Putting Ease in Visiting the Dr’s Office
I opened my mail today and found a bill for a no-show fee from my dermatologist. Not happy. After multiple tries to cancel, I finally resorted to leaving a voicemail on their machine. So, in my fury, it got me thinking (insert Windows 7 self here) … what if health care providers entered the 21st century?
I know that many physicians are moving online. It makes sense! For me, the second place I look for physician recommendations is online (the first – family/friend recommendations). I ask these questions: are there online reviews of the physician; does the practice’s website look professional; does the physcian take my insurance? So after I get through all these question, I look for the “Contact Us” box, pick up my phone and make the call.
As I dial, I start to wonder, is there another way of doing this? Maybe. Below are a few things healthcare providers can do to increase efficiencies, reduce cost and improve service.
- Online Appointment Scheduling: This allows for patients to make appointments off-hours, based on availability of our physician. Additionally, this allows me to cancel the appointment with ease. It’s like booking a hotel really!
- Text/Email Reminders: After easily making my appointment, I would receive a confirmation email of my appointment! Better yet, it sends me an Outlook calendar with a reminder of paperwork I may need to fill out. Also, a few days before my appointment, I receive a text message reminder rather than having an automated machine leave a voice message on my cell, or having someone call me (see cost-savings and maximizing efficiencies)
- Pre-Visit Paperwork Online: I saw this once and absolutely loved it! After I scheduled my appointment, the receptionist told me to go online and fill out my paperwork to save me the 30 extra minutes I needed to arrive. Instead, I filled out all the forms about my health history online! On the day of my appointment, I was in! No cramped hand from writing in small boxes! Double win.
- Online Bill Pay: This is an easy one and lost of HCPs are already doing this. It makes everyone’s lives easier!
Some of you may be thinking – well these are quite expensive ventures. I disagree. The number of people who are currently working in doctors’ offices can be reduced because work will be transitioned from appointment work and computing data. Also, online scheduling and confirmations means less likelihood of no shows, so more patients in the door. We’ll maximize utilization of staff, increase flow of patients and reduce redundancies. Plus, we won’t have to wait on hold for 15 minutes listening to elevator music.
What do you think? What are things you wish your doctor’s office would move online?