What Doctors Need to Know About a Prepaid Online Appointment Reminder

One of the most cost-saving features of an online appointment scheduling system for clinics is the prepaid appointment reminder. This technology allows the patient to make a partial or full credit card payment for the consultation bill as he or she gets an alert about the upcoming scheduled meeting. Clinical practices can save on operational expenses with this service because this service can charge patients despite no-shows.

1. Activation

Prepaid appointment reminder services are usually included in online appointment scheduler packages. Doctors can activate the service any time and at no extra charge and, in turn, do not have to charge their patients for the feature.

2. Data Organization

Appointments that have already been saved by the doctor or the administrative staff can easily be uploaded in the program. Microsoft Excel or CSV file formats are often compatible with appointment scheduling software. Other programs offer to convert pdf and txt file formats to help doctors copy their appointments for free. This may involve adding a parser, a form of computer data interpreter. Prepaid appointment reminder features usually nullify recorded appointments that have old dates or are identical with other entries.

3. Payment Records and Options

Online appointment solutions automatically save the payment information made by the patient. Doctors can view this as well as the call records, which are updated real time. The program also records any remaining balance or unbilled fees. Patients who cancel their appointment during the call reminder are refunded for their advanced payment. Most prepaid appointment reminder services can also be linked to PayPal and similar third party payment processors so that patients can make payments online or transfer money through online banking prior to the appointment.

4. Signature Capture Technology

For advanced payments that need signatures from doctors and patients, electronic signature capture can help complete the transaction. Signature capture is currently available in smartphones including the iPhone and Android as well as tablet PCs such as the iPad. This technology is compliant with electronic records safety regulations set by the United States under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as well as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act in Canada.

5. Prepayment for SMS Services

Although the term “prepaid” primarily indicates payment from customers, prepaid appointment reminder programs also offer doctors an option to purchase the number of call credits they want for the system in advance. They can use their credit card or PayPal account for this transaction.

6. Call Forwarding

To enhance customer service, patients who prefer to make an advanced payment upon making an appointment can be transferred by the automated phone system to a clinical staff’s phone line or a third party customer service representative. Although this option defies the advantage of reducing staff’s responsibilities, it will likely boost customer satisfaction.

A prepaid appointment reminder can help lessen a patient’s burden by taking care of medical bills in advance. With regard to clinical practice, these prepaid transactions can reduce paperwork and staff responsibilities by automatically updating and organizing patients’ files and payment history. They can also lower the risk of last-minute no-shows, which translate to business losses as the unfulfilled appointment slot could have been used to accommodate another patient.