How to Improve Your Appointment Confirmations With a Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant taking care of appointment confirmationsMany medical practices struggle with patients not turning up for their appointments. This can cause much frustration because another patient could have used that time. These no-shows cost time and money. The goal of sending out appointment confirmations is to solve the problem. But it doesn't always work.

You may find that patients do not respond to your appointment confirmations. Someone who works in an office and regularly checks their emails, for example, is more likely to click on the confirm button than someone who only checks their emails once in a while. Similarly, people may forget to check their text messages. Or the message becomes lost in the lengthy list of messages they receive.

The nature of the appointment may also affect appointment confirmations. Someone with a serious issue or who experiences a lot of pain is more likely to confirm an appointment than someone needing a routine checkup.

Hiring a virtual assistant for appointment confirmations may help reduce your number of patient no-shows.

Why Appointment Confirmations Matter

While many patients show up for appointments without appointment confirmations, a large number of people miss their medical appointments because they forget about them. Life can get in the way. And a medical appointment made two weeks, or two months, in advance tends to be relegated to the back of a person’s memory.

In any medical scenario, appointment confirmations, rescheduling, and cancellations can make a difference. They help to fill in all time slots. They also allow you to reduce waiting time for patients on your waiting list. As a result, you can better promote the success of your practice while improving patient care.

Types of Appointment Confirmations

A medical practice typically does appointment confirmations in three ways: text messages, emails, and phone calls. Each has its benefits. Combining the three methods, however, may help you get the best results.

Having someone in your office take care of appointment confirmations takes up a lot of time. They need to send out these reminders, note responses, and call other patients on a waitlist to fill the newly available slots. As a result, they may find themselves juggling this task in between other work responsibilities.

Hiring a virtual assistant dedicated to taking care of appointment confirmations can help improve your patient shows. It can also take the burden off an in-house hire, giving them the time they need to focus on other essential tasks within your practice.

How A Virtual Assistant Can Boost Patient Confirmations

A virtual assistant can help increase patient confirmations in several ways. Not only can they make contact with patients for confirmation purposes, but they can also take the time to reschedule or cancel appointments while slotting in other patients on the waiting list as well.

Updating Patient Contact Information

People regularly change their jobs, get new telephone numbers, and change email addresses. They could even change their last names at times. It is thus important that, when they make an appointment, whoever interacts with them makes sure to update their contact information. This helps ensure the accuracy of patient contacts.

Appointment Records

When most patients still walked into a medical practice to make appointments in person, the person handling these appointments often provided a card with the date of the next appointment. But times have changed. People call or make appointments online. Here, a virtual assistant can make a difference. A virtual assistant can immediately send out a record of the appointment which the patient can add to their phone’s calendar.

Sending an email is also a great way to ensure patients get a record of the appointment. In it, your virtual assistant could add other relevant information as well, such as instructions on what to wear, what to eat or not eat, and care instructions. It could also include any forms or documentation to bring to the appointment. You may also include a detailed map to get to your practice.

Patient Confirmations

A virtual assistant typically does appointment confirmations up to a week before consultations, depending on your type of practice. This gives your patients the opportunity to either confirm or reschedule their appointments. If a patient cannot attend, your virtual assistant can reschedule their appointment for a more convenient day and time and fill the slot with someone from your waiting list.

Although you could make use of a text message or email to do patient confirmations, a phone call tends to get an instant response. Your virtual assistant can talk to your patients, find out their issues, and help them select a better date and time that will suit them if needed. This minimizes the risk of outright cancellations and no-shows.

The Day Before An Appointment

In addition to appointment confirmations, your virtual assistant can send out a patient reminder the day before a scheduled appointment. This may help combat forgetfulness and give patients the sense that you, as the healthcare practitioner, have their best interests at heart.

Motivation

Sometimes you may need to motivate patients to take care of their health and show up for appointments. Your virtual assistant tasked with appointment confirmations can see to this. They can, for example, send patients information about the various health issues related to their health condition. Nothing motivates someone more than receiving information relevant to their particular health issue. Unmotivated patients are more likely to cancel an appointment.

Preventing Cancellations

The person tasked with appointment confirmations needs to know how to talk to people and, instead of canceling an appointment, reschedule one.

People often have valid reasons for not showing up for an appointment. Illness, family or work emergencies, and other unforeseen factors can force someone to cancel at the last minute. But many appointments can be moved in advance.

Another way to help manage cancellations is to have a firm cancellation policy in place. Here, a patient would have to fill in a form when making their appointment with the cancellation policy attached. It could involve paying a certain fee in the event of a last-minute cancellation. Having your virtual assistant contact patients before appointments would not only serve to limit cancellations but promote rescheduling so that patients do not need to pay such fees.

In Closing

Hiring a virtual assistant through Cool Blue VA can help your practice flourish in many ways. This is particularly the case when hiring a virtual assistant for appointment confirmations.

Your virtual assistant can send out text messages, and relevant, useful emails, and add a personal touch by talking to patients on the phone. This helps your patients feel like their health matters to you. When people feel they matter, they gain confidence in you as their healthcare provider.

To find out more about hiring a virtual assistant for appointment confirmations or if you would like to know more about the various virtual assistant services we offer, contact Cool Blue VA at 714-695-8000 today. We will help you find the perfect virtual assistant for your needs.

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