Monday, August 18, 2008

Confirming patients II

Okay now that Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all times, I might be able to get some sleep. That 100 butterfly was enough to stop your heart.
But now what, track and field. The problem with the track and field coverage is it is not LIVE.
Meaning I am watching it on TV and want to know something about an athlete, I come to my computer and look something up. And out of the corner of the welcome page is the results of the event I am looking forward to watching that night. It is not the same.

I have good news, I was down to 192 pounds today. This is 8 pounds. I am two pounds from winning the bet. I have been playing it cool and not leading on that I have been losing weight. He has no idea I am close. I also think the MandM's worked.
On my marathon training. We are going strong. Last week, I ran 10 on Saturday and 7 (hill work) on Sunday.
I did 12 on Saturday and we are doing 20 this Saturday. Starting at 4am. That means getting up at 3:20am to get there on time. That is the worst part, sleep deprivation. So not only do your legs hurt but you are totally worthless the rest of the day.

No movies this weekend.
Almost done with my book Two Wars.

Well lets get right to our topic of the day.
I am talking about confirming our appointments. (if you missed Friday's blog you should take a gander at it).
I did want to mention that this is vital to the success of our office. It is good for us and it is good for the patients. My father when he started about a million years ago did it and we still do it today.
We have always loved doing this because it is a service that patients appreciate. But it also gives us an opportunity to call patients, say hi. We get to tell them we are looking forward to seeing them...building relationships. And, last but not least, it is to make sure their butts are in the chair.
But.....this was getting too much. As I eluded to on Friday was we have an average of 50-65 patients a day in our Apopka dentist office. This was involving ONE full time staff member to confirm patients.
So we had a company called Televox give us their shpeel at our office. What Televox is is the automated confirmation service. You know the "Stacy has an appointment at our office at 2:30 on Monday...Press 1 to confirm, Press 2 to cancel this appointment and Press 3 to have someone from the office call you."
This system will call, it will email, it will text message, it will leave messages on answering machines, it will leave voicemails.
It will send birthday and anniversary messages, it is limitless.
My front desk people called some references and they were excited about it.
It was $699 to set up and about $300 a month.
This is a bargain, if it works. Also it is going to free up one whole staff member to do something else.
We decided to pull the trigger on this one.

One problem...I had my own ideas of how we would use it.
Don't forget our office is all about personal relationships and needless to say speaking to Max Headrum on the phone is not very personal.
How can we use this technology and not lose what our office is all about?
Usually there is almost no set up for this system. You link Televox with your EagleSoft or you Dentrix and it almost takes it from there.
One option that Televox offers you can put your own voice to the message.
So what we did is I had my front desk person work with Televox and create our own message.
For the first 6 months (I thought if everyone is on a 6 month recare they will hear it only once) our message is going to be something like this...
"Hey, this is Samantha from Dr. Gammichia's office (in our very own Samatha's voice). We are so excited about the opportunity to use Televox, the newest technology in confirming your appointment."
Now can you imagine what a pain the badonkadonk it was to program in all the names in Samantha's voice. She didn't have to prerecord every name but what she had to do was prerecord every sound. So the system then puts all the sounds together and creates the name.
So our message is prerecorded and it is someone from our staffs voice.
A couple of things I did with the message. On our message they were not able to cancel an appointment, that was not an option. So it was "Press 1 to confirm, press 2 to have someone from our office call you, and press 3 to leave a message for one of Dr. Gammichia's staff."
One other thing I wanted to do is give our patients an out. I added another thing to the message. I had them add "Press 4 if you would prefer speak to a real person instead of Televox in the future."
This is giving people an out. They hate the impersonal touch of technology and I can understand this.
So with this system there is something you can put in someones virtual chart that will not allow Televox to contact them.
So we did it. That was about 7 months ago.
I would say all in all it was a success. It turns out that this day and age it is all about speed. If they can get reminded about an appointment and it only take 2 seconds, they dig this.
If they don't have to talk to someone. As much as people like relationships, they like convenience better.
That is going to be it for today.

But this is not over...there are some glitches. I will tell you about them on Wednesday and finish this topic.

Have a great day,

Ps I know you must be very concerned about me living in Florida and having a hurricane coming right at us. But have no fear it is only a category 1 hurricane. Pa-lease. I am yawning as I am writing this.
It will be okay, you see central Florida doesn't have any trees to get knocked over...they all came down 4 years ago.

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