By Cristina Dafonte | Sep. 26, 2016

Share this post:

At first glance, manually calling patients for appointment reminders seems like the most straightforward thing: since you already have office staff, they can easily make the phone calls during any downtime or set aside some time to quickly get through the list of calls to be made. Why spend money on outsourcing to automated reminders?

Actually, there are some other ways that manually calling is costing you more from doing reminder calls in-house. Here are 3 ways that manual reminder calls are costing your practice:

Time

Using staff to make reminder calls drains your most precious resource: time.

When you have staff making reminder calls, this takes time away from more tasks in the office that truly cannot be completed without them. Manually calling creates strain on your office in the event of an absent staff member: reminder calls will either not be made, or have to be pushed back, creating a backlog of calls. When calls are only made in the ever-elusive downtime, there will also inevitably be a backlog as well. If your staff cannot get through calling the entire list of patients during the daytime, they may have to stay overtime in order to complete the calls.

Money

The number one reason why you are still manually calling is likely the cost. Since there aren’t any additional expenditures, it might seem like the most cost-effective option. Let’s use an example to see how much manually calling can actually cost your practice.

If you have a staff member making phone calls for 2 hours a day, 22 days a month, at an hourly wage of $10 an hour, that ends up costing $5,280 a year in productivity. What other duties have fallen to the wayside in an attempt to make the appointment reminder calls?

Additionally, the ineffectiveness of manually calling in comparison to automated reminders means that your no-show rate is most likely higher.  The impact of an increase in your no-show rate is a loss in revenue from all the unused appointment slots, potentially a loss of tens of thousands of dollars a year.  Just because you don’t have an additional expense item doesn’t mean that manual reminders make better financial sense for your practice.

Staff satisfaction

Having happy employees is crucial to providing a good patient experience, and the burden of manual calling has an impact on that.

Because manually calling is usually an add on to your staff’s already busy day, most staff dread the reminders because they are hard to get to and hard to complete. This often results in reminders not getting done, and evenutally a higher no-show rate. Higher no-show rates mean less reliable schedules which often negatively impact physician satisfaction.

While we understand why manual calling may seem like the best option, you’re actually sacrificing time, money, and satisfaction. That’s what Urology San Antonio learned, when they started using PatientPromp. They went from overworked receptionists and uncalled patients to staff who could focus on higher value tasks. Read more about the results they achieved with PatientPrompt here in their case study.

Author: Cristina Dafonte

Cristina is a Marketing Associate at Stericycle Communication Solutions. She currently supports our automated patient communication tool, but has experience with both telephone answering services and online self-scheduling. She graduated from Vanderbilt University and resides in Nashville, TN, but dreams of someday living near the beach.

You can follow Stericycle Communication Solutions at your favorite social media platform.