In an effort to decrease our No Show rate, we have enlisted the assistance of Televox, to automatically place appointment confirmation calls. We had done reference checks (which I highly recommend you do!) and were told to watch out for snags during implementation. Otherwise, the feedback was stellar. Sure enough, that is exactly our experience thus far.
Televox is a service that takes information from a company, and uses that information to place telephone calls for you. I am sure it can be used to handle many situations, but we feed it basic information so it can remind our patients of upcoming exams. The company has access to a large number of telephone lines, so it can place many calls simultaneously. It allows the recipient of the call to choose various options, in our case, to confirm or cancel the appointment. It then feeds the results back to us, so we can act accordingly.
Getting all the technical details sorted out was pretty straight forward for us. Others may find this part a bit more challenging if you need to enlist the assistance of a vendor, however our software is developed in house. We found that the documentation they provided did not accurately reflect the resulting data file they sent back to us, so some minor modifications had to be made. They were good about taking some custom values we use, so we could better integrate the results.
The issues we have faced have been more nuisance and annoying items, rather than complete show stoppers. It has been the service surrounding the issues that has left much to be desired. We stated the schedule that the calls need to follow, yet for a couple weeks now, there has been a hiccup preventing calls on a particular day from being placed. We have to manually request they be placed. For this to happen once is possibly acceptable (given it is still the early stages), but the issue wasn’t resolved as promised, and that is the part that is frustrating. We had another issue where we agreed to a nightly schedule to receive information from them, and yet they did not have the data ready at the agreeable time, causing manual work that could have been avoided.
Hopefully these two issues are resolved shortly, and we can stop spending time babysitting what is supposed to be an automatic process. Aside from those issues, early data suggests the service is producing results. It will be interesting to see how our numbers are affected over the long term. Perhaps these early growing pains will be easily forgotten about when the decrease of appointment no shows is considered.