In today's world of high tech gadgets, phone applications, electronic health records, and all sorts of data gathering-crunching-analyzing doohickeys, it's easy to forget that sometimes the basic tasks are most effectively completed with basic solutions. One can get caught up in whirlwind dazzle technology that makes it seem you are more efficient, when really you are being slowed down or not effective in your efforts. I think this applies to several optometry office functions.
Call that Patient!
When my practice first started, it was easy to pre-appoint patients, but the real work began when I started year two. Now, it was time to enforce our system and reap the benefits. Since I had an electronic medical records (EMR) and practice management system, this was going to be simple, right?
What I, and my staff, found out was that electronic systems do make some aspects of appointment-making much easier. Set up next year's appointment (click), call and confirm and note that confirmation (click), ensure insurance information is verified (click)…..you get the idea. It was also great to pull up patients who had cancelled or (gasp!) no-showed to their pre-appointed time slot.
What we did realize, though, was that the simple phone call to confirm that appointment was instrumental in reducing no-shows. I have one staffer whose primary job is creating appointments, confirming appointments, and maintaining our "call list." This list is those patients who have fallen through the cracks and missed their annual appointment. Instead of mailing out postcard after postcard saying "We've missed you!" or "It's Time for Your Exam!" I have this staffer call these patients personally to reach out to them. She also tracks these phone calls in a spreadsheet so we are not bothering these patients every month, especially noting things like "Lost job,