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Benefiting From Nature

Nature

Nature, the great outdoors, it’s all around us. While it often goes unnoticed or neglected, it is still there. What’s interesting is that nature, this essential part of our planet, can provide many benefits to our health but we often forget because we have become distracted by our routines and our busy lives. As a society, we have become inclined to spend much of our time with technology. Of course, that is the price we pay for innovation; however, some of us have lost sight of the importance of spending time outdoors. Spending time in nature can actually improve your health in several ways. Just an occasional walk through the trees can benefit you. Here are four ways that spending time in nature can improve your well-being.

1. Lowers Stress

There have been multiple studies on the benefits of spending more time in nature and they all agree that a main benefit is stress reduction. Studies have found that people who spend more time in nature have lower cortisol levels, the hormone response to stress. There can be many stressors in our everyday lives and these stressors can create an unpleasant environment. An article by the University of Minnesota states that, “The stress of an unpleasant environment can cause you to feel anxious, or sad, or helpless. This in turn elevates your blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension and suppresses your immune system. A pleasing environment reverses that.” Nature is a restorative environment to retreat to when life becomes stressful.

2. Improves Mental Health

Spending time in nature has been known to alleviate anxiety and depression. In a study by Stanford University they saw that participants who walked for 90 minutes in nature showed a decrease in activity in a part of the brain that is associated with depression. They have also found that people who live in the city are 20% more likely to develop an anxiety disorder. I know that I personally feel more at peace when I spend time in nature because there is a lack of noise or disruption and all of my concerns feel far away. Nature has a way of reducing worry and silencing negative thoughts.

3. Inspires Creativity 

I have always found this to be true in my own experience. After going for a hike, I always feel like my creative energy has been replenished and I feel inspired. A study conducted by Ruth Ann Atchley, a professor of cognitive and clinical psychology at the University of Kansas, found that a group of backpackers that had being hiking for four days were 50% more creative than usual. She explains that the stimulations of modern life “sap our resources” so when we spend time in nature we can rest our minds and we end up having resources left over that can be channeled into creative outlets.

 4. Improves Physical Health

In general, maintaining a certain level of physical activity is good for your health, but with all of the additional benefits you receive from nature you might as well get in the habit of taking walks in the great outdoors. In fact, several studies suggest that exposure to plants and trees boosts your immunity. Some scientists believe that the phytoncides that plants emit for their own protection also benefit human’s immune function. Additionally, moderate exposure to sunlight every day helps your body produce more vitamin D. Vitamin D is known to help maintain bone health but can also help alleviate the symptoms of depression. So, spending time outdoors is good for your body as well as your mind.

 I know that I am often distracted by the demands of everyday life myself, but it seems odd and even neglectful not to embrace the simple practice of spending more time outdoors and enjoy the benefits that come from just being there. Just this past weekend I decided to take a hike on the beautiful Mount Lemmon here in Tucson, and even though it is reaching peak temperatures, it was well worth it. While I was physically drained from my two-hour hike, I definitely felt mentally restored afterwards. Getting away from it all isn’t just a saying, it’s a necessity. Spending just a little more time in a natural setting is a simple lifestyle change that could vastly improve your health. So put on your walking shoes, go somewhere off the beaten path, and get to know nature a little better.

 

Additional Sources: https://daringtolivefully.com/spend-more-time-in-nature, http://www.businessinsider.com/scientific-benefits-of-nature-outdoors-2016-4

 

The Patient Experience

The patient experience is ever-changing in the healthcare world. Advances in technology, paired with the rising costs of healthcare, are changing the expectations of what patient care should be. The patient experience has been defined by the Beryl Institute as, “The sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.” In layman’s terms, the patient experience is influenced by the interactions they have with the people and the environment during the entire healthcare process from the moment they make an appointment to the resolution of their medical concerns, and their impressions of those interactions. According to an article from Healthcare IT News, Christine Holt of Holy Redeemer Health System links these changes in patients’ expectations of care to the changes in the way we pay for healthcare these days. Due to higher premiums and deductibles, people pay more out of pocket for healthcare, which in turn, raises their expectations of the care they receive for their money. This makes people more likely to look for the best patient experience for the cost. Personally I think this new emphasis on the patient experience is a welcome improvement.

Often it seems that every visit to the doctor is all about efficiency and getting through as many appointments as possible throughout the day. There is nothing wrong with efficiency but when it is at the expense of a patient getting the care they need then it becomes a problem. I can tell you from personal experience that there have been several times where I felt more like a car going in for a diagnostic than a person needing medical attention. Doctors seem all too preoccupied with fitting as many patients in as possible that they sometimes seem to forget we are people. This can often lead to a larger issue because they do not take the time to listen to all of the factors before making a diagnosis, or sometimes they will automatically push for what they think is best instead of asking the patient what it is they want. I understand doctors are busy, but when they take the time to listen to their patients concerns or get to know them beyond why they came in that day, it can not only lead to a better understanding of the patient, but also help them feel more comfortable and increase their likelihood of returning to that same doctor again. Holt also stated that, “the entire patient experience paradigm must include an emotional connection that produces loyalty.” When doctors spend time getting to know their patients, the more likely patients are to remain with that doctor.

Another contributor to the patient experience is the environment they are in. For instance, if patients are made to wait a long time before their appointment begins, then they are more likely to feel irritable; or if the office staff is inattentive, then patients will not feel very welcome or comfortable. This is where technology can be a helpful aid in improving patient care. Automated reminders for one, while sometimes viewed as impersonal, can actually help improve the patient experience. By giving patients reminders and updates about their appointments they are more likely to show up on time. When patients aren’t calling in to try and find out what time their appointment is, or attempting to cancel or reschedule it, the staff has more time to make sure the office is running efficiently. This means shorter processing times, shorter wait times, and patients that are arriving for their appointments are able to get more dedicated attention from the office staff. These changes can drastically improve the patient experience and automatically improve a patient’s demeanor, making them feel more comfortable and less irritable.

Overall, it is clear that the key to a better patient experience in is within the word healthcare itself, “care.” By showing more genuine care and concern, doctors will be providing a better healthcare experience for their patients. Patients want to feel taken care of by their doctors and not simply “fixed” when they go in for a health concern. Creating an experience unique to every patient will help create that personal connection that fosters loyalty and will keep them coming back.

Patientexperience

To the Unsung Heroes. The Caregivers.

This one goes out to those that care for others. The unsung heroes. The caregivers.

There are two types of caregivers, formal and informal. Formal caregivers are paid healthcare professionals, whereas informal caregivers are individuals that provide care to someone, usually a loved one or family member with no financial gain.

Most caregivers are the latter, family caregivers that offer time and attention to loved ones. According to a report by AARP in 2015, the majority of caregivers, a whopping 85%, are a relative of the person they are caring for. These people are not paid. While the movies may have us believe that they’re only doing it for the inheritance, soon to grow to discover themselves and love someone they didn’t before, it’s a much less romanticized version of that in truth. These individuals work backbreaking and tireless hours spending their own energy and oftentimes finances to help someone important to them. They take time out of their daily lives to care for their loved ones, often sacrificing their own needs to do so, and receive no monetary compensation.

It is no easy task either. For those family members that need complex and chronic care, 46% of family caregivers perform medical tasks, in addition to the cooking, cleaning, laundry and other tasks they handle. It can also be a time consuming commitment, spending 21 or more hours caring for others per week. That leaves little to no time for one’s self, especially if that family caregiver also has another job. In 2013 the value of unpaid healthcare exceeded the value of paid home care and Medicaid spending combined. This difficult and often thankless job is often more burden than reward.

Then there are the formal and paid caregivers. While this position has grown more in recent years, it is no less difficult or burdensome. These people may be more skilled or specialized in the medical tasks performed for patients, and unfortunately are often treated with less appreciation than they might hope for.

Those that are in the situation of needing care often are resentful and not at all thankful for the help. It’s not personal of course, it’s hard to be sick or an invalid. That word “invalid” is how many chronic care patients feel. Not valid. It’s hard to be nice to your nurse, spouse, cousin or friends while resenting and being angry at your own body. Only the few who deal well with difficult situations are highlighted by the media or movies, while in reality, there are many more that are not dealing well at all.

You can go into any hospital and talk to any nurse and they will tell you stories that make your hair stand on end about the way they have been treated by patients. Caregivers from all walks of life can tell you similar stories. Not all moments are good and not all are bad.

That is why today we recognize caregivers. From those that have the perfect patients with genuine rapport, to those that have patients that don’t know their names and are all but ignored as they perform their duties—know you are appreciated.

 

Caregiversday

Let Us Get to Know You

Gettoknowyourcustomers3

We often get caught up in our day to day routines so much that we do not stop to think about those around us. This can also be true of businesses as well. It is easy to be distracted by all of the aspects of running a business and sometimes your relationships with the people you serve can be neglected. Well, today is national Get to Know Your Customers Day and we want to take this opportunity to get to know you better. Whether you are an existing customer, a prospective customer, or just someone who is interested in what we do here at Inphonite we would love to hear your thoughts.

If you are an existing customer tell us how you like our product, tell us what you use it for or what your favorite feature is. Feel free to tell us what we are excelling at or what we can improve on, or even tell us who your favorite Inphonite Team Member is. We would love to get your feedback. If you are a prospective customer, then go ahead and ask us about our different products! We are happy to take the time to answer your questions and help you find what will work best for your needs.

At Inphonite we want to get to know you and make sure you feel taken care of. Please send us an email on our contact us page, comment on our Facebook page, or give us a tweet on Twitter. We would love to hear from you!

The 12 Days of InphoniteVoice

Christmas

DAY 1

On my 1st day with Inphonite, my staff said to me, “We were trained and it's integrated completely.”

We make set up a snap by setting automatic or manual integration to smoothly send your messages. Then we take time to personally train each and every customer until they are satisfied and confident working with Inphonite and InphoniteVoice.

At Inphonite, we take a personal approach with you and help you do the same with your patients.

DAY 2

On my 2nd day with Inphonite, my receptionist said to me, “I am so happy not to be calling!”

InphoniteVoice is a call reminder system; integrating with your scheduling software and making calls and sending messages for you is its job.  This makes things much easier for you and your staff, saving time and reducing stress. Calling patients manually can be very time consuming and, having to make several calls before the end of the day can be especially stressful for your staff at this time of year.

InphoniteVoice takes away the responsibility of calling all of your patients manually, and with automatic follow-up, is proven to reduce no shows!

DAY 3

On my 3rd day with Inphonite, my doctor said to me, “I am saving so much money!”

Inphonite offers a low cost automated calling solution, saving money in many ways, from reducing no shows to lowering staffing and overtime costs. Manual calling takes up a lot of time, sometimes more than 10 minutes per call, and because there are so many factors in manual calling, it is next to impossible to map out the amount of time it will take an employee to complete all the reminders. Because of this, messaging left until the end of the day may not be finished or could cost you overtime pay. Both of these circumstances can cost you money.

InphoniteVoice automates the reminders saving you money.

DAY 4

On the 4th day with Inphonite, my tech staff said to me, “Getting support is so easy.”

Inphonite offers excellent, and same day support for most products. Whether you need more training or simply want to tweak a message, or even add features, our friendly staff is here to help with it all. You want to change the call dates for a holiday call? They can make that change easy. Our support team wants to help you.

To enter a support case, click here.

DAY 5

On my 5th day with Inphonite, my patient said to me, “Thank you for reminding me.”

Patients also benefit from the reminders you send. Balancing work, kids, school and many other activities is hard and it can be difficult to remember all of our varied appointments. Business cards with dates and times are easily lost among the receipts, gum and other items floating around purses or cars. With a reminder, either by a phone call or text, we can help give a gentle nudge to remind people to not only show up, but show up prepared.

InphoniteVoice will remind busy people of upcoming appointments.

DAY 6

On my 6th day with Inphonite, my doctor said to me, “I’m reducing no shows dramatically!”

When a patient doesn’t show up, it can affect your whole schedule and it can also affect your revenue. Automated messaging systems are beneficial not only with reminders, but also rescheduling those that cancel. Knowing in advance if a patient can’t make it allows you to fill that available time slot so you are not missing out on revenue.

Inphonite gives you a reason to charge for no shows. With comprehensive detailed reports proving reminders were attempted, a no show is no excuse.  

DAY 7

On my 7th day with Inphonite, my doctor said to me, “All my old patients are coming back to me!”

A lot of times, especially in a bigger and busier practice, it can be difficult to remember who has not been in in a while. Most EHR systems allow you to pull a report of those that have not been in lately and with that report InphoniteVoice can handle the marketing to keep in touch. If that person wants to schedule an appointment right away, they can simply be transferred to a live Operator at your practice.  

Stay on their mind and they may come see you sooner rather than later. 

DAY 8

On my 8th day with Inphonite, my doctor said to me, “I used Intelligent Text Routing.”

Intelligent text routing is a great feature InphoniteVoice offers. When filling out paperwork, people often put their cell phone as their home number. How do you know which is a landline or which is a true cellular phone? InphoniteVoice makes this problem non-existent with Intelligent Text Routing.

Let them fill in any kind of phone number in that phone field, we’ll figure it out and send the correct message type.  

DAY 9

On my 9th day with Inphonite, my staff said to me, “We get free professional recordings.”

With an Elite support contract, Inphonite includes professional recordings for all of your automated calls. Of course there is always the option of text-to-speech, however, most patients prefer their calls to have a more personal feel to them. With every recording, one of our staff will guide you through your script to make sure you have the most effective message.

Choose from Male or Female voice, or if you require languages other than English, let us know.

DAY 10

On my 10th day with Inphonite, my doctor said to me, “Now I have secure text messaging.”

With InphoniteSecure you can feel safe in the knowledge that no Protected Health information will be compromised in your text messaging. InphoniteSecure is the safest way to protect your patients, and yourself from someone other than the intended recipient seeing a private text message.

With private patient access to InphoniteSecure messages, you never have to worry.

DAY 11

On my 11th day with Inphonite, my patient said to me, “That TextCard you sent was so pretty.”

Want something a little more eye-catching than a simple text or phone call? Use Inphonite TextCards. We will include your logo or photo, your name and address and the important appointment details personalized for each person.

Use these gorgeous reminders for appointments, recalls, marketing, and more!

DAY 12

On the 12th day with Inphonite, my staff said to me, “We can set up custom reporting.”

We recommend you review your Report Results regularly. Find out whether a message was sent or viewed, confirmed or cancelled. Inphonite Reports will tell you if it was an invalid phone number, a fax number and more. These results are essential to automated messaging.

Customers use these reports to update records or reschedule as needed.