How Doctor's Offices Could Be Better Connected

In 2011, the typical experience for seeing a doctor is:

  1. call the office
  2. speak to the receptionist
  3. schedule an appointment
  4. you are told to arrive 20 minutes early to fill out paperwork

There is no way to interact with your doctor or office via email. It’s still a paper and fax industry, despite the increasingly affordable costs of going virtual. Many don’t even have websites, which is tantamount to sacrilege in this day and age.

Why aren’t doctors using more technology to win more customers? There’s no exact answer, though my suspicion is they don’t look at patients as customers they want to woo through marketing or improved communication. How else can you explain the long wait times we all suffer?

Shared Calendar

One way I see that doctors could reduce the amount of time receptionists spend scheduling appointments is to share calendars. Simply host the shared virtual calendar online and let patients pick the time that works for them. Reminders go to both the doctor and the patient, and the receptionist doesn’t have to make daily reminder calls.

Taking Electronic Medical Records Mobile

There’s big talk about electronic medical records (EMRs) being required by 2012, so I’m sure we’ll see some good solutions along with this. But how long will it be before EMRs go mobile? We could essentially carry around an app that has our contact information and medical history, and share it with the doctors we visit.

The doctors can then update our records so that we always have with us the most accurate notes, prescription information and test results about our bodies.

Doctors, like any business owners, need to understand that winning and keeping customers is a privilege — something that’s earned. It’s time to do more to provide easier ways for customers to interact and connect to doctors.

Tirrell Payton
BT Software and Research

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