Telephonetics Launches an Automatic Appointment Reminder

A new appointment reminder system has been unveiled by speech technology specialists Telephonetics.

Launched this month, the new system uses a combination of advanced speech recognition and text to speech technology to contact patients ahead of their appointment to remind them that they're due to attend. The amount of notice given to remind the patient is fully configurable within the system.

The system works by feeding selected data from the patient administration records directly into the ContactPortal appointment reminder system. Before the patient is due to attend for an appointment, the system rings him or her and says: "I have a message from the xxxxx hospital to remind you that your outpatient appointment is on… …." The system then asks the patient to confirm whether or not he or she can still make the appointment. If the answer is "yes", the system thanks them and rings off. If the answer is "no", the patient is asked to ring the hospital to make another appointment. The system then provides a report for the hospital of the patients who will not be attending.

The new appointment reminder technology comes as an integral module for Telephonetics' recently launched speech recognition system, the ContactPortal. This acts as a virtual switchboard operator 24 hours a day, asking callers who they'd like to speak to and then automatically transferring them to the correct extension. The ContactPortal also offers a number of other features, such as mobility, call screening and hospital pager integration. One key advantage of the ContactPortal is that it substantially reduces the workload of switchboard operators and helps hospitals present a consistent, high quality and professional image to the calling public. It also allows hospital employees to make better use of their time, by managing their phone calls more effectively.

"Recent research shows that 43 percent of people who miss appointments fail to alert hospitals that they will not attend, and that 49 percent of 'no shows' would be more likely to have attended if they'd been given a reminder of their appointment," says Paul Welham, director of sales and marketing at Telephonetics, who says that the technology could also be used by GPs, dentists and law courts. The other major benefit of the appointment reminder system is that it is active during the hours when the hospital telephone lines are at their lowest use. "We believe our new ContactPortal appointment reminder technology could provide healthcare organisations with a far more cost-effective solution than existing labour intensive methods of reminding patients, such as manual phone calls and postcards."

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