When you implement forward booking in your veterinary practice, there are small changes to your reminder system that will need to be made—but technology can help.
Dawn Burdette, executive director of sales, leadership and development at Henry Schein Animal Health, explains that when you implement forward booking in your veterinary practice, there are small changes to your reminder system that will need to be made—but technology can help.
"When you put forward booking into a practice you do have to change your reminder system; you need an additional message. So traditionally in a practice, they'll send out reminders that say something like 'hey you know Muffy's due for an exam, give us a call and make an appointment.' Well if they already have an appointment then that message doesn't work. So there's a lot of technologies and software out there that will actually be able to identify which ones have appointments and which ones need to make appointments and send the appropriate message in the right way. So some people might respond to text messages, some might respond to phone calls, some might like to have postcards—there's technologies out there that help you communicate to the clients at the right time in a way that they prefer with the right message.
We do it in the veterinary practice when we talk about rechecks. So if they've had sutures and they need to have a stitch removal we're pretty good at that, or if they have an ear problem and they need to have a recheck, we're pretty good at that. Where we haven't been good, which is a great opportunity for us, is taking forward booking and using that in preventive care. Preventive care is predictable so if it's predictable you can forward book it. I know I need to see you know in a certain amount of time.
So we need to audit the charts and we need to have a system in place where we're communicating to them I need to see you at this time, and then have a good reminder system in place so that it tells them, you know, maybe a couple of weeks before and then a couple of days before. Let them know that they can change the appointment but they have an opportunity to confirm it. Make sure that you're doing those things to decrease your no-shows, but forward booking really does a lot for a practice in terms of increasing preventive care, the healthcare, the revenue, the cash flow, scheduling—you have an idea of you know when you need your staff in—so there's a lot of benefits from forward booking."