How Do Patients Prefer to Be Contacted to Schedule Appointments?

Most  people (44.7%) prefer to be contacted over the phone when scheduling for their next appointment, according to Jobson Optical Research’s Waiting Game Insight Survey. Scheduling an appointment before leaving the office came next with 19.7% choosing that mode of communication for recall. More of the younger respondents, ages of 18 to 34, preferred e-mail (17.9%) to the older 55+ age group (13.1%) and vice versa for regular mail, preferred by only 12.9% of the younger age group, and almost a quarter (24.9%) of the oldest age group.

Capture each patient’s preferred method of communication.  Put this information in the patient’s record so it can be updated on each patient visit. Use a simple questionnaire with each patient such as:

What is the best way for us to communicate with you about your next office visit?
[  ]  E-mail
[  ]  Telephone
[  ]  Text message
[  ]  Traditional mail
[  ]  Twitter

Make sure you create office systems that utilize the patient’s preferred method of communication. There are excellent programs available today that can help you manage patient communications more effectively.  

Increasing the effectiveness of your patient communications results in increased patient compliance with your prescribed treatment plans.


Use Hot Topics on Social Media to Promote Your Practice

Here are some practices for social content creation:

1.  Select an engaging topic. Use patient questions, interesting cases in the practice, ophthalmic news, journal articles and interactions on Twitter and Quora, an online question-and-answer site, to select topics for the blog.
2.  Social Integration. Twitter, Facebook, Quora and more in order to increase your website’s search engine optimization.
3.   Use images and video. We know that people are much more likely to spend time on a blog post if it appeals to them visually and the concept video is much more likely to engage a reader than straight text. Both of these are easily embed-able in any blogging platform.
4.  Keep it short, but not too short. If a blog post is too short (less than 250 words) search engines will not assign it as high a priority.
5.  Relatable tone. One of the facets of social media is that it has the ability to “humanize” you. This doesn’t mean that you have be unprofessional or share personal information, just that you can share your thoughts in a way that indicates that you care about your patients and your profession.
6.  Web site integration. Ideally, a blog is perfectly nestled within the web site. There should be consistency at the top of the blog for information and the practice and appointment requests. Optimize the site  for mobile devices and a portal for patient use.