Monday, October 31, 2011

Busy Clinics Need To Automate Their Appointment Scheduling by Jim Peterson

Whether your medical practice revolves around only a few hundred patients or thousands of them, you would agree that handling the ever increasing number of patients, as well as the many demands of your job can be a tad too overwhelming.

A typical scene inside a very busy medical clinic will show you a dozen or so patients in the holding area waiting for the front desk receptionist to accommodate them. Then over at the receptionist's area, you would see several patients filling out forms, making inquiries and new patients working on their registration forms. Aside from that, you would hear the telephone ringing non-stop.

Basically the inside of a busy medical clinic can be described as near chaotic. No matter where you are in the world, if you're a very capable medical practitioner then you would surely have lots of patients, therefore, a busier clinic. Most doctors, in order to remedy the situation, have to resort to hiring additional staff. So aside from the front desk receptionist who welcomes the patients, there may be another staff whose main task is to answer telephone inquiries, list phoned in appointments and make schedule cancellations that patients call in.

There's nothing wrong with hiring additional personnel. However, that would mean additional manpower costs on your end. Just imagine that if your practice keeps on growing, then you would need to hire more and more people to work there. Other doctors, in worst cases, temporarily hold off accepting new patients. Can you imagine saying no to someone who badly needs your help?

However, aside from the two options mentioned above, there is a third option which more and more doctors are discovering to be the most advantageous. What is it? It's called a virtual medical receptionist.

The name itself suggests that the system works in the same way as your front desk receptionist. The only difference is that it is web-based. This means everything your front desk receptionist does is done by the virtual medical receptionist in an automated manner. This system is integrated with a self-service appointment scheduling which typically works this way: your patient will access your medical office's website, select the menu for the online appointment scheduler and then type in his desired date and time for his appointment. Or he can just call your clinic and by means of the automated phone scheduler built-in to the system, he can just leave a voice imprint of the schedule he wants.

This last option is the best one because it saves you from resorting to the first two options: hiring more people and temporarily hold off the acceptance of new patients. With the virtual medical receptionist, you wouldn't have to pay for additional staff and you'll gain even more patients especially when people hear that your clinic offers self-service appointment scheduling.