Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solutions benefit all industry verticals thanks to their powerful features. Being an automated logic that works on the key press from the caller, the IVR solution can work round the clock, attending every incoming call automatically. Additionally, advanced IVR solutions help automate many tasks, such as bill payment, service activations, and appointment booking. An appointment booking IVR solution or an appointment IVR solution is an IVR solution explicitly used to schedule an appointment.

Many organizations and companies can benefit immensely from implementing appointment booking IVR systems in their operations, and the healthcare industry is one of them. The Appointment IVR solution grants patients or their relatives the ability to manage their appointments over the phone as an accessible and straightforward way for them to make changes to their schedules.

For an introduction to IVR systems, you can read our blog “Introduction to IVR & its Importance in VoIP Communications”.

Use of Appointment Booking IVR Solution in Hospitals

The Appointment IVR solution can be developed based on the hospital’s unique needs. E.g., For a hospital providing specialized treatment, such as pediatricians for childcare, the IVR prompts would be more straightforward as the schedule of only one doctor needs to be managed. On the other hand, if the hospital is a multispecialty hospital with multiple departments and there are doctors providing healthcare checkups and diagnoses of different diseases, then the appointment IVR solution will have nested voice prompts in the IVR menu. In a nutshell, the appointment IVR solutions for both hospital types would be different but easily managed using appropriate IVR logic.

Integrating appointment IVR solutions with the hospital’s existing telecom systems is simple. Once the appointment booking IVR solution is configured in the hospital, the patients or their family members can use it to book a medical appointment by following the below-mentioned steps:

  • They call the hospital.
  • Once the call is connected to the hospital via the Appointment IVR solution, the caller is greeted by pre-recorded welcome greeting followed by the voice menu.
  • The caller provides all the required information needed to be directed to the correct destination using the keypad input. The keypad inputs guide the caller through options to select departments, available doctors, their schedules, and preferred timeslots.
  • The system compares the request against the availability and slot availability. If already booked, the system offers the next available slot for the caller to accept. 
  • Any additional information can be given in the form of voice commands and inputs. 
  • In the end, an appointment is booked for the medical consultation. The caller may receive a confirmation SMS to validate the booking.

Based on the implementation, hospitals can also add the feature of Payment processing via IVR. You can read more about Payment processing using Asterisk IVR.

Benefits of using Appointment IVR solution

For Patients

Appointment IVR solution automates the process and allows patients to book appointments from the comforts of their homes with minimal hold times. They are no longer waiting in call queues or driving to hospitals to inquire about appointments. Moreover, advanced IVR systems can also be used for patients to request medical records or reports. Since IVR is operational round the clock, it is easier for patients to book their appointment slot by calling outside business hours.

For Hospitals

Compared to the patients, an appointment IVR solution benefits hospitals highly. It streamlines the staff workflow, reducing operational costs and improving customer service by reducing waiting times. Additionally, the IVR can eliminate human intervention and directly interact with the patient data for setting up appointments and checking lab results, freeing up the staff for other essential tasks. Here are some more benefits for hospitals from using the Appointment IVR solution:

  • Quicker Emergency Resolution: An IVR system can regulate the incoming call traffic and route any emergency calls to the correct department without any holding time. This way, any number of concurrent calls are handled in the right way without worrying about call congestion or call mixup. 
  • Automation Reduces Manual follow-ups: The different menus of the IVR can be configured for various purposes, e.g., individual key inputs for booking appointments for specialists and lab tests, respectively, or an essential input for medical report retrieval or checking the insurance status. Moreover, the hospital can use the IVR to set up follow-ups with the patients and send out a confirmation call.
  • Improve Productivity: Hospitals can eliminate the need for a person to attend calls and set up appointments using the IVR system. It can also automate the most repetitive tasks, such as scheduling new appointments, looking up existing appointments, rescheduling appointments, and canceling appointments. This way, the staff can focus on providing quality health care instead of entangling themselves with admin tasks.
  • Reduce Human Errors: Human errors can be completely eliminated since no human intervention is needed for appointment booking using the IVR solution. The IVR automatically fills out the patient details, so double booking or any such issues can be completely avoided. 
  • Simplified Customer Feedback: Post appointment, the IVR can be configured to ask for customer feedback. The user can provide the correct rating using keypad input.
  • More accessible Programming: The appointment IVR solution for hospitals may come with an easy-to-use GUI (Graphical User Interface) based panel via which the hospital staff can make changes in the IVR menu, voice prompts, and other details.
  • Concurrent Call Management: Multiple calls can flood your system on a busy day, and an operator might be overwhelmed. IVR can manage multiple concurrent calls and ensure minimal hold time. 
  • Easy access to analytics: Hospitals can be better prepared to provide quality healthcare from the data collected by the IVR about caller patterns. Additional metrics such as average call volume, appointment slot density, dropped calls, call frequency, repeat callers, etc.

Hospitals can save a lot of time, effort, and resources by using the appointment booking IVR solution for hospitals. 

Wrapping Up

IVR has long been an essential component of the healthcare sector. Due to technological improvements and new applications, IVR has developed into a crucial instrument required to build a more effective system. The healthcare sector needs technologies like IVRs to enhance customer service and give patients greater access to health information if it wants to keep expanding at this rate. We at Vindaloo Softtech have an expert team that is experienced in developing appointment booking IVR solutions for hospitals. Contact us to learn more about our services and offerings.