Are you still picking up the telephone to communicate? Does a simple request turn into a long, time-stealing conversation? Put an end to such time drains while also improving efficiency and reducing costs; there are better ways to get your message delivered:
- Imagine managers and doctors across the continuum-of-care communicating the same message to all relevant personnel. Enter instant messaging -- an incredible tool for intra-office communication. It keeps people at their workstations rather than scurrying around the office to deliver a verbal or written message. You can set up group distribution lists within your cell phone, and use them to deliver a message en masse.
- Whether it’s a referring physician, the hospital’s surgery scheduler, or getting those diagnostic reports on your patients, e-mail is a handy device. It takes only minutes to create, read, and respond to an e-mail message. Time savings notwithstanding, e-mail also provides a permanent record of the message should you need to retrieve it later. There’s this benefit as well: information sharing. I occasionally come across articles online that I know will be useful to someone else, so I forward it to his or her e-mail in a few short minutes. What a time savings compared to printing the article, mailing it, and wondering if it even landed on the intended recipient’s desk.
So what does technology-assisted communication mean to the typical medical practice?
- Higher patient compliance -- Most patients have become very comfortable with high-tech communication. Start collecting e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers from your patients and ask their preferences for receiving messages -- by e-mail, text message, or cell phone. Using technology to confirm patient appointments, schedule follow-up visits or additional tests, and delivering test results is good customer service that increases patient compliance.
- Better patient care -- There are other opportunities to connect electronically, depending on your community and the people that serve you. Such services may include, receiving electronic copies of diagnostic reports, obtaining referrals and checking eligibility online.
- More efficient staff -- One of the best returns on investment a practice can make is to provide a computer terminal and internet access to every staff member, and train each person to maximize both intra- and extra-office communication.
Yep, it’s time to get off the phone and get online!
Judy Capko is a healthcare consultant, speaker, and author of “Secrets of the Best Run Practice, 2006” and “Take Back Time: Bringing time management to medicine, 2008.” She is a popular speaker at national and regional conferences. Judy is the owner of Capko & Company, www.capko.com, based in Thousand Oaks, Ca. and can be reached at (805) 499 9203 or email@example.com.