Telephones, emails and text messaging are just some of the ways that we communicate today, to name a few. Communication technology has evolved by leaps and bounds ever since the invention of the first telephone in 1876. In fact, I can remember calling my elementary school friends on our corded landline telephone, or being told to get off of the computer with dial-up internet because my mother needed to use the phone. Here we are, in 2022, and we have smartphone technology, cloud-based technology – you name it, we’ve got it. All with the exception of holograms… for now!
When it comes to operating a private practice, specifically in the field of Audiology, patient communications are the number one priority, next to the products we work with. I was a young boy when my parents started their small Audiology practice in our home. I can remember seeing my mother using typewriters, landline phones, rolodexes and the like to run her practice. All records and files were paper, and the thought of using a patient CRM system was not heard of. As the years went by, the integration of computers, software and cell phones became the new normal thus increasing effective communication with our patients.
In 2017, I joined my family’s practice, along with my wife, Autumn. We grew the practice at an astounding rate in the first eight-month period that we were working together – much of which was spent updating systems, processes and procedures. Autumn was new to the field of audiology, and I can remember the learning curve she endured – not only with the understanding of the field, but also in how to treat patients with hearing difficulties. The psychology of the hearing impaired is complex in its variety, with many patients describing their feelings as angry, depressed, anxious, withdrawn and fatigued. Our patient-provider relationships are based largely on trust.
As we talk about communication, we know that there are at least 3 types: verbal, non-verbal and visual. We also can note that there are the “7 C’s” of communication that are principled to effective communication: clear, correct, complete, concise, concrete, coherent and courteous. As time passed, we continuously evaluated the communicative technology we were using in the office, particularly when it came to patients. Formerly, we used a multitude of different communication methods, all of which existed on different platforms. We had limited integration capabilities, and the ease of use for our patient care coordinator was limited.
Then we discovered Weave software, an all-in-one patient communication and engagement platform. Weave is a multi-solution cloud based software for practice management. They have an entire sector of software dedicated to the field of audiology. The software integrates all patient communications on one platform and with the most commonly used CRM system, Sycle. Weave is super user friendly and their technology features aligns with those “7 C’s” I previously mentioned. Key features include a VoIP phone system, with corresponding phone/computer application, patient text messaging/automatic replies, team chat, patient reviews, email campaigns and more. There has been a noticeable difference in our office efficiency and profitability from utilizing Weave in our offices!
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Being a small family practice, we only have one patient care coordinator who is responsible for fielding all incoming patient calls/messages. If our patient care coordinator missed a patient’s incoming call, Weave sends an automatic reply of our choosing to that patient. Every touch point and effort to connect is imperative in this industry. In the most recent years, our industry has faced many changes and much competition, with big box stores and franchises that have more resources than your family private practice. Missing a single phone call can be the difference between a new patient helped and them seeking services elsewhere. Having these tools, in an all in one package, is the best resource of all!
Weave allows our patient care coordinator to text appointment reminders, text links to write us a review or links for payment collections. Text messaging patients, not from a personal phone number, has changed the game for us and our patients! Text messaging is an easy, concise way to communicate with our patients who have hearing, cognition or memory recall difficulties. The text messaging feature provides black and white documentation of important discussions or details that can become misconstrued on a phone conversation playback. Not to mention, Weave has that feature as well! You can play back all of your phone call conversations in an effort to keep the patient circle of care complete, or to administer training to front office staff.
The Weave software does offer the capability for patients to self-schedule an appointment with your office. We have opted not to utilize this feature yet, but for others, this may be a golden nugget! Our lives are so fast paced today, with many husband and wife teams working full time. Sometimes self-scheduling is the difference between a prospective patient scheduling an appointment or not. On another note, let’s talk weather and holiday season. In Pennsylvania, we get snow, and sometimes, A LOT of snow! Often times, we must close our office or work with patients to reschedule appointments due to inclement weather. Weave’s email campaign feature allows you to send an email blast with office closure details to your entire patient network. Sometimes we actually find the time to leave the office (if you know, you know) to go on a vacation or spend time with family on a holiday. You probably already guessed what we do! We send that email blast with contact links, social media links and the like. It’s all about resources, right? We also use the Weave email campaigns to send promo codes (i.e. SHOP15) to our patients where they can shop our online store and receive a percentage off of their purchase.
Best of all, Weave has an entire solution dedicated to analytics. Want to know when the most calls come in? When the most calls are missed? How many review invitations were sent? Weave analytics has all of the data for you. Data driven decisions, my friends! Don’t hesitate to integrate Weave into your practice by requesting a demo today. Get ready to see results!