Automation in the Practice: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Automation is great, right? Of course – when utilized correctly. Unfortunately, many practices fall into the trap of wanting to automate everything in the hopes of streamlining processes and easing the load for staff. But that only works if automation captured 100% of your patients…but it doesn’t.

We need to take a look at the true role automation plays in the practice and how it can most effectively help in increasing efficiencies and bring revenue opportunities back into the practice.

State of the Nation – Then & Now

To start, let’s get an idea of what the average practice is dealing with in terms of patients. We took a snapshot of 2500 practices and compared their numbers before COVID vs now. Here is what we found:

Unscheduled Patients

Pre-Covid: 52% unscheduled (1,888,004)
Now: 58% (2,588,658)

Missed & Cancelled Patients

Pre-Covid: 7% (283, 809)
Now: 18% (828,689)

Due/Late Patients

Pre-Covid: 33% (1,205,497)
Now: 38% (1,713,075)

So, what’s the reality of the situation? Recall may not be the highest priority but over 300,000 have fallen off their recall schedule due to Covid. Just to give you an idea – those 300,000 patients who have fallen off recall in these 2500 practices…well that adds up to $64M in missed opportunity as a result of Covid. Think of the cost of re-engaging vs. new patients – re-engaging is the most cost effective, and there are tools to help with that, including automation.

Simply put, we haven’t bounced back from the effects that the pandemic has brought the past couple years. Many practices may think they are up to date because they are swamped and booked out for 6 months, but the data shows we are still playing catch up, especially when attrition rates have gone up from 9% to 13.4%.

Let’s Talk Automation

Those stats and trends we just talked about are contributing to what’s currently going on in offices. The rise in unscheduled, missed & cancelled, and due/late patients can cause overwhelm. This makes keeping a steady schedule much harder – and then throw in the stress of staff shortages and you can see where the front desk can get overwhelmed.

So, what can be done to navigate this? Invest in the right tools that will help your front office staff. Gone are the days of manually running everything out of the practice management system. There are better ways. Automating processes, both external and internal, will help ease the load of everything your front office is having to do, and we all know that will help the practice run better overall.

Let’s look at external processes and workflows first. These include:

    • Automating confirmations
    • Automating recall
    • Digital forms
    • Reviews
    • Newsletters
    • And more

Many of these external pieces, especially the patient messaging, can be automated and help you reach your patients easier, while also freeing up time for your front office to do other things. That’s the great thing about automation – it takes those manual things out of the equation. BUT, there is a side to automation that needs to be monitored. These external automated processes can’t be the only thing you do, or else patients will fall through the cracks, and you’ll miss opportunities to bring revenue back into the practice.

What do we mean by that? Let’s look at the concept of Reach vs. Response. Many systems and tools only measure reach – you’ve probably heard it before… “we reach all your patients through our automated recall” or “we hit all your patients with our automated confirmations.” But this simply isn’t true…if it was, the next time your team pulled a recall report they wouldn’t see anything. Just relying on the automation to do all the work will cause you to lose patients.

We looked at 30 million messages sent out in 2021 and this is what we found:

  • 60% response rate to automated confirmations
  • 7% response rate to automated recall

This is why monitoring the response is so important. What is happening to those patients who don’t respond to the automated processes you have in place? Many are getting lost.

Internal Processes & Workflows

While automating many of these processes greatly benefit practices, it isn’t the full solution. Your internal workflows and processes need to compliment your automated workflows. If those two aren’t in concert with each other, the practice is flying blind not knowing who’s responding.

There needs to be a system in place to help monitor the response rates and then give staff members the tools to easily go after those patients. That’s where RecallMax™ comes in – we do the thinking for you by monitoring these response rates and organizing these patients into lists from hot to cold to maximize the efficiency and productivity of the staff. It also helps offset staff shortages because anyone can use it and it keeps consistency across the practice.

Why RecallMax™

Going back to what has been discussed, automating external workflows and processes in the practice is important, but it can’t be the only tool in the tool chest. If it is, you’re missing out on thousands of dollars of missed opportunity. At RecallMax™, we compliment the automation processes and help pick up where it stops.

We aren’t just another messaging platform – we combine the best pieces of automation in patient engagement and recall management and build upon it by giving the insight and tools to go after growth opportunities in the practice. We are the reach AND the response for your practice.

To get a demo of how we build upon your automation
and effectively increase practice efficiencies and
bring revenue opportunities back through the door,
email, or book your demo at

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