Automation, the Human Touch, and Schedule Optimization

How Vital Interaction helps medical practices achieve schedule optimization

There’s a chance you’re in the healthcare industry because you felt called to it. You want to help make a difference in people’s lives and be a part of delivering exceptional healthcare.

We started our business for the same reasons.

Every product or service our team develops and offers is designed with one goal in mind: streamlining patient communication and scheduling workflows to enable healthcare professionals to focus on their calling: providing high-quality, personalized patient care.

Many of our Automated Patient Intelligence Platform’s features and workflows—including referrals, wait lists, recalls, and no-shows/last-minute cancellations, among others—are created specifically for helping medical personnel easily and effectively optimize appointment schedules. Overall, these features are designed to:

  • help providers see the patients they need to see; and
  • eliminate unnecessary gaps in their appointment schedules.

We are honored to be able to offer these services to medical practices since first opening our doors almost a decade ago—and with our customers’ help, our team has really become an expert at streamlining the patient scheduling process.

However, there’s always room for improvement—and we’re open to ideas!

Before exploring our team’s initiative to help alleviate our customers’ patient scheduling burdens, let’s first take a look at why it’s difficult for many medical practices to optimize their appointment schedules.

Assessing the Challenges to Schedule Optimization

In January, I met with one of our customers and his office management/executive team, as well as several office managers who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of each clinic. The customer explained to me how challenging it was to get front desk staff to efficiently open up schedules by quickly removing canceled or rescheduled appointments and scheduling new ones in those empty slots.

As someone who wants very much to help doctors and staff free more time up to focus on meaningful human interactions with their patients—so they can truly serve, help, and heal them—I left the meeting feeling a bit conflicted.

Is the product we’ve worked so hard to build and perfect addressing all of the complex workflows needed to sufficiently free up staff and providers’ time so they can spend more quality time with patients? Or are we just creating even more things to do?

Considering the role of front office staff in schedule optimization

After spending some time at our customer’s clinic (as well as many others’ over the years), I realized that schedule optimization can be difficult for many practices because of an often-overlooked reason: most clinics’ front office staff are charged with not only scheduling patients, but also completing multiple tasks at one time—putting out fires as they arise; attending to patients checking in and out; and collaborating with providers on patient matters, among other things.

Despite these demands, it’s not uncommon for a practice’s executive or management team to still expect the staff to focus on schedule optimization. Though in some cases this expectation may be reasonable, in many others, it’s fairly unrealistic.

Consider this: If you were an ever-busy receptionist with barely enough time to give due attention to all your tasks, why would you try to get even more patients in? Wouldn’t that just make you busier and more stressed, and create more problems?

Working together to overcome scheduling challenges

Since meeting with this customer about the challenges around schedule optimization, our team has reached out to offer our services in tackling many of the problems that are preventing his clinics from enjoying schedule optimization.

In addition, we’ve also offered to lighten the administrative burden brought on from a combination of people and technology.

But that’s not all!

We’ve also been working diligently to ensure every Vital Interaction workflow truly helps our customers enjoy fuller schedules and better patient interactions.

And a key part of our reassessment has involving closely re-examining the roles and efficacy of both automation and the human touch in not only optimizing appointment schedules but also streamlining other workflows—and, ultimately, enhancing the patient experience.

Refining the Vital Interaction System to Achieve Appointment Schedule Optimization

Following this pivotal customer meeting, our company has also made a steadfast commitment to asking the following questions, among others, as we further develop and build new products and services for Vital Interaction customers:

  • Will either an office provider or staff member have time to complete this workflow? If not, is it something we can automate—or even take on ourselves for our customers?
  • How many customers really need to see more patients each day—and how many simply need us to automate or help with other time-consuming tasks?
  • Is this feature or product truly going to help providers and staff focus on patients?

While we pride ourselves on creating and offering smart, cutting-edge health technology, we believe that computers and automated workflows only go so far in the way of removing workflow barriers, improving practice efficiency, and elevating the patient experience.

That’s why we’re here to not only create and improve upon patient communication and scheduling workflows, but to also lend a helping hand for those things that only a human can do: offer the human touch.

Though I’m not certain whether this customer is going to take us up on the offer, I am confident others will.  

Perhaps your practice needs some extra help? Or maybe you have some original ideas of how we can further improve the Platform to optimize patient schedules or decrease your workload to focus on patients?

If we can serve you in any way to allow you to better focus on patients, please do not hesitate to reach out and let us know. We’re here to help so you can get back to doing what you do best: delivering high-quality patient care.

Could your medical practice use some help improving providers’ schedules? The Vital Interaction team is always just a phone call or email away. To speak with a team member, call (512) 487-7625 or contact us here.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of the Vital Interaction system? To learn more, call (512) 487-7625.

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