At any practice, the phone is buzzing all day with patients' requests. If a patient calls to check on their prescription, the front desk must give them an individualized, appropriate answer. This interaction simply cannot be avoided or automated. But what about appointment request phone calls...?
These facts will surprise you:
- Nowadays, it takes 8 minutes for a patient to a make a medical appointment via phone call, according to an Accenture study.
- However, only 59% of these phone calls are successful according to the same source.
Here, patients have no other option but to call the practice (during working hours) and sit on hold for minutes. Meanwhile, the front desk is likely struggling to answer all the incoming calls. There must be a way to change this process.
Currently, appointment reminder phone calls are often replaced by automated 1-way text messages; but, these messages don’t guide your patient throughout the scheduling process, nor reduce the workload for the front-desk.
How can new tech turn around this problem that practices and patients face?
Fortunately for both parties, there’s a new solution on the market that seems to be the natural evolution of traditional text reminders. This new option avoids hold times for your patients and unclogs your phone lines from these ever-bombarding requests. How does it work?
By using artificial intelligence, Nimblr.ai created Holly, a virtual assistant that chats with patients via texting in natural language. She's able to set up appointments for patients in the same way a human front-desk scheduler would do it.
The interaction goes like this:
- A patient texts Holly asking for an appointment.
- Holly asks the patient to identify which doctor he/she would like to meet with.
- The patient gets a text back with several date/time options to choose from.
- He/she can reply back with the most convenient option. The virtual assistant will immediately schedule the new appointment right into your EHR calendar.
This interaction can also be executed via Facebook Messenger.
This new technology is available for Nimblr’s customers. Today, the company offers a virtual assistant service that has achieved 79% patient engagement through SMS interactions, handling appointment confirmations, cancellations, recalls and reschedules.
From here on out, patients have the power to create appointments 24/7 without having to call a front desk, changing the game for practice and patient relationships. Similarly, this new tech will be a huge relief for all office staff.
Think your practice could benefit from this new technology? We want to hear your thoughts!