How A Reminder Escalation Process Increases Appointment Attendance

A hand holding a reminder noteA reminder escalation program provides many benefits for any type of healthcare practice. The term means exactly what it says: increasing the number and frequency of reminders sent to patients.

But how does a reminder escalation work and, more importantly, what advantages does it have? Furthermore, why would you source out this type of service?

How A Reminder Escalation Works

Many of your patients have made their appointments well in advance. They may need to do a follow-up or come in for a procedure. The frequency of many appointments largely depends on the type of practice you have. Some patients may need to see you once every few weeks, while others may need to see you once a year. At the same time, you may have certain patients that need to see you in a more timely manner for a health issue that suddenly crops up. It all depends on a patient’s needs and the type of practice you have.

In all of these instances, your appointment reminders would differ. And in some cases, you may need to do a reminder escalation. An example is when a patient does not respond in the affirmative when a patient reminder is sent out.

Typically, and depending on the time frames involved, you may initially send out an appointment reminder two weeks in advance. However, as the appointment time nears, your reminders may go out more frequently.

Your reminder escalation could be done using emails, text messages, or pre-recorded phone calls. If all else fails, an in-person telephone call may do the trick. But this would take place at the last moment, probably a day before the scheduled appointment.

When to Consider A Reminder Escalation

Ideally, your practice should send out an appointment reminder after a patient has confirmed their appointment but shortly before they should come into the practice. They would then, once again, affirm they will attend.

Unfortunately, things do not always go smoothly.

If an appointment confirmation has been sent, but your patient fails to acknowledge it, you may have to send out a reminder. And if they still do not respond, you may need to escalate these reminders until such time as they do.

Having the services of a dedicated person handling patient reminders and who handles your reminder escalation activity will increase your chances of reducing patient no-shows for appointments. Here, a virtual assistant can prove invaluable. They can send multiple reminders with increasing urgency and frequency without disrupting your practice’s daily running. Furthermore, such a scenario leaves your in-house personnel free to pursue other necessary tasks without having to take time out of their day to send and manage these reminders.

The Advantages of Doing A Reminder Escalation

The bottom line of doing a reminder escalation is that it saves your practice time and money.

Firstly, a medical practice is a business like any other. If it does not make money, it has to close its doors. This money comes as a direct result of seeing patients. When a patient does not turn up for an appointment, your practice loses money.

Secondly, you could have seen another patient during the no-show consultation. Your appointment setter could easily have contacted someone else to fill in the open slot. You, as the healthcare provider, could thus have seen to the needs of another patient, probably one scheduled for another day or on the waiting list.

The ability to slot people in on the waiting list would not only shorten the waiting list but encourage patient satisfaction and loyalty: satisfaction that they could see you as their healthcare provider at an earlier date, and loyalty because you booked them at the earliest opportunity to see to their healthcare needs.

At the end of the day, patient satisfaction and loyalty do two things for your practice. It means your patients will return to you for any future medical needs and they will probably encourage others to see you. Ergo, your client base, i.e., patient base, expands. An expanding patient base results in an expanding practice. This proves healthy for the growth of any type of business.

Essentially, having a reminder escalation facility available to your practice means that your number of no-shows will decline. This improves efficiency in the overall running of your practice.

Reminder Escalation Benefits for Patients

People often tend to glance at their messages but not really ‘see’ them. As a result, they may skim over their emails or text messages and not open them. However, when they see they keep getting similar correspondence, they finally take a look. So, sending these escalated reminders means that they may ultimately respond to the messages sent.

If unable to make an appointment, they can then either cancel or ask your practice to reschedule their appointment for a more convenient date or time.

The above situation gives the person making your appointments the opportunity to slot another patient, possibly one with a serious condition, earlier in your appointment schedule or allows someone on your waiting list the opportunity to see you sooner.

Why You Should Let A Medical Virtual Assistant Handle This Service

Using a virtual assistant to handle your reminder escalation service has many benefits.

  • You have one dedicated person handling the task.
  • They can work from anywhere.
  • They do not take up space in your practice.
  • It frees up the time of in-house staff.
  • You do not need to buy any equipment to provide this service to patients.
  • The cost involved is much less than hiring someone who would work in your practice: you pay a specific rate for the job done, there is no need to worry about time off for holidays or illnesses, and you do not have to take bonuses or other benefits into consideration.
  • They work flexible hours.
  • A virtual hire can seamlessly fit into the smooth running of your practice without causing any disturbance.
  • Because multiple people do not have access to your patients’ private information, you have a lower risk of their information being leaked.
  • You have the services of a qualified, dedicated person who can easily take on other responsibilities within your practice as and when needed.

Choose A Medical Virtual Assistant From Cool Blue VA to Handle Your Reminder Escalation Service

When you choose to hire a medical virtual assistant through Cool Blue VA, your practice will notice a huge savings in costs and improved efficiency. Furthermore, you have the peace of mind of knowing that you have the help of an experienced professional who will positively contribute to an improved practice that runs smoothly. Also, your patient comebacks and patient numbers may improve.

Please note that the majority of our virtual assistants have some sort of medical background and are HIPAA trained. Your patients’ private information stays confidential.

Another point to consider is that making use of the services of one of our dedicated virtual assistants will also reduce your practice’s workload. Cool Blue VA bills you only for the hours this person works. You do not have to work out their overtime or do any other paperwork concerning their salary. That is in our hands.

Also, remember that a virtual hire through Cool Blue VA frees up the time of your in-house office staff. This allows them to focus on more complex tasks in your practice. And please note that the extreme flexibility of our services means that a virtual hire can work those hours that your office staff cannot. This means that your patients’ needs are taken care of all day, every day. In other words, they can work on your reminder escalation process outside of office hours if needed.

If you would like to know more about how a professional virtual assistant from Cool Blue VA can help with your practice’s reminder escalation process or about the vast variety of professional services we offer, please contact us today. Our contact number is 714-695-8000. We will gladly answer any questions you may have and help you find the perfect assistant to handle reminder escalations and other practice needs.

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