Like many businesses, medical practices throughout the greater Houston area are struggling mightily to attract and retain employees for their front offices. With several more months of labor shortages forecasted by experts, what should you do in the meantime? Is there anything that can be done to alleviate the burden on your current staff while keeping patient satisfaction high?

Actually… YES, you can survive (and maybe even thrive 😊) in this challenging time, and it comes via streamlining and automating some key areas of your current operations.

In a previous post, STAC Bizness Solutions CEO, Shawna Aho wrote about medical practice automation in “Is Your Practice Ready for Automation?”. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to read that post, it may be worth a quick read before continuing on. It’s a great way to help you identify where automation may be needed in your practice.

In this post, we want to offer a great first step toward automation that addresses one of the most common time-wasters for medical practices (it’s a great example of what we call a “practice roadblock” covered in the blog post above):

 

Patient Appointment Reminders

Do you really need an employee spending hours each day calling patients to remind them of their upcoming appointment? There are several software solutions out there that are easy to use and will automate this process with little effort on your end. Just do a simple Google search for a term like “medical appointment reminders” and you’ll see several great HIPAA-compliant options. TIP: As you are looking at potential solutions, just make sure the one you pick integrates with your practice management software.

Expanding on that last point, one of the biggest mistakes in trying to automate procedures is not making sure the apps you select to streamline processes integrate with your current systems. The last thing you want to do is purchase a software that requires additional data entry because it doesn’t automatically sync with your current software.

Maintaining several databases defeats the goal of streamlining processes and saving valuable time. Take the time to make sure the vendor you are considering understands your integration requirements and can show you (in writing!) that they are able to support them. If you research several appointment reminder programs and you find one with all the bells and whistles you love, but it doesn’t integrate with your practice management system, you have three choices: 1) don’t buy it – find another option that does integrate natively, 2) consider using a third-party integrator like www.zapier.com who provides a “handshake” between the two systems, or 3) if you’re not completely happy with your current practice management software, look for other options that you know will integrate with the schedule reminders software you are considering.

We’ve found that automating the appointment reminder process has been a huge win for the medical, dental and vision practices we serve. It has been shown to work as effectively as personal calls and it frees up your staff to focus on higher priority tasks. It’s time to start automating!

Until next time,

Shawna Aho

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