?
Our world is constantly changing and evolving to improve the lives of humans. Technology has saved lives by its advances in medicine, it has changed the ways of communication, and it has changed education. We are so busy with work, our families and hobbies that there is just not enough time in the day to do it all. This blog isn’t going to be about flying cars or robot assistants. It’s about using technology for communicating with your patients, with a personal touch.
I have always said that the phone is the most important piece of equipment in your office. It is the first impression of your practice for new patients. Though we love the advances in technology these days, we do not want to hear an automated voice on an answering machine when we call a business that offers a service we want. People want to feel appreciated and welcomed, and they get that feeling by talking to another human that understands their concerns and is willing to help. Having that personal touch assures your callers that you will be there to attend to their needs, no matter what. This will also help limit the no-call, no show issue because that first interaction was so exceptional for the caller.
Sure, you can hire any ole cheap answering service to answer your phones afterhours. A lot of these types of services don’t even take messages, they just tell your callers to call back during business hours. Then there are contact centers like the Concierge Contact Center. Contact centers set themselves apart from answering services because of their capabilities. We already know that live answering is one main capability of a contact center. Say you close unexpectedly one day due to a snow storm. Your schedule is filled with patient appointments. How are you going to contact these patients to get them rescheduled if you can’t even get out of your driveway to make it to the office? Wait! You have a contact center that can do it for you! All you have to do is send your account manager a quick email or make a quick phone call informing them.
A lot of times, dental offices will have something in place within their CRM to send text reminders or confirmations automatically. This is great but that personal touch is not there. If a patient texts back “No” or “C” to cancel, who will follow up to reschedule the appointment? I can see how a call to reschedule that appointment can get missed sometimes. With a personalized, friendly phone call, we can confirm the appointment with your patient or reschedule on the spot. This also greatly improves the chances that a cancellation will be converted to a reschedule.
You probably have a long list of patients that you haven’t seen in quite a while. They may have never scheduled an appointment for their second cleaning of the year or never finished their treatment plan. Your contact center can take care of that for you as well. It is as simple as providing this list of patients to them. Usually, the contact center agent will attempt to reach the patient multiple times until an appointment is scheduled.
There are other great services that are available though contact centers that can help give your patient communication system a personalized touch that makes your patients feel appreciated. Chat services for your website is a new and exciting one. With a 24/7 contact center, these chats will always be answered any time of day or night, just like a call. Whatever you choose, be sure to choose a company that is HIPAA certified and can provide you with a BAA so that you know you and your patients’ information will stay secure and confidential.
Guest Blogger: Shea Davis