Alert Solutions Blog

Start Reducing Patient No-Show Rates - 4 Ways to Get Started

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Feb 04, 2016 @ 11:02 AM

Regardless of how organized and efficient your medical office staff may be, patient no-shows are a constant reality facing medical practices.  In fact, it’s said that many patients simply forget they had an appointment in the first place.

What’s the biggest problem here?  Patient no-shows cost money! 

For primary care doctors, an average of $100.00 is lost per missed appointment.  Specialty providers are even higher at an average of $200.00.

Consider the following four factors when thinking of a patient attendance plan:

1. Schedule Management

According to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), scheduling accurately can help to avoid long wait times for patients.  After all, if you want patients to respect your time, you need to start by respecting theirs.

2. Patient Managementappointmentreminderchair.png

Define your expectations of patient no-shows very clearly.  For example, have you implemented a no-show and cancellation policy?  Is there a no-show fee?  Be sure that all of this information is documented appropriately for your patients.

3. Practice Management/Reporting

Your practice management software can also aid in reducing patient no-shows.  Some tools make it easier to track which patients are chronically late or don’t show, so more careful attention can be provided before an appointment.

4. Appointment Reminders

Appointment reminders are crucial to reducing patient no-shows.  In fact, according to a University of Rochester study, patients were nearly 40% more likely to miss their appointment if they did not receive an appointment reminder.  Here are some best practice tips:

  • Offer multiple communication methods for reminders
  • Send appointment reminder messages well enough in advance
  • Allow patients to connect-back to the office to reschedule, if needed

To see how Alert Solutions can help your practice alleviate patient no-shows, download our Automated Appointment Reminder Worksheet today!

Reducing Patient No-Show Rates This Practice is Experiencing REAL RESULTS!

Topics: appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication

School Bullying Incidents Decline Thanks to ESSA Guidelines, Study Says

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Feb 02, 2016 @ 11:02 AM

For years staff members at Alert Solutions have blogged about bullying and cyberbullying in K-12 schools.

We have shared bullying prevention strategies, provided information on anti-bullying legislation, and showcased what some schools and districts across the country are doing to help combat this growing issue. This post is no different.

According to a Relationship Education (RE) study conducted by Healthy Relationships California , new education legislation called the Every Student Succeeds Act offers a good opportunity for schools to see reduced bullying and violence in relationships thanks to the new guidelines.StudentsCollaborating-1.jpg

RE subjects include: characteristics of healthy versus unhealthy relationships, empathic listening, effective confrontation, problem solving skills and conflict management.

The study exposed 7,000 students across California to RE and helped to quantify the benefits of RE for adolescents across all of their relationships, including friends, parents, siblings and romantic partners.

Here are some of the results:

  • 82% of students felt more confidence in their ability to handle day-to-day relationships.
  • 78% of students reported being more respectful and cognizant of others feelings.
  • 82% said they felt less inclined to use negative behavior when dealing with conflict.

The report also said this kind of relationship education is in line with the goals and expectations of ESSA, indicating that more schools should be taking advantage of RE to help reduce bullying incidents. Read more about ESSA here.

For bullying prevention tips and tricks, download our best practice guide.

Create an Anti-Bullying Strategy Download our Guide!

Topics: bullying, cyberbullying, school announcement, school safety, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs

3 Steps Toward Better List Segmentation

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 @ 11:01 AM

List segmentation is the process of separating your list into specific groups for the purpose of more marketing relevance.  The options can be limitless: geographic region, industry type, company size, number of previous interactions, and more!

It’s crucial to achieving maximum ROI – your relevant content has to be delivered to the right person at the right time.  The following three steps can get you on your way to better list segmentation:

Step 1: Capture the Data You Need

So many organizations are limited in their list segmentation abilities because they don’t possess the data they need.  Ask yourself, “How do I want to segment my marketing lists?”  Without this foresight, you won’t be able to capture the correct information for audience targeting.

Step 2: Establish Worthwhile List Segmentsaudsegementation.png

The purpose of list segmentation is not to send each subscriber their own personalized message.  There’s not enough time in a day!  Rather, establish list segments that are large enough to be worthwhile and act upon.  List segments should also be distinctly different than one another and be relatable to the products and services you’re promoting.

Step 3: Define the Best Way to Communicate

You may not be able to communicate with your entire audience in the same way.  Defining this information increases the chance that recipients will receive and be receptive to your message.  Communication preferences should be respected and adhered to; certain laws apply!

We have more list segmentation ideas available to you.  Download Our Targeted Marketing Guide Today!


Topics: list segmentation, audience targeting, marketing relevance, list segmentation best practices, marketing lists

More K-12 Schools Turning Snow Days into Virtual Learning Days

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 @ 11:01 AM

Every winter, k-12 schools and school districts across the country are forced to close for snow days. And every winter, schools debate whether or not those snow days of would be best used as virtual learning days.

According to Education Drive, more and more k-12 school districts are experimenting with learning at home. For example, one Ohio school district passed a measure that e-learning days will be implemented if any more than 5 school days are missed due to severe weather.

Many say there is a lack of data to support the effectiveness of e-learning days. However, Education Dive says plenty of data exists to prove they are worth the planning that goes into implementing them.

For example, in 2006, one study found that students in Singapore had successful outcomes after devoting a week annually to virtual learning.

In 2009, a report from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning found that students taking all or part of their class online generally performed better than those taking the same course traditionally (face-to-face instruction).SnowDayBus.jpg

There are many benefits to using virtual learning for school administrators, teachers and students, including:

  • Administrators Avoid Adding Makeup Days  to School Calendars
  • Teachers Can Continue with Lesson Plans as Scheduled
  • Students Ask Questions More Freely in Online Settings

Unfortunately virtual learning days won’t be possible for all k-12 school districts. In schools with a large number of low-income families, e-learning days could not be possible for students without home Internet access.

More innovative k-12 school districts have worked to help set up hotspots for students without access, but there are still many schools that struggle nationwide to do so.

Does your school have e-learning days? Share your experiences on our blog!

Weather Monitor Feature Learn More Here

Topics: school announcement, mobile learning, educational technology, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs

4 Impactful New Year’s Resolutions for Property Managers

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 @ 11:01 AM

The start of a New Year is a great time for property managers to reflect on the previous year and start fresh:Tenantcommunicationtips.png

  • What were the biggest challenges?
  • Where could improvements be made?

Although each property is different, there’s common ground that all property managers can relate to.

Here are a few New Year’s resolutions sure to make an impact at your property in 2016:

1. Communicate More EffectivelyProperty managers that focus on effective tenant communication enjoy higher tenant satisfaction and tenant retention levels.  A few ways to do this are to listen actively, encourage feedback and communicate in tenants’ preferred communication channels.

2. Become More Environmentally FriendlyDid you know that property managers who “go green” gain more considerate tenants?  It starts with reducing paper, ink and postage – communicate electronically with tenants and ensure each message is received.  If not already, convert to more energy-saving devices, too, such as low-flow bathroom fixtures, LED lighting and wireless programmable thermostats.

3. Use Technology to Retain More TenantsIt’s said that updated technology helps to retain tenants.  One example is digital communication.  From tenant satisfaction surveys to inclement weather notifications, property managers can use email, voice and SMS text messaging to communicate with tenants where ever they are.

4. Invest in Curb AppealRegardless of how nice your apartments or office space is on the interior, overgrown shrubs and peeling paint outside is a poor first impression for prospective tenants.  Spend money this year improving your property’s curb appeal and see how it helps to attract new tenants.

A great article from lists even more common New Year’s resolutions for property managers.

Alert Solutions’ tenant communication system for property managers can help you in many resolution categories. For more tips and tricks, download our best practice guide today!

Download Now!

Topics: property management, tenant retention, tenant communication, tenant satisfaction

4 Ways K-12 School Teachers Can Encourage Parent Engagement

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 @ 11:01 AM

Research shows that students are more likely to succeed academically and are less likely to engage in violent behavior if their parents are engaged in their education.

Because of the positive correlation found between parent involvement and student achievement, educators are trying to increase both the number of parents involved and the level of their participation. 

As a teacher, you have direct access to both the student and the parent. Help foster parent engagement by following these simple steps:

1. Share Positive News, Too.

It’s important to be proactive with all communication, but make sure it’s not always negative information you’re sharing.  Maybe send a brief email or a quick phone call to a parent letting them know when their student had a great week. It’s a great way to build trust and increase parent involvement.

2. Have Open Teacher-Parent Communication….It’s Vital!teacherparents-2.jpg

We live in a 24/7 world where parents expect teachers to communicate quicker than ever before. If there is an issue with a student’s academic performance, teachers should let parents know at the first sign of trouble. This can prevent the issue from becoming a major problem that could impact student graduation rates.

3. Offer to Make a Teacher Home Visit.

This may be extreme in some cases, but can also be extremely effective. According to the Home Visit Project, parent/teacher home visits help increase student attendance rates, increase student test scores and decrease suspension rates.

4. Connect Using Multiple Communication Channels.

Some teachers send out a weekly wrap-up phone call, and other send a document home attached to an email.  Connecting with parent using multiple communication channels is a great idea. Why? An NSPRA survey asked parents to share their preferred method of school communication. The top 3 answers: email, voice calls and an online parent portal.

Use them all to keep parents engaged and informed! Remember, studies show students with engaged parents are more likely to attend school regularly, earn high grades and have better social skills.

For more best practice tips and tricks, download our Parent Engagement Strategy Guide!

Improving Parent Engagement

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, parent engagement, parent communication

New Year, New Meaningful Use Updates for Healthcare Professionals

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Jan 14, 2016 @ 11:01 AM

In October of 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced changes to HITECH’s Meaningful Use program. 

This was a result of feedback from the healthcare industry. Referred to as the Final Rule, these new changes will continue throughout 2017.MeaningfulUse.png

Below is a highlight of the changes, if you haven’t already seen them:

1. 90-day Reporting Period – Regardless of the Stage you were previously in, all healthcare providers will attest for a 90-day reporting period in 2015 according to the Final Rule. This is a shortened reporting time frame.

2. All Providers are Now in Stage 2 of Meaningful UseThe CMS has eliminated Meaningful Use Stage 1 in order to simplify the program and group healthcare providers into the same Stage. However, if you were in Stage 1 for 2015 you will be considered “Modified Stage 2” in 2016.

3. Patient Engagement Threshold ReductionsDue to complications, thresholds for viewing PHI (patient health information) electronically have been lowered from 5% to “at least 1%” of patients. There is also no longer a threshold for secure messaging but rather the capability be set and in place.

Unchanged: Sending reminders using patient-preferred communication channels for preventative and follow-up care. See how Alert Solutions helps.

4. Data-Entry Measures Have Been SimplifiedFewer measures are required for reporting. 

Save the Dates!  Medicare-eligible professional and hospital attestations for the 2015 program year opened on January 4, 2016 and will be accepted until February 29, 2016.

Want to read about the rest of the Meaningful Use updates?  This website has a very good summary.

For more compliance resources; download our Medical Practice Compliance Guide!


Topics: compliance, Medical

Popular Students Most Effective in Reducing School Bullying, Research Says

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Jan 12, 2016 @ 11:01 AM

K-12 schools and districts around the world often turn to teachers and administrators to implement bullying prevention strategies.

However, new research from Princeton University, Rutgers University and Yale University suggest increasing student engagement and getting students to take a stand against bullying is even more beneficial!

Using a survey measurement known as social network mapping, the researchers were able to identify students with the most connections to other students, both in person and online. stopbullying-resized-600.jpg

Researchers followed 56 New Jersey middle schools that armed their most influential students with social media training and bullying awareness gear (wrist bands, etc.).

These students were asked to launch an anti-bullying campaign throughout the school year. One program included them posting pictures on Instagram using the hashtag #iRespect.

What did they find? A 30% reduction in student conflict reports! Because each conflict can take up to an hour to resolve, this reduction is equivalent to hundreds of saved hours.

In other words, many students looked up to these influential peers, making them more receptive to their actions when it came to taking a stance against bullying.

Peers influencing peers is a widely accepted concept used for a variety of issues. Does your school utilize this tactic? Share your thoughts with us!

Topics: bullying, cyberbullying, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education

Email Marketing to the Millennial: Tips and Tricks

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Jan 07, 2016 @ 11:01 AM

Here’s some good news for email marketers to start off the New Year: email is the most-preferred channel by millennials when communicating with organizations. 

Often thought to prefer mobile and social, millennials born between the early 1980’s and the early 2000’s actually use email more consistently.

Consider the data shown on Marketing Land; 90% of millennials use the web to send and receive email.  Also, the vast majority of respondents preferred communicating customer service matters, order tracking or other inquiries by email than other means, according to a Principal Financial Group study.

If you want to re-focus your email marketing efforts towards millennials this year, the following tips could help you out:Emailmillenial.png

Tip 1: Incentivize with Special Offers and Promotions

According to Marketing Land, millennials respond particularly well to special offers and exclusive discounts in email marketing campaigns.

Tip 2: Make Sure Emails are Mobile-Friendly

Don’t confuse the two, email is definitely different than mobile marketing.  However, don’t forget that a high number of your email marketing campaigns will be read from mobile devices.  Ensure they are mobile friendly to all screen sizes.

Tip 3: Personalize to Increase Relevance

If your email content is personalized and relatable, it becomes more relevant to the recipient.  Millennials are accustomed to personalization; make sure it extends to your emails.

Tip 4: Integrate Emails with Other Channels

Increase the chances for a conversion by cross-channeling email with another method, such as mobile or social media.

Read more of Alert Solutions’ tips and tricks to email marketing: download our Best Practice Guide today!

Download Now!

Topics: audience targeting, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Purchasing a New K-12 School Notification System in 2016? Read This First.

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Jan 05, 2016 @ 11:01 AM

A fight erupts in the high school gym. A storm knocks out electricity, forcing a middle school to cancel classes unexpectedly. Or in more extreme cases, a suspicious individual is reported lurking around school grounds.emergencypreparedness-resized-600.png

Unfortunately, history shows emergencies in k-12 schools can happen at any time. They require immediate action by school administrators to protect students and staff all while keeping parents updated. Every second counts.

Technology can play an important role in these situations. A k-12 school notification system, when incorporated into a comprehensive emergency preparedness strategy, helps connect school administrators to parents instantly.

With so many vendors to choose from, it’s an intimidating task to know where to begin your search. If you’re looking to purchase a k-12 school notification system in 2016, make sure you ask these 8 important questions:

  1. Does your system require hardware or software?
  2. How long does it take to activate the system?
  3. Can you have multiple contact lists?
  4. Does your notification system integrate with our Student Information System?
  5. Does it support multiple forms of communication?
  6. Can different administrators have different user permissions?
  7. How reliable is your network?
  8. How much does your school notification system cost?

For Alert Solutions’ answers to these questions, click here.

To learn more about our K-12 School Notification Systems, check out our website.

Download Alert Solutions'  Emergency Preparedness Guide

Topics: multi-channel messaging, school notifications, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, parent communication

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