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Do you use e-mail in your practice. If so, how do you integrate it?
We try to collect patient e-mails upon registration for a number of reasons. First, we can then communicate our future appointments with them. Second of all, we can e-mail labs to them if they are abnormal. Third-, we can send them our email newsletter.
All of these are methods to retain and enhance patient relationships, making it easier for our staff to communicate with patients. Unfortunately, in this busy time, many patients opt out of receiving e-mail communications for various reasons. But those that do allow us to send them e-mails end up with a richer experience and an easier method of communication should they encounter an issue or problem in the future.
Our nurses love e-mail because it saves them from having to answer a phone call in the middle busy times to discuss a mildly abnormal lab result or a question that can easily be answered via e-mail. If possible, I try to stress this to our patients when they ask why we need email addresses. Still many opt out despite our obvious preferences.
How do you notify patients of upcoming appointments?
We send a postcard and e-mail to each patient, along with the obligatory call to their home or cellphone. For the future, we are trying to collect enough cellphone numbers to text them for upcoming appointments as well. We find these methods result in greater success on appointments and the cost of triplicate contact is far outweighed by the benefit of having our patients show for their appointments.