Keeping Schedules Full in Practices with Multiple Doctors and Locations

By

Brevium's software catches patients who have fallen through the cracks either because they didn't respond to a recall or never got one.

When it comes to keeping established patients coming back to the practice, most optometric offices employ a variety of recall and appointment reminder systems. Increasingly, offices are turning to newer more automated solutions by companies such as Websystem3, Solutionreach, 4PatientCare, Demandforce or TeleVox to deliver automated phone calls, text messages, and emails.

There's a new category of patient reactivation technology from Brevium Inc. that optometric practices with multiple doctors and locations could learn about by watching trends at similarly sized ophthalmology practices.

A Safety Net for Staff Errors
Big practices have lots of moving parts. With so many employees with different levels of competency and training working at so many different locations, it can be difficult to ensure that recalls are always handled correctly. Even a small error rate entering recalls or following up on patients who don't respond to automated recalls, not to mention cancellations or no-shows, can add up to thousands of patients falling through the cracks.

Some of these patients may have sight-threatening diseases, and all patients represent an opportunity to build the practice. Brevium's software functions as a safety net to catch patients who have fallen through the cracks either because they didn't respond to a recall or because they never got one in the first place. The software combs through every patient record every night attempting to find patients who are overdue, tracking all their previous comings and goings. Managers don't have to run lists and try to keep them up to date.

Effective Targeting
The Eye and LASIK Center in Massachusetts has been using Brevium's technology since 2011. The practice has five locations, three optical shops, nine MDs and seven ODs. Tracy Kenniff, practice administrator, reports that one of the things she liked the best about Brevium's software is how easy it is to effectively target patients. "With a little work, most systems allow practices to target lost patients based on a generic interval of care. Brevium allows a practice to target patients on the basis of their disease state history and to ensure that they are being contacted at appropriate intervals of care. It has been so easy for us because Brevium analyzes the visit history and diagnosis/procedure codes automatically. This allows us to provide better patient care and ensure we are bringing the right patients back to the practice and to the correct provider."

Filling Schedules, Responding to Trends
Practices with multiple doctors and locations often report scheduling challenges such as senior providers who are booked solid and new doctors who have many open appointments. A similar situation would be when a doctor is busy at one location but not at one of the satellite locations. It can be difficult for practice leaders to dynamically respond to these issues and make real progress filling the schedules in specific spots.

"We absolutely use Brevium to help us stay on top of keeping our schedule filled," said Kenniff. "Many of our optometrists and surgeons are booked several weeks in advance, but with seasonal trends and other factors we really needed a tool that would allow us to keep everyone busy. Before Brevium, we were consistently filling 90 percent of our appointments. Now, the appointment fill rate is often at or approaching 100 percent because I have a tool that makes it so easy to fill the doctors' schedules who need the most help. It is simply astounding how expensive it is to leave appointment slots open. We have all these employees on the clock and the equipment ready to go, so those open appointment slots are a huge missed opportunity."

Holding the Whole Process Accountable
The typical practice doesn't have a good handle on what its recall response rate is and how many patients are lost or overdue. It's one thing for a system to show a list of patients who were contacted. It's another to be able to see the ones who scheduled appointments, whether they showed up, and even how much money was generated from the visit. Whether staff members make live calls to overdue patients or an automated system is used, Brevium will track the conversion rate.

"It is fascinating at the end of the month to see exactly how many calls each staff member made and what that translated into by way of kept appointments and recaptured revenue," said Dee Letourneau, Eye and LASIK Center's marketing manager. "We used to spend so much time trying to figure it all out. To have a software program that automatically does it for us has been amazing."

Kenniff, added, "The return on investment is automatically tracked to the penny based on actual charges. For our practice, this meant $246,000 in profit to the practice last year. For large practices with a lot of moving parts, Brevium's technology can really help fill schedules, and this has had a big spillover effect into all aspects of our business, including the optical shop."

 

The Brevium patient reactivation software is already in use throughout the country.

 

Evan Kestenbaum, MBA, is chief information officer of GPN, Exclusive Provider of The EDGE. Contact Jay and Evan directly at clientservices.gpn@gmail.com.