In the summer of 1969 a respected neurosurgeon at Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia walked into one of the clinics. He looked surprised to find there a patient on whom he had recently operated. The surgeon knew that the parents of that young girl did not have a financial situation that would require her to use a clinic. Why was she there?
The simple answer is that in 1969 there were no PC computers in homes and doctors’ offices, and there was no appointment setting software. The girl’s mother had marked the right date on her calendar, but in the mother’s mind the desk calendar showed a date different from the one that she had actually marked down. Therefore, the girl had missed her appointment, one scheduled for two days prior to the day that the girl and her parents appeared at the clinic.
Now the above story illustrates why physicians need to give thought to use a tool that could avoid such mix-ups, a tool such as the appointment setting programs. With such programs available, a doctor can use the Internet to e-mail patients reminders about appointments. Such reminders help patients to remember appointments, and they do not require the time of the office workers. In addition these appointment-setting features have the potential to assist with the detection of last-minute changes in a patient’s schedule–especially changes related to a medical condition.
For example, back in January of 1982 on gentleman had an appointment with a neurologist at UCLA, a physician who had had the man’s pregnant wife as a patient. That man ad to miss his appointment, because his wife went into labor that very morning. He spent the day coaching his wife through her labor pains.
With the right input into the appointment setting program such mix-ups could be avoided. Then patients would not need to explain to one doctor how an emergency visit to a second doctor had led to the missing of an appointed visit.
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