SMS (Short Message Service) technology is just the start of what these practice management systems provide to stay in touch with your patients and build your practice.
In today’s era of mobile devices, using instant messaging or texting—or “pinging” as it’s known because of the alert that sounds on a smartphone—has become a highly effective medium for communication. TextRequest.com estimates that texts typically have a 99% open rate and a 90-second response time. So what better way to reach your patients than via SMS (short message service)? SMS and other tech-driven services are the focus for these specialty companies: Solutionreach, Demandforce, 4PatientCare and WebSystem3.
These services will integrate with most practice management software platforms to remind patients of upcoming appointments and promotions through text, email or phone calls. Adding this mode of communication alone can pay dividends above the monthly service fee. Another focus of these technologies is to capture and control reviews for your online reputation, which is an important element of how your business is perceived in cyberspace.
Specializing in the eyecare field, 4PatientCare has been in the patient communication business for more than 18 years. The company offers bidirectional integration with office practice management software. It offers real-time scheduling within the actual office scheduling software for major practice management system providers. The system is set up to follow all of the complex scheduling rules and any ongoing updates to available appointments with unbeatable frequency and efficiency.
Offering a great deal of flexibility, 4PatientCare allows organizations to design services to reflect unique preferences for scheduling, reminders, recalls, pick up and no-show communications. It also allows freedom to create custom communications, including postal, unique messaging, drag and drop newsletters, and meticulously executed marketing and communication initiatives, all designed to reflect the look and feel of each individual company.
Care Coordination (CareCo) is the latest addition to the 4PatientCare suite, solving the inefficiencies and frustration of the referral process with one unifying platform. CareCo automatically connects multiple entities on disparate systems to present a unified view of the patient journey throughout the referral process.
Prime Nexus is a new cloud-based patient relationship management system by EyeCare Prime, a subsidiary of CooperVision. Developed specifically for optometry, the Prime Nexus platform offers email, phone and text-based communication features that enable practices to maximize appointment booking, improve patient retention and streamline office efficiencies to propel practice success. Prime Nexus is compatible with major practice management systems so that online appointment confirmations are automatically updated in the practice’s calendar.
Practices also have the capability to send automatic post-appointment survey requests to patients via text message and email, and completed reviews can be automatically published to a dedicated practice review web page to save staff time. Prime Nexus also includes customizable email campaigns, with a full library of pre-written emails dedicated to eyecare. Created by an eye doctor, WebSystems3 caters specifically to ECPs.
While Solutionreach isn’t exclusively focused on the eyecare industry, it offers patient communications tools via text, email and phone for reminders and reviews, and there is value in knowing the program has been widely tested across many practice circumstances. Texts will utilize the actual office phone number, and the office will receive responses through an Instant Message interface on an office computer. The system has the ability to send one text listing all family members’ appointments; some platforms are unable to distinguish this and cause multiple texts to be sent to one person. Solutionreach also offers the ability to keep a digital waiting list. Users are then able to send a blast message out to the patients on the waiting list when an opening arises. Finally, Solutionreach allows each customer to be communicated with in their individual language preference.
Demandforce is another platform forged in the fire of multiple practice disciplines. The platform strives to be very HIPAA compliant through regular auditing. While each of these systems has a compact type of dashboard to track no-show rates and practice metrics, Demandforce had one noticeable difference. Each day, staff members are prompted to review the demographics of patients who were unable to be contacted through one modality or another. This helps secure future marketing avenues with each patient.
Another key feature of Demandforce is the ability to target internal marketing by purchase history or even diagnosis codes. The appointment scheduling system is not a live scheduler but sends requests only. Some offices wanting to have strict scheduling control may actually find this feature preferable. Demandforce also limits its robocalling to regular business hours and offers a prompt to immediately speak to a staff member. This helps the office handle any issues that may arise with a patient. Demandforce has a digital waiting list called the “Hot List” that can be used to fill unexpected openings in the day.
Whether you are looking to decrease your daily no show rate or to simply stay abreast of the latest automation technology, you will find an online demonstration to be highly informative. While it may be some time before the lean management techniques of automation are ready to be launched in the other facets of the eyecare practice, these companies have proven that the patient communication side is both available and intuitive.
Mark Clark, ABOC, is founder of iProfit Group, a healthcare investment consulting firm
WHERE TO FIND IT: 4PatientCare 877.777.9078 • 4PatientCare.com // WebSystem3 866.575.3937 • WebSystem3.com // Solutionreach 800.995.8444 • Solutionreach.com // Demandforce 800.220.1136 • Optometry.Demandforce.com