Keep up with the creative and effective ways in which you can communicate with your patients.

In the last few years, a lot has changed about how offices are run and when and how we connect with patients. It used to be just once a year (usually by mail) when it was time to schedule an appointment, and then possibly the day before to confirm. Now with smartphones, the Internet, and social media, we’re able to be in constant contact, providing a higher level of more personalized service. Here are some of the newest, most innovative communication systems available.

Chosen by many industry leaders for its streamlined approach to improving patient communication office-processes, Demandforce features simplified appointment reminders with free, automated email messaging, phone reminders, or text messages (simply respond with a “C” to confirm). A family-messaging option allows patients to confirm appointments for their whole household with one click. Demandforce syncs with Passbook and Google Now for those accessing appointment info on their smartphones.

Another creative feature is its postcard option for appointment reminders or holiday or birthday greetings on which practices can add their logo or choose from more than 27 designs.

With Demandforce, practices can also easily monitor their online reputation by gathering real patient reviews and posting them online. Before reviews are posted, the practice can respond in writing or request removal if it violates certain criteria. After passing through a public review and comment policy filter, comments are considered “Certified,” giving potential patients confidence they are from an actual patient. Demandforce also helps solicit reviews from the Internet, sending them directly to Citysearch, Bing, and the practice’s website and Facebook page.

A clever way to boost your business, GWIG (Go Where I Go) capitalizes on word-of-mouth reviews. Launched by optometrists Charlie Turner and Chris Cooper, GWIG allows practices to get valuable referrals without negative reviews, spam, or expensive advertising. An innovative GWIG small business dashboard enables practices to track referral rates in real time and allows them to reward patients who’ve signed up for the practice’s loyalty program. “We all want to avoid the damage done by unrealistic patients and arbitrary ratings that get on review sites,” says Cooper, “and GWIG is the best tool to drive positive referrals and new customer acquisitions.”

All satisfied patients have to do is click the app’s “REFER” button and their positive feedback is instantly digitized by sending your business information to their friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances. Each recipient can then designate if and how they would like the business to reach out to them.

ManagementPlus, Inc. software helps optometric practices keep appointments organized, using a template- or resource-based scheduling system with calendar sheets. Each component of the exam can be scheduled according to availability, which improves office efficiency, allows more patients to be seen, and reduces wait time. ManagementPlus also allows offices to track patient notifications by phone, mail, or email; track no-shows; and manage return appointments. Cards, letters, and labels can be scheduled easily to let patients know of appointment dates.

Making appointments is simple with the one-click drag-and-drop feature. Other features include kiosk check-in; the ability to view multiple dates, locations, and providers; unlimited text in scheduling notes; and the capability to produce and customize superbills that are ICD-10 ready. There’s even a built-in time clock that lets employees view their schedules, making it simple to manage staff hours, holidays, vacation time, and sick leave.

Solutionreach can dramatically improve your office’s efficiency

Solutionreach makes it easy to keep patients engaged with your practice year-round while improving your profitability and productivity. The appointment reminder feature is completely customizable and unlimited, using texts, emails, and/or automated natural-voice phone calls, freeing staff for other tasks while keeping your schedule full. Patients can insert appointment info into their electronic calendar with one click, even receiving real-time traffic and weather forecasts from Google.

Highly customizable automated or one-time Patient Surveys are also available. Built-in alerts and analytics help evaluate how patients feel about their experience, giving you the ability to address negative experiences before complaints find their way online. The platform dramatically improves office efficiency with features like the interaction Action List. ASAP messaging allows messages to be sent immediately to patients on your wait list when you have last-minute cancellations, and an automated birthday wish feature intuitively sends personalized emails or texts with customized graphics, photos, or video links.

Automated recall also frees up valuable staff time by monitoring continuing care dates, using automated messaging to contact patients before and after they’re due. They can then request an appointment with the click of a button and your staff immediately sees these requests.

A PatientReach Mobile app also allows patients to connect with you wherever they go. They can send secure messages, manage appointments, view billing statements, and make mobile payments.

CooperVision Inc.’s WebSystem3′ features intelligent appointment requests, allowing patients to look online to see when an appointment might be available. Reminders and confirmations are sent by automated texts, emails, or voice messages. By tapping into your practice management software, WebSystem3 also reads patients’ recall dates and sets up email, phone, or text message reminders when they’re due. With Rx-ready capability, patients are notified immediately and automatically that their glasses or lenses are ready for pickup.

CooperVision’s LensFerry is the only mobile commerce solution that lets patients reorder contact lenses via their mobile device,
tablet, or computer.

Every WebSystem3 email that’s sent out has a “Refer-a-Friend” link so patients can share your office information with their contacts. A patient survey, sent with a thank-you email, lets patients tell you what they like about your practice. They can also share the name of staff members who provided them with exceptional service or suggest improvements. Another innovative feature is the integrated VisionApp, which allows busy patients to communicate directly with the practice through their iPhone, Android, or other mobile device. With this app, they can order contacts, request an available appointment time, and more.

WebSystem3’s custom branding of newsletters, reminders, birthday greetings, and Rx-ready notices makes your communication efforts look highly professional with minimal staff time required.

Currently in testing in certain parts of the country, a new WebSystem3 service called LensFerry’ is due to expand to other regions by the end of the year, offering the only mobile commerce solution that allows patients to reorder contact lenses””and they can be from any manufacturer””via their mobile device, tablet, or computer. The lenses get shipped directly to the patient’s home, and your practice receives the sales revenue as if the product was ordered in your office. Various buying and payment options are offered to the patient and it’s easy for you to send out custom-branded reminder emails or texts.

This is an exciting time for patient communication technology, and these systems can help you keep on top of your practice’s online reputation. So don’t be afraid to keep in touch with your patients. It’s easier than ever now, and you’re bound to increase referrals, patient satisfaction, and profitability.

Jennifer L. Stewart is in private practice at Norwalk Eye Care in Norwalk, CT.


CooperVision Inc. •866-575-3937 •

Demandforce, Inc. •800-210-0355 •

GWIG •850-366-3420 •

ManagementPlus, Inc. •800-695-6994  •

Solutionreach •866-605-6867 •


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