COVID-19 has defined the healthcare industry’s use of technology, especially when it comes to automating patient care from a distance. According to research by SR Health and Reckner, 84% of patients are open to using automated communication solutions. Also, 81% and 85% say the same about automated patient care and outreach. One of the best tools to improve pharmacy efficiency is interactive voice response (IVR). IVR is a computer-operated customer service phone system that can route calls and prompt callers through a pre-set service menu. This allows pharmacists to manage patient and provider inquiries and offer better care.
IVR Uses for Improving Pharmacy Efficiency
IVR has had many uses in multiple industries, from directing calls in retail stores to answering customer service queries for telecommunication customers.
Initially, IVR in pharmacy began as a way to automate prescription refills by organizing patient voicemails. Today, it has evolved beyond that to encompass a range of patient communication solutions, such as:
- Pharmacy self-service from prescription refills to appointment scheduling
- Outbound communication such as pickup and appointment reminders and birthday messages
- SMS or text messaging reminders
- Provider prescription request organization and fulfillment
- Patient and provider voicemail playback and storage
IVR systems are now designed with independent pharmacies in mind, helping them compete more effectively with larger chains. They’re also built to enhance day-to-day operations, and can often be integrated with existing pharmacy management systems (PMS).
Why Choose IVR?
Despite recent events, many pharmacies are still hesitant to upgrade to IVR solutions. Many are concerned that patients, especially seniors, prefer to talk to a real person rather than pre-recorded instructions.
In reality, IVR doesn’t do away with the personal touch, it actually accelerates it. Instead of being placed on a long hold, patients can simply choose the option to talk to another staff member and be connected in seconds.
Other pharmacies struggle with the thought of making changes or investing in new solutions at a time when many businesses are still watching budgets. But those that hesitate will likely find themselves falling behind the competition as the healthcare industry adopts new technologies.
Benefits of an IVR
Phone systems like IVR give pharmacies the tools to improve patient outcomes and maximize pharmacy revenue. Here are some of the other benefits of automating your communication:
IVR systems reduce interruptions, which decreases pickups, allowing for a more manageable call volume so staff can work efficiently. Because staff time is freed up, patients can quickly and easily contact providers directly, without waiting on hold or calling back later.
Better Customer Service
Patients can get help right away instead of scrambling for the correct extension or use self-service options without needing to talk to someone. Pharmacies can ensure that all patients receive updated business and contact information when they call in.
Some systems can also tailor IVR experiences for doctors and physicians calling in with customized ring tones, caller ID, or instant call routing.
Customers often enjoy the streamlined options which make it easy for them to get the information they need on the go or during busy workdays. With self-service options and after-hour call capacity, they can manage their own healthcare and request services at any time of day convenient to them.
Relying on patient voicemails can often lead to errors at the pharmacy staff level when trying to refill prescriptions. Voicemails may also require follow-up calls to confirm services needed and request additional information. Automated systems like IVR integrate directly with your PMS for a streamlined operational workflow that directs patient communication, outreach, and refill requests.
Ultimately, IVR supplies an efficient, streamlined system that allows pharmacy staff to focus on providing quality patient care.
Make the Most of Your IVR
Once you’re ready to commit to an IVR solution, there are plenty of ways you can get the most out of your new investment. Here are just a few ideas:
- Opt for concise, simple greetings and menu options.
- Record your own greetings instead of using an automated voicemail option to add warmth and personality.
- Determine patients’ top reasons for calling and tailor your menu options accordingly to optimize call navigation.
- Design your menu choice order from most to least specific.
- Put individuals like doctors or physicians at the top of your menu.
- Allow patients to choose between keypad and voice interaction so they can tailor the call to their needs.
- Make it easy for callers to connect with a staff member every step of the way in case of questions or emergencies.
Improve Your Pharmacy Efficiency With Vow IVR
Begin automating your pharmacy business today with an IVR solution that will keep you competitive in a post-COVID market.
Vow IVR offers provides 99.9% uptime, full server and data protection, simple scalability, and continuous updates. This digital end-to-end solution is designed to change the way you communicate with patients, increase productivity, and improve day-to-day operations.
Learn how your pharmacy can get more time back with an IVR by getting in touch today.