Patient communication is an essential part of every clinical practice. There are plenty of technologies that enable patients and providers to communicate: text, email, patient portal service and phone calls (which remain one of the most-used methods for patients to talk to doctors’ offices). Here are some strategies for making sure you are using all your communication tools effectively.
1: Update Your Phone System
Telephones have come a long way since Alexander Graham Bell made his first phone call in 1876, but many practices are still relying on only the most basic technology for patient calls. There are ways that you can improve efficiency even with telephone calls. One great way is to use software that integrates your phone system with your EHR from Callpop. This allows you to:
- See a smart caller ID popup every time someone calls that includes the patient’s information, appointment history, insurance details, and balance information
- Filter out sales and spam calls automatically
- Send welcome texts, appointment reminders, and billing reminders from your desktop to patients’ SMS-enabled cell phones
- Easily share positive reviews online for reputation management
2: Ask Your Patients Their Preferred Method of Communication
Many practices know there are technologies that communicate with patients but worry their patients won’t want to use them. For example, you may think that because many of your patients are over the age of 65 that they wouldn’t want text messages for appointment reminders or medication refills. You avoid using these effective and efficient tools because of your preconceived notions about your patients’ preferences. One of the best things you can do is to have multiple options available—portals, email, text, phone calls—and ask patients what their preferred communication method is. You may be surprised to learn that even older patients are more tech-savvy than you thought.
3: Create Workflows for All Your Communication Methods
With so many options out there for communication, physicians are justified in worrying that you, your office staff, or your patients could miss an important message. Before you launch any new technology or communication tool, you and your staff must create an effective workflow for capturing the information and addressing the need. Some best practices include:
- Having a point person who is in charge of one specific channel of communication during clinic hours—for example, one staff member who monitors text messages, and another who monitors patient portal messages.
- Assigning a backup person for when the point person is out of the office.
- Having a clear flowchart that shows how the communication will get to the right person who can resolve it; some things may need to be done by a physician, while others could be taken care of by a nurse or MA.
- Using reporting tools and random audits to ensure that everyone is using the tools correctly.
To learn more about technologies that can improve communication within your office and with your patients, talk to use today to see the tools available through AdvancedMD and our partners.
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