Telephone Reminders

Connect Care ambulatory care clinics can take advantage of automated appointment reminders for patients with upcoming outpatient, day surgery, therapy or investigation visits. The automated telephone system was implemented in January 2020 and integrated with the clinical information system to support appointments from February 2020 forward.

Features

    • Automated telephone reminders are sent to patients' preferred number 3-5 days (depending upon weekend) prior to their next appointment. One call covers all appointments on a single day.
    • Messages are left when possible if the call is not answered.
    • Calls go out Monday-Saturday 10:00-19:00 with no calls on Sundays or holidays.
    • Patients can confirm, cancel or request a rescheduled appointment using keypad responses.
    • Patient instructions and other important appointment information continues to be sent via mail or MyAHS Connect.
    • At present, English alone is supported.
    • The interactive telephone "script" works for most outpatient settings. Some custom scripts are applied for specific contexts (e.g., mental health, public health, etc.) and, in future, other customizations may become possible.
    • Standard scripts are updated with any relevant pandemic response instructions or reminders.

Preparations

Connect Care clinic managers (operations-medical dyad) are provided information about automated appointment telephone reminders. Clinic opt-out is possible, but discouraged. One telephone reminder approach should be adopted department-wide; ultimately organization-wide. Individual patient opt-out remains possible once the automated telephone reminder system is implemented.

A clinic request to opt-out of automated telephone reminders must come from the relevant department manager or leader and recorded as a ticket submission through the Connect Care Concierge.

It is important that clinic or medical office support staff understand how to manage the automated reminder system through scheduling workflows (see tip sheet below) and for physicians to know whether their clinic has chosen a reminder workflow, prepared staff and communicated to patients (e.g. posters). The physician can then reinforce this service when patients ask about appointment preparations.

Preferences

Patients can register a preference to receive reminders via direct staff-to-patient or staff-to-proxy. In time, they may also indicate a preference for text or email reminders (in the works). The patient's telephone, email and text locations approved for clinical communication are solicited (and validated) at all registration and check-in workflows.

Patients who sign up for MyAHS Connect can receive appointment reminders via the patient portal. They can also control their communication preferences from within the portal. Clinics that enable MyAHS Connect self-scheduling can additionally offer patients the ability to manage all confirmations, cancellations and scheduling requests via that interface.

Physicians do not have the ability to change patient preferences. This must be done by support staff trained in appointment workflows.

If an entire department (clinic) wishes to opt-out of automated telephone reminders, submit a Help Desk Ticket stating "Opt out of Auto Reminder phone calls for [DEPT NAME]".

Resources