One of the fundamental truths in life is that no matter how many years you go school, no matter what school you attend, and no matter how many letters you end up having before and/or behind your name, you only know what you know. Now, I realize this isn’t exactly an existential revelation or anything, but it does remind us all that sometimes we don’t know what to do simply because we don’t know we can. Ironically, I came to this realization while in my eye doctor’s waiting room. Well, ironic for him anyway.
As I sat there, I noticed that the receptionist was actually writing her appointments in an appointment book. I was so surprised that in 2010 they still kept an appointment book that I asked her about it. She responded that, sadly, the doctor was slow to ‘upgrade’ and that patients often call having forgotten when their appointment was and requesting that she look it up on the computer. I can understand why she was so sad.
This is not to say that my eye doctor is some kind of dinosaur or technophobe or anything of that nature. Nor is this to say that he doesn’t know that these things are often done on a computer nowadays. It’s only to say that he doesn’t realize how much more efficient his staff could be, how much time they could save, how much money he could save, and how much happier his staff and patients would be if he used technology more effectively than he does today.
I mean, let’s think about this for a minute. Without spending a ridiculous amount of money, he could have some 17-year-old with a laptop and a couple of Red Bulls create a web-based tool to track all his appointments (i.e. no more book). On top of that, it could send emails or text messages or both to all his patients to remind them of an upcoming appointment a couple of days before (i.e. far fewer reminder calls). That same email could include the ability to confirm the appointment, cancel the appointment, or even reschedule online (i.e. fewer incoming calls, and fewer no shows)!
This all seems very obvious to some, but not so obvious to someone who doesn’t know how all this stuff works and all the wonderful possibilities. I’m not saying I’ve figured out how to let the world know. But, I am saying that when you start from the premise of making things easier for your team, less expensive for your ‘wallet’, and more convenient for your customers/patients/clients/etc., you at least know to keep an open mind, and you don’t need any degrees to understand that.
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