Salt Lake Retina in West Jordan, Utah, was making reminder phone calls the old-fashioned way – one call at a time.
This was a very time-consuming process for a practice that sees more than 120 patients every day. Conducting this outreach would take one full-time staff member most of the day. This was problematic because it would take away one of the practice’s trained full-time retina technicians from caring for patients and was a costly way to do business.
“We also didn’t have a good system in place to come back to the patients who didn’t respond to the first contact,” said Marnie Crawford, clinic administrator at Salt Lake Retina. “And, even leaving a voice message didn’t guarantee the patient would get the message. With technology being how most people communicate these days, we needed a better system.”
After feeling frustrated for quite some time, the practice began looking to technology and wound up finding Solutionreach, a local company to the practice. After a couple of demos along with finding the technology was compatible with the practice management software from Advanced MD, Salt Lake Retina made the jump.
“Since adopting, it has by far been one of the best decisions we have made,” Crawford said. “The technology generates reminder phone calls, text messages and emails to automatically send to patients. With all three of these options set-up, we no longer make those monotonous, time-consuming phone calls. Making our patient outreach autonomous, our no-show rate was reduced by 50 percent.”
“Making our patient outreach autonomous, our no-show rate was reduced by 50 percent.”
Marnie Crawford, Salt Lake Retina
Solutionreach also has some “fun features,” she said, that patients enjoy, such as birthday emails, surveys, reviews and monthly newsletters. There also is a text messaging system that enables staff to communicate back and forth for change of appointments, giving directions (including uploading maps), discussing account balances, and more.
There are many patient relationship management systems on the health IT market. Some of the vendors of these systems include Cerner, Epic, Greenway Health, Lighthouse 360, NetSuite, Salesforce, Weave and Well.
The practice has used the patient relationship management technology to cut their no-show rate in half, eliminate 10 hours of reminder phone calls and increase payment of old accounts by 15 percent.
“The surveys and patient reviews alone have generated more business revenue than the price of the software,” Crawford reported. “We also eliminated the cost of staff making phone calls, and patient surveys have generated more patient business. Our patients love the high-tech options that allow them to stay informed in their health.”
Initially, the phone calls were costing the practice six hours a day of full-time staff time. The cost savings to get that full-time person back to patient-focused care was a huge incentive to adopt the technology, she said.
“We have also been able to make payment arrangements with our patients via text – this was especially helpful because previously we had not been able to get a response for payment,” she said.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS
“Do your research before working with a vendor,” Crawford advised. “There are some amazing software options to assist in patient care and convenience, and it’s important to ensure they are the right fit. Because of our diligence, we were able to partner with the right PRM solution, which has been a huge success for our practice.”