I thought time was tight when I had a bun in the oven, but that was nothing compared to now. Time-management takes on a whole new meaning, and things like scheduling appointments for myself has become either a thing of the past, or a thing of complete stress. I thought I was grateful for patient reminders before, but now, it’s not that I’m grateful, per se, it’s that I’m entirely at the mercy of the system. If you’ve ever wondered how to not only keep up the Joneses, but how to be first, and what you can do to help your organization insure that hours are billed, exam rooms are filled, beds are occupied and tests are run, this is what you need to do: implement an automated patient phone reminder system. With a job to hold, a child to care for, a spouse to converse with and a dinner to cook (theoretically), I, the patient, need the following: I need my cell phone to ring two days prior to the appointment with a reminder. I need the call to come in the late afternoon, and I need it to tell me the date and time of my slot. And if I don’t answer, I need it to leave a message on my voicemail. No, a card, a letter or a phone call from a secretary will not suffice. I have no time or room for human error. I, like you, am busy. And as much as I truly do respect healthcare providers (my own in particular), don’t expect me to show up for an appointment unless your automated system calls my cell phone (that is, unless you want to stop by and help with the 3 a.m. feedings). Sorry, but I’m just being honest.