Thursday, 5 May 2016

Patient and Doctor communication

When you call to make a doctors appointment how do you do it?
For the majority of us it goes something like this,
1. phone the doctor's office
- if no answer leave a message and hope for a call back
- if someone answers usually take the next available appointment
2. We put the appointment in our calendar, for most of us this is now in our phone.
- when the date of the appointment comes we arrive, usually 15-20 min early...and hope
- Hope that the doctor is in, that they aren't running late or that a different doctor is taking the appointments of our regular doc.
3. If you find you can't make the appointment then you repeat the process to reschedule
4. if the doctor can't make it, do you get a call? sometimes, but in most cases you don't and only find-out about any changes the day of your appointment.

Some patient may have different experiences, this is my experience and also that of many patients.

Now consider when I need to schedule an appointment for car service. First I go to the service dealers website and check for open appointments. I pick the one that suits my schedule, of course if its an emergency or urgent I may call but usually it is a self selection appointment online. Then the day before my appointment I get a reminder email or text, and if I find I cant make it I can click a link and change to a more convenient time slot. Think of the cost savings of this for the car dealer; no-one has to be answering phones and scheduling all day; I'd sure someone is still available to take phone calls, but it is likely that they just use the same website to slot the appointment as you would and certainly the time spent on this is far less, meaning a receptionist or other staff could do it.

Also consider the scheduling and opportunity cost for the Doctor's office vs. the Care dealer. Appointments can slotted by the customer/patient and fits their schedule means less "no-shows". Reminders reduce the change of last-minute cancellations.  Rescheduling is quick and easy.

 vDoctor appNow imagine all this in an app, of course! the VDoctor(tm) app gives patients the ability to request and reschdule appointments by directly communication with the doctor's office staff. More important the text messaging can also be used between staff members to coordinate care. Simple and easy.

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