Clients suffer from hit-or-miss appointment reminders

Every week the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not reflect the opinions of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff. This week the editorial board is Viewpoints editors Gabrielle Wilkosz and Eleanor Fishbourne.

Whether it’s the pediatrician, the dentist or a counselling service, offices in healthcare routinely call or email clients to ensure client-office communication. These calls or emails, which can occur weeks or days before the appointment, allow clients to remember their commitments or communicate last-minute cancellations.

St. Edward’s Health and Counseling Center (HCC) does send out these automated reminders, but only an hour before the appointment is scheduled to occur. Due to this short notice many students miss their appointments. Ramifications of these missed appointments include wasted valuable time slots of physicians and counselors and students incurring a $25 fee for a service that is supposed to be free.

This said, we believe it is in the best interest of students, counselors, and the HCC office administrative staff to contact students at least a day or two before health or counselling center appointments. This is not to “baby” students, but rather to emulate the way appointments work off-campus in the “real world.” If a student has double booked themselves or is somewhere off campus an hour before their appointment it can be very difficult to make it to the HCC office in time.

Also, through the HCC instituting a new pro-communication policy, they can better run their system, allowing counselors and physicians to spend time with students instead of twiddling their thumbs due to miscommunication. Some students aren’t getting these emails at all, thus completely forgetting about the appointment all together.

By calling or e-mailing students a week or even 48 hours ahead of time, the misplanning and miscommunication of less organized students will not affect others. For instance, if a phone call is made to student X alerting her that she has an appointment on Thursday which was scheduled a month prior, student X now has a helpful incentive to answer the phone or shoot back an email to cancel the appointment, thus allowing someone else in need to take student X’s spot.

With the continued neglect of communication between HCC and students, everyone is affected. And while in an ideal world every student would take it upon themselves to reach out to the HCC first, even offices in the real world recognize this is an unrealistic expectation.

There is no doubt that the HCC staff should take the easy step of setting up an automated system to email and/or call students in good time to remind them of their appointments. Thus, students can avoid a $25 fee and administrative staff working at HCC won’t have the stress of several missed appointments in a row.

It is no secret HCC is booked with students eager to receive St. Edward’s valuable resources. This in mind, HCC should most certainly take the needs of its staff and clients seriously by increasing communication between both parties.