Every medical practice needs a designated individual responsible for gathering crucial medical information when scheduling a patient's appointment with a healthcare provider. This helps ensure that all pertinent details are accurate and up to date. Having one person responsible for handling this task is the best way to make sure your patients' appointment information is correctly maintained.
A professional medical virtual assistant from Cool Blue VA can easily fulfill this role within your medical practice.
A healthcare provider needs certain information from a patient when scheduling an appointment to ensure the smooth running of their practice. This includes the most basic information data such as:
To ensure that the appropriate amount of time is allotted for an appointment, patients should mention the reason for their visit. For example, a brief follow-up appointment may require less time than a new patient with an unknown ailment.
Of course, when scheduling an appointment, you also need to determine a date and time for the appointment that suits both the patient and the relevant healthcare provider. This is also a good time to ask the patient whether they have any concerns they would like to raise during the appointment.
In addition, this could be a good time to remind patients what they will need to do for their appointment. If a patient was sent for certain procedures like X-rays, for example, remind them to bring any relevant documentation to the appointment.
You may also wish to ask about referrals to your healthcare practice and the name of the referring doctor.
Making sure you get the relevant information is one thing. How you go about doing so is another thing entirely.
Hiring a professional medical virtual assistant helps ensure all patients are dealt with in a professional, caring manner.
When a patient calls, asking them why they wish to see a doctor shows you care about their health. Listening to their ailments allows your virtual assistant to take down any relevant information. They can also gently lead patients to provide more information about their situation by asking certain questions. Having a conversation at this stage helps build a connection and rapport with patients.
Having a health issue can scare people. This is especially true when patients do not know what is wrong with them. The person handling appointments and taking down the relevant information can use this opportunity to allay their fears. They should let patients know you, as the healthcare provider, have their best interests at heart.
Do be sure, however, that this person has the necessary data to back up any claims they may make. If, for example, a patient has knee issues, they can assure them that your practice has a lot of experience in this type of issue and that it has a great track record in this regard. This example could be applied to any type of healthcare practice.
Also, they can be assured that your practice will refer them to an excellent healthcare provider once you have identified the source of their issue and if they need more specialized care.
Flexibility about dates and times shows patients you care. Your practice should thus give your patients a number of dates and times to choose from. This allows them to choose a date and time most convenient for them. This may help reduce the number of no-shows at your practice.
You could also introduce your patients to the concept of automatic appointment reminders during this time and ask them which type of reminder they prefer. They can choose email, text, or telephonic reminders. The person taking down appointment information can also use this time to inform patients about your cancellation policy.
It is important to copy down a patient’s insurance and other relevant information, e.g., full name, telephone number, and home address the first time you interact with them. You can ask them if anything has changed and take down those details. Doing so streamlines the process and allows you to get prior authorization where and when necessary. Examples of questions around this issue include:
If a patient needs to take care of filling out any documents, this is the time you can make them aware of it.
You may think that your patient information process covers all bases, but people sometimes do not understand something, or they forget things while in conversation. Asking them whether they have any questions allows them to formulate questions so that the answers will make more sense to them.
You could also direct them to your frequently asked questions page on your practice’s website.
Before ending a call with a new patient, the person taking down the relevant patient information could be tasked with asking patients where they heard about your practice. It could be through a friend or family, the internet, or a referral from another healthcare practitioner. Knowing where people hear about you can provide you with valuable information about your practice.
Curating data is a long, time-consuming process. Having an in-house staff member take on this task takes them away from other essential tasks they could do in your practice.
Hiring a medical virtual assistant to do this job for you ensures a higher accuracy rate. They do not have to focus on a variety of different tasks. Also, when hiring a virtual assistant, you pay only for the hours worked. You do not need to take the benefits you would normally have to offer in-house staff members into consideration. You will also free up your telephone line for other important calls. Taking down patient information takes time!
At Cool Blue VA we understand the need for accuracy, professionalism, and above all, patient confidentiality. As a result, most of our virtual assistants have some form of medical background and are HIPAA trained. These professionals also all have excellent training in making use of the latest data input technologies. By making use of eClinicalWorks, they can take care of all the information needed when scheduling appointments, including the date, time, location, and purpose of the appointment.
If you would like to know more about how we can help you get accurate patient information during appointment scheduling as well as the many other services we offer, please call us today! You can contact us at 714-695-8000. We will gladly answer any questions you may have.
We look forward to pairing you with the perfect medical virtual assistant who will seamlessly slot into your practice’s workday and processes.