Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Confirming appointments III

I am having a hard time getting into Track and Field.
One of the problems is is I can't tell if they are all hoodlums or not.

I know they are all college graduates, I know they all have determination and drive like no other. I know they have discipline and they are fine tuned athletes.
But when the NBC guy interviews them they sound like bunch of street punks.
Is it me?

Now when the woman fell last night in the hurdles, that broke my heart. She came to be interviewed and was very gracious and then they showed her in the tunnel just breaking down.
I hate that for her.
And if she doesn't fall, we get Gold and Silver. That sucked.
Now what I am following more than anything is the medal count. If the communist China beats us in the medal count I am going to boycott the next Olympics.

I finished my book Two Wars. It was okay.
I watched the movie In Bruges. This is a movie with Colin Farrell in it. I am not a fan of his but I really liked this movie. If you can stand the F-word about a million times, I would recommend this movie.
It is in Irish English so I had to watch the movie with English subtitles. They speak with such heavy accents and they use words we don't (like arse). It is really hard for me to follow with out the subtitles. Man, am I getting old.

Okay about our topic for the day.
I have told you we, as a service to our patients, we confirm about 50-70 patients a day.
So instead of having one staff member confirm all day we now work with a company called Televox.
This is an automated confirmation system. We like it a lot.
But today I wanted to tell you about the issues we have had with it.
It is not the system itself that we have problems with, it is usually some human error working with a computer.
The confirming with the automated system is pretty easy. If people are home and they get the message and "Press 1" to confirm. We are golden.
If they are not home the system will leave a message.
Then as you know they have the option of leaving a message or not being being called by Televox ever again.
So the system is set up to call people at 7pm.
In the morning, usually two days before the day, the staff gets an email of all the things that went on the night before. 24 people confirmed (and it lists the names), 11 people got the message but didn't press any button, 12 left messages, and 14 people we were not able to get a hold of. So the staff usually only has to call 14 people.
Not bad. And I think this number is going down. Another cool thing is on our EagleSoft system you see a "C" on the patient for confirmed (the system does this). Or an "L" for left message or "U" for unconfirmed. If the patient is set up to get an email it will send an email and put a "E" on the patient.

Okay, here is the deal.
The system leaves a message. It is a computer. It doesn't know if it is calling the right house. If you have the wrong number for Anne Smith and she has an appointment on Friday. She gets a call tonight. But you could be leaving a message for Bill Adams (who is not a patient).
But next to Anne Smith's name on the schedule says, "L".
A false sense of security.
So leaving a message is like a virtual message. You don't know if they actually got it.
Or the system may have left a message for the correct person but they didn't get there messages. Not our fault or the systems fault but guess who is sitting on there butt NOT working on a patient.
So I told my staff that I had my reservations about the leaving message stuff. But the record shows that we are about 95%. But it is the 5% that kills me. I come up to the front and ask if my patient is here.
They say, "No, but the patient was confirmed."
"What kind of confirmed?"
"It says, Left Message". So I get turned off by the Left Message.
I asked couldn't we just keep calling until it talks to a real person. Tell it not to leave a message.
But then again this is changing something that works 95% of the time.
It can do this but it costs you everytime the system calls. Its minimal but....

I guess we are having about the same results with Televox as we have with a real person calling.
It is the same stuff. We don't have the right numbers for people.
We left a message and they don't get it.
No one was home and we don't have another number for them.
Same stuff.

One thing we are doing as a practice is collecting emails.
Most people now a days like and use email.
This is going to revolutionize the way we confirm. It is going to be great. Also we are going to start doing some sort of e newsletter. I know, I know this is old news for some of you but...
Like "Introducing our Associate" or something like that. It is in the works right now and is real close to happening.

So that is it for confirming.
There is a lot that goes into just getting butts in the chair.

I hope you liked it and I hope it was informative to the way we do things.
Write me if you have any questions
Have a great Wednesday,

PS I almost forget...I am going on a missions trip next Wednesday. It was kind of last minute.
By the way, what is up with me having to pay $1200 to go and serve people.
I am going to remote parts of Mexico City and doing dentistry for 4 days.
It is kind of a medical trip. A pediatrician goes. A dentist goes. A internal medicine guy goes. A pharmacist goes and an optometrist.
One big happy family.


Buckeyedental said...

Dear John

At my office we also have been struggling with confermining patients. I agree getting and maintaining the correct number or numbers for patients are difficult. We try to conferm 48 hours ahead because if you get a cancelation at 24 hours it may be hard to fill. Specially if it is a 2 hour C+B appontment.

When I was at the Florida Meeting in June listened to Dr. Blatchford he talked a little about this he cautioned that we should not spend to much time and money confirming or reactivating are worse patients.

Will your system alow you to leave a text message. Will it notify you when a left message or text message has been read. What I teel my staff is unless you talk to a person the appointment has not been confirmed.

Do you have any updates on your web site?

Keep pressing on have a great day.

Kim Shaw

gatordmd said...

Yes, you can text message. It will not however tell you if they have read it.
One of the problems is that it will only call the HOME number. So if someone doesn't have a home number you have to put their cell number in the HOME number spot (so that is a problem).
I think now a days talking to everyone is not possible. So you just have to do the best you can.

About the website... my staff member that is in charge of this was on vacation. One of her tasks is to get this done.
But it is under a pretty big stack.
I will keep you posted.


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