Then I get the reminder postcard and/or phone calls in the days or weeks leading up to the appointment. My dentist’s office even wants you to waste your (and their) time by calling back to confirm. Hey, I got the message.
But is this good customer service, or a lot of time, money and paper wasted? (And did I mention the resources expended to ship or pick up the cards from Staples or through the mail.
Walking Green recently wrote on her blog:
Can you imagine how much money the dentist would save if the just had it set up
so that you received an email? Of course, there would be the initial cost.
However, by the time you pay for the post card, the postage (.26 cents), an
employee who is filling out the postcards, the non-recyclable labels that our
address was printed on and stuck to the post card (instead of writing it in),
then for a busy practice, it is quite a chunk of change.
Because of this, you’re limited in how you can do reminder cards – often, your name and info must be sealed so your spouse, etc., can’t read it.
It’s worse for e-mail, because people change it so often and theoretically anyone can access it. So offices shy away from it.
According to Healthcare Economist:
Among individuals with Internet access, 90% want to communicate with theirReally, it’s stupid that they don’t. My endocrinologist has me fax in blood sugars every two weeks (twice a week when I was pregnant). That involves me printing my sheet and faxing it (generating another sheet of paper.) I asked if I couldn’t just e-mail an Excel document (one less sheet, and with HIPAA I am sending the information, not requiring a response over e-mail), and they didn’t want to change their business practices and remember to check an e-mail address. The office is swamped because the physician is fantastic, so we use old technology to make due. I'd simply phone in my blood sugar readings, which would save that one sheet of paper each time, but it could cause problems in interpreting results if something was written down wrong.
physician over email. In fact, 56% of patients claim that having the ability to
email their doctor would influence their choice of doctor.
The alternative is secure messaging, and no practice (heck, not even a lot of large medical practices) are up for that kind of investment. Instead, it's cheaper in the short run to do paper, no matter what the long term cost is.