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Make a personal connection with appointment reminder systems

Make a personal connection with appointment reminder systems

Many ADA members rate missed or cancelled appointments as the No. 1 frustration in managing their businesses.

One solution is to adopt an automated reminder system, which can confirm appointments by contacting patients using information in practice management software. These systems:

  • free up time for front office personnel tasked with confirming appointments to become more involved in the clinical aspects of the practice;
  • enable patients to communicate with the practice in their preferred method—phone, e-mail or text—and strengthen the doctor-patient bond and increase loyalty.

InTouch Communications Inc., the only appointment reminder system endorsed by ADA Business Resources, offers the Phone Tree system, which was invented in 1989. Phone Tree can deliver any phone, e-mail or text message that the dentist's practice management software can track. The most common messages are appointment reminders, but many progressive practices use the InTouch system to reactivate missing patients, make recalls and/or send birthday greetings.

In addition, phone messages are recorded in the voice of a member of the dental team so that patients hear a familiar voice. Listeners can press 1 on their phone to confirm appointments, or press 0 to speak with a staff person. E-mails and text messages can also be designed to reflect the practice's brand.

"InTouch is the only company I'm aware of that continues to support dentists whether they choose a traditional hardware or a pay-as-you-go hosted arrangement," said Bill Schroeder, InTouch vice president. Mr. Schroeder believes in providing a customized system for each dentist.

"We allow practices to own our system outright and make an unlimited number of telephone and e-mail contacts," he said. "Our hosted version allows the flexibility of low set-up fees and the ability for the client to pay per call.

"Our appointment reminder systems have shown reductions in missed appointments by as much as 42 percent," he added.

The InTouch system works with the dentist's own practice management software, which generates the reminder message. InTouch has established a toll-free hotline for ADA members at 1-877-493-9003. The ADA member discounted price for the Phone Tree system is $4,000—a $995 savings from list price. Members who contact InTouch before Sept. 30 will receive an additional 10 percent off the ADA member discounted price (a $400 value).