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Reduce No-shows, Fill the Schedule, and Improve Patient Experience
Episode 667

Michele Perry, CEO at Relatient

Reduce No-shows, Fill the Schedule, and Improve Patient Experience

In this episode, we are privileged to feature Michele Perry, CEO at Relatient, SAAS-based, patient-centered engagement company that utilizes a modern and mobile-first approach to improve patient and provider communication.

Michele talks about how Relatient helps organizations automate messages to improve compliance and increase outcomes. She discusses the importance of leveraging technology to make everything easy for patients. 

Michele also shares how her company is helping with the COVID-19 vaccinations. We also cover challenges, things she’s excited about today, and more. 

If you’re looking for ways to improve patient experience in your facility, this interview is for you. Please tune in and enjoy!

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Reduce No-shows, Fill the Schedule, and Improve Patient Experience

Episode 667

About Michele Perry

Michele is the CEO of Relatient. She’s also a Healthcare IT, Technology Strategist, Boart Advisor, and an expert on sales and marketing, software and technology, branding, marketing automation, and cybersecurity. 

Before Relatient, she was a Board Director for Unanet and ThreatConnect Inc. Michele has almost 30 years of experience in software and health technology.

She completed her undergraduate degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and her MBA from Harvard Business School.

Reduce No-shows, Fill the Schedule, and Improve Patient Experience with Michele Perry, CEO at Relatient transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Reduce No-shows, Fill the Schedule, and Improve Patient Experience with Michele Perry, CEO at Relatient was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2021. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Saul Marquez:
Hey, everyone Saul Marquez here. Have you launched your podcast already and discovered what a pain it could be to keep up with editing, production, show notes, transcripts, and operations? What if you could turn over the keys to your podcast busywork while you do the fun stuff like expanding your network and taking the industry stage? Let us edit your first episode for free so you can experience the freedom. Visit smooth podcasting.com to learn more. That’s smoothpodcasting.com to learn more.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket, Saul Marquez here. Today, I have the privilege of having Michele Perry on the podcast. She is the CEO of Relatient, a SAAS-based, patient-centered engagement company that utilizes a modern and mobile-first approach to improve patient and provider communication. Michele Perry has almost 30 years of experience in software and health technology, an undergraduate degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and her MBA from Harvard Business School. Just the important topic around how we communicate to patients effectively and how do we do that at scale. It’s going to be a great topic, and Michele is super excited to have you join us today.

Michele Perry:
Thanks for having me. Excited to be here.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely. And so before we dive into the awesome way you guys engage patients at Relatient, talk to us a little bit more about you, Michele. What inspires your work in health care?

Michele Perry:
The patients. You know, really, this truly has to be about the patients to have the easier way to access health care. This pandemic has shed light on the fact that health care truly is about the patients. And that’s why I joined a company named Relatient Relating to the Patient. I am focusing on the patient. How do we make it easier for the patient? Because anything related to health care is high. And so why don’t we make it easy?

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, and I think the nature of kind of how health care works, unfortunately, is that it’s complex. And the need for that expertise of simplifying and getting a message to the right person at the right time is critical. So, Michele, talk to us about how Relatient is adding value to the health care ecosystem.

Michele Perry:
Exactly what you just said. You stole my word, Saul. It’s all about getting the right message to the right person at the right time. And the industry has been a little too focused on patient portals and just dumping information there and figuring out the patient would find the information. And it’s just not working. You know, we need to make it easier both for the practices and health systems to make it easy for their patients to access health care. And we need to do it in a way that patients are used to communicating today. And we all carry this phone. You know, there are a few people in the country, maybe not for the most part. People have a phone in their pants pocket or in the hand or something all day. So how can we make it very easy using that mobile device to get them just that information and not a data dump? Just get the right information at the right time.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. And so there’s a flow, you know, there’s a step by step process that we go through when we get care. There’s scheduling. There’s actually going to see the clinician, you know, where you wait. I guess there’s a lot of waiting and cars now with the pandemic reminders, et cetera. So there’s a lot of touchpoints that potentially we could miss. And so talk to us a little bit about what you feel makes relation special and different than what’s out there today.

Michele Perry:
Yeah, unfortunately, health care has so many rules and regulations, starting with HIPAA that introduces some of this technology to be patient-facing can be really daunting. And then you add all the communication was such CCPOA and this really seems way too risky to really move forward in health care. So that’s where many practices just put it. In portals, that’s enough. But the adoption and usage of portals are just really low. So what we focused on is making it just easy to get the critical information at that point in time, whether it’s about an appointment to make sure that you know and confirm it. And we have best practices where we combine phone, email, taps, and chat messages over the course of five, three, one day to get the best response rate and to get people, if they can’t make it, you know, cancel and reschedule and get them back on the calendar and that you can get waitlists to fill the spots that they left and moving all of that. So really combining all these with one platform that can make this really productive for the practice, which makes it productive for the practice, can make it easy for their patients totally.

Saul Marquez:
There’s a lot of moving pieces. There’s scheduling, there’s the billing, there’s you know, and if you have an empty seat, what does that do to the rev cycle of the practice? And so you’re saying that the platform you guys offer gives those benefits to the actual practice, while also have it has an outward-facing patient engagement, I guess, a platform that could be used to engage with them?

Michele Perry:
Exactly, exactly. And it’s exciting because by taking this kind of platform, you can make improvements for the practice and the business in so many ways. So you can start with the very basic like no-shows. When I first came here, I was, you know, fascinated with how many patients didn’t show for appointments. And it was really it was lots of times it was an oversight. They forgot about the appointment. People are busy and so we make sure that that doesn’t happen by this again, best practices. So by reducing the no shows, really allows us to keep providing a schedule for. The other thing that’s kind of exciting now is with telehealth, you know, I might not have been able to call someone in the morning, but someone else cancels and try to get them on the schedule because they’re at work already. I might be able to get somebody to jump on and take a telehealth appointment and still fill that appointment now. So that’s a really awesome outcome through telehealth this year. We see what we can close gaps and care for offices within that, you know, pediatric offices ensuring that children getting in for all their vaccinations on time. You know, a very busy young mother really wants to get her kid in, but all of a sudden the appointment has to get changed. And I miss the vaccination because my kid was sick. Keep them on their schedules with a primary care physician using the system to ensure that their diabetic patients are getting their regular agency testing and coaching and things like that, but just makes those communications schedules and easy on both sides. In addition, we’re seeing a lot around paying medical bills online. Unfortunately, too much of the health care costs are getting pushed down to the patients these days. So paid payment plans and things like that, so big out of pocket deductibles. And no one’s ever worried. They’ve always worried about how do we get paid by the insurance company. And they really haven’t worried about how they get paid by the patient. So make it easy for the patient to pay with checks to pay bills, makes it easy to get in front of them, or to set up payment plans online. All of that, again, makes it easy for the patient, makes it good for the practice. So it allows them to decrease the time to pay and decrease their accounts receivable at both practices and medical billing companies. We’re seeing some outcomes around attracting new patients because if you get help scheduling, if someone’s looking for a new doctor, they find it online, they will make an appointment.

Michele Perry:
Then they don’t care that your office closed at four o’clock. They got off work. They give even an appointment so we can book flights at night. We can check our balance. We can do all these things at convenience, like why have we not been able to do a lot of this for health care? So adding those kinds of things and reducing phone tag, you know, there are so many of the reasons people call doctors offices really quick questions such as do I need to fast before this appointment? You know, is there pocking easy parking? Is it handicapped, accessible parking right near your office? things like that. And they get on hold and they build up this queue. They get a voicemail playing phone tag versus if you could have you know, if you can easily do the patient chat from the front desk with these questions and answer them, just it just makes everything a lot easier. So I could go on and on with all of the various things that make it easier for the patient in business improvements. But suffice it to say that if you reduce the overhead with all these administrative tasks, you have more time and resources for your critical, clinical issues.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. Yeah, well said, Michele. And, you know, I just kept thinking about, you know, a recent bill that we got from the doctor and what a pain it was to actually get to where we could pay for it. And I mean, it’s just if you give somebody a delightful experience of, hey, just here’s a text, click on it, pay for it. And that was easy. Thanks. And then, hey, by the way, schedule an appointment and it was easy and you could do it at midnight because you just happen to have time then. Wow, that becomes something that you talk to your friends about because they’re going to tell you, hey, you know, they’re terrible experiences. You’d be like, well, actually, mine was really great.

Michele Perry:
It was easy. How do we make it easy?

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, you mentioned it to right. I mean, we’re so used to it. We’ve got Amazon, we’ve got online banking. I can’t remember the last time I went to the bank to deposit a check. I just take pictures of them.

Michele Perry:
When was the last time you had to call the bank and be put on hold?

Saul Marquez:
Like. Yeah, so yeah. And this is what we’re talking about here, folks, is how do we bring this consumer-friendly approach to patients Relatient is doing just that. And so talk to us a little bit about a setback, Michele. Obviously, the work that you do, there’s a lot of behind the scenes things that happen to make simplicity possible. Talk to us about a setback and what you guys learned from that.

Michele Perry:
Wow. You know, COVID was a huge setback for us early this year. So all of our customers are in a panic. You know, overnight they had they were shutting their practices or reducing their hours. They were having to pivot to telehealth because that was one of the only things. So they were throwing up telehealth. So all of a sudden, instead of telling you to go to the 133C for your appointment, they need to tell you to go to the zoom link a different telehealth platform to communicate with their patients and sometimes with less than perfect information. We had one oncology practice. Typically, we change their messaging to their patients. You know, maybe once a quarter they would update something and they changed it 19 times in 30 days as they went from, you know, you could bring two guess the limited to two guests fear and confusion. You’re limited to one. No, you can’t have anyone know. No, you have to have a mask. No one not even going to do the infusions this week. You know, it just was really traumatic for both our patients and our practices as they navigated those really early unknown days and we had to navigate it with them. So we were responding quickly. We had all hands on deck, pulled over to help in the support group. A lot of our implementations got put on hold because you didn’t want to role out new things in the middle of COVID. So we’re really just supporting existing customers as they tried to navigate and figure out what they were going to do. What was the best way to not only communicate to the patients, but this was the one time that you know, more was better.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, it’s been a challenge. And, you know, I can’t even believe that you know, it’s been almost a full year and I feel like we’re starting to turn the corner. Michele, and with turning that corner, there are vaccinations. There’s a lot that goes there. And I’m sure the work that you guys do ties into it quite nicely.

Michele Perry:
Exactly. You know, we’ve had to be so flexible in our business this year. And, you know, these front line responders thank them so, so much for everything they’ve been doing out there on the front lines. We’ve just been here to support them as they support patients. You know, again, we had to quickly pivot and come out with a virtual waiting room product. You mentioned as practices opened up that people were sitting out in their cars and how to manage the fact when you had 40 people out in cars and making sure they weren’t getting lost out there in the parking lot and who was here and who wasn’t here and ready for appointments and things like that, it’s not like you just looked like around the waiting room. Oh, my gosh. The system that’s been sitting here for over an hour. So really managing that whole process and the contact with patient intake systems, those were already really gaining popularity because they’re so productive for the office that this would become even more important as people moved to patient intake, limiting the patient touch during this time. So that was really important.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, you guys are doing some great things and, you know, providers are awesome at caring for people. And when it comes to being able to figure things out, it’s great to have partners like you and your team, Michele, at Relatient to do it better and to scale faster. What are you most excited about today?

Michele Perry:
Today I’m most excited with the work that we’re doing to help with the COVID-19 vaccination. You know, you’re getting that out there. So we were right on the front lines. Our clients very much found out like overnight. Yeah, we’re going to have vaccinations, we’re going to have vaccines, and we need to start delivering them next week. And they were scrambling. How are they going to communicate and so some of the things we’ve done with flu vaccines and communicating that with the team. But it was even more important now because when these vaccinations get kind of like — because of the whole temperature and you can’t waste I mean, you never want to waste vaccine. But even more important now, because so we’ve really been excited to be on the front lines helping folks like Commonwealth Health in Kentucky, the Warren Clinic in Oklahoma, and DC Health System in Alabama that started giving vaccinations the very first week. You know, I was mentioning to somebody and they like I didn’t think they were even vaccines yet. And I’m like, we’ve got people going live Monday. So, you know, it was right., you know, real-time getting this all done so they can make sure that their patients knew what to do and where to be and that you didn’t have any no shows on these vaccines and that you can trust them because, again, you get these are two-stage vaccines. It’s very important that the people come back for the second one, too, or it won’t be as effective. So that whole process of being part of that and working with our clients and their patients has been really exciting for us and the team there.

Saul Marquez:
That’s awesome. So what’s the protocol there? It’s two stages. How much time between each?

Michele Perry:
Yeah. So it really depends on the different factors.

Saul Marquez:
Ok, so there’s a vaccine that not to put you on the spot, but I am curious, one of them and I’m sure a lot of listeners are too. So one of them has like a 60 to 90 day period, then followed by a second, and then another one is just a single one?

Michele Perry:
The other one is a single one, the Moderna one.

Saul Marquez:
Gotcha, gotcha. Cool. Very interesting.

Michele Perry:
Just going through that’s just getting approved right now.

Saul Marquez:
But the one that’s available to your point. Right. I mean, you want this thing to be effective. We can’t lose track of the people and it really does fall. I mean, the ownership of that second vaccination needs to be owned by the patient, but also needs to be owned by the provider right? And so how do we do that? And it sounds like you guys have really nice ways to communicate, remind, and make sure that while not being a nuisance, you remind people how important it is to take that second one.

Michele Perry:
Multimodality phone, email, text, and chat and making sure all of those being used at the right time to make sure we get that patient back and all of it.

Saul Marquez:
Well, this has been really interesting. And thank you for that, that until there’s a fascinating to know about the vaccines. Before we conclude, Michele, I love it if you could just leave us with the closing thought, and then the best place for the listeners could learn more about Relatient and the work that you guys do.

Michele Perry:
Yeah. So, again, all of us in health care can do better and patients deserve better. And I hate to say we can do better during this year because health care and our providers have done absolutely amazing things on the front lines. But there’s the silver lining in the pandemic in health care. It knocked down a lot of barriers to getting things done. Health care. I mean, look at telehealth. You know, people had been wanting to introduce that for years and years. And the pandemic literally overnight opened the door and the horses out of the barn. That’s not going back. And people have seen the incredible opportunity to know why should someone have to drive all the way to a doctor’s office to get a prescription refilled? And why can’t they get on quick telehealth and have the doctors have that conversation with the doctor and get the prescription refilled, pushed out to them through the secure texting and things like that? So a lot of barriers been knocked down this year. And this is good for the patient. It’s also good business for the providers and their staff. So like I like to say, health care is high, but we don’t need to make it harder. So let’s really let’s focus on how do we make the things we can control easier for the patient.

Saul Marquez:
Well said. Well said, Michele. And where the best place folks can reach out to you and the team they want if they’re interested in what you’re doing and collaborating with you?

Michele Perry:
Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, we’re at Relatients.com. Or they can call us at 866 473 8160 eight six six four seven three eight one six zero. They want to reach out to me personally on anything I’m at MPerry@Rlatients. net. And I can also be found on LinkedIn. MichelePerry@Relatient.

Saul Marquez:
Love it, Michele. This is great. And listeners, just as a reminder, will make sure to put all of those resources on how to get in touch inside of the show notes just go to OutcomesRocket.Health. The search bar there is amazing. It is so good. You’ll find it. Just type in Relatient, relate to the patient Relatient and you’ll be able to find it there. Michele, I can’t thank you enough for today’s episode. This has been so interesting and we’re certainly wishing you guys the best as you roll up our sleeves and help people out with this vaccine.

Michele Perry:
Thanks so much, Saul, for having us here and was very excited about the opportunities for 2021 for our patients and for our customers, providers and health care system. So thank you.

Saul Marquez:
Hey, Outcomes Rocket listeners, Saul Marquez here. I get what a phenomenal asset a podcast could be for your business and also how frustrating it is to navigate editing and production, monetization, and achieving the ROI you’re looking for. Technical busywork shouldn’t stop you from getting your genius into the world, though. You should be able to build your brand easily with a professional podcast that gets attention. A patched-up podcast could ruin your business. Let us do the technical busy work behind the scenes while you share your genius on the mic and take the industry stage. Visit smoothpodcasting.com to learn more. That’s smoothpodcasting.com to learn more.

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Things You’ll Learn

  • Focus on the patient. Health care is truly about patients. 
  • Anything related to health care is high, so why don’t we make it easy?
  • The adoption and usage of portals are really low. 
  • All of us in health care can do better and patients deserve better.

 

Resources

MichelePerry@Relatient

https://www2.relatient.net/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/micheleperry/