Friday, July 06, 2007

An alternative way to book an appointment

My dad sees a urologist in NJ. This urologist, who happens to be a good friend of mine from medical school, is in one of these mega-urology groups--30-40 urologists. My mom says that she is never able to get through by phone without at least 10 minutes of hold time. No doubt that this is a sign of a thriving practice--or really bad phones--but it is somewhat of a pain for patients, new and follow-up alike. I'm sure this group already employes these techniques, but here are some things I do to give patients access to schedule appointments without tying up phone lines.
  • Fax an appointment request
  • Email the practice administrator that you wish to make an appointment and that you are an established patient of the group.
  • Voicemail--just make sure you check. I have not yet employed voice mail.
  • Text-message--I had one patient contact me this way. In general, I am not very good at the MMS lingo, but I got him in the door. "OMG, I g hsv. n2cu." Translation: Oh my God, I have herpes. I need to see you.

The moral of the story is that the phone is but one avenue to reach the scheduler in the office. Personally, I think fax is the best. We check the fax on our free time and contact the patient when our phones are not ringing off the hook.


The IU.