In order for a medical office to run efficiently, there are a number of people who need to be doing their jobs to the best of their ability. Nurses, physicians and staff need to work together to create the best patient experience possible. Medical offices can be extremely hectic when patients are sick and need medical attention. Patients don't want to deal with the frustration of inefficient communication when they are dealing with difficult circumstances.
Many medical offices use medical answering services to help with their lines of communication. A medical answering service means that patients can get in touch with someone at any time of the day, no matter how many people are calling or how busy the office is. This is crucial for a doctor's office. Patients want to know that doctors, nurses and staff care about their needs, and simply having a live person answer the phone each and every time can make all of the difference. Here are five benefits of using a medical answering service:
When using an answering service for your medical office, it's important that any live answering service acting as a medical call center is HIPAA compliant. HIPAA provides protection at a federal level for Patient Health Information (PHI) that is held by an organization. It also recognizes that the health information of an individual often needs to be communicated through a third party.
Quality organizations that provide voice answering services to medical offices are HIPAA compliant. Medical answering service operators go through training on how to properly handle PHI to ensure compliance.
Reduce staffing costs
While having staff members internally to handle incoming calls may seem ideal, each staff member does require a very significant investment for the practice. Internal staff require training, sick time, PTO, insurance, IT support, and several other resources. Also, they aren't available 24/7. Hiring a professionally trained medical answering service means that there's someone available around the clock to answer phones and take messages. Additionally, these operators are already trained and in most cases won't require any additional training on your part. By having internal staff focus on higher priority activities on-site and outsourcing some or all phone answering to a quality partner, staffing costs can be more effectively managed.
Reduce no shows
Many medical answering services offer an appointment reminder service. This service improves the efficiency of your medical staff because they don't have to worry about calling to remind patients about their appointments. Reminders can be customized to fit the specific needs of a medical practice. For basic appointments, one reminder can be scheduled. For surgical procedure appointments, multiple call reminders can be scheduled leading up to the surgery date to ensure the patient is taking the appropriate steps in preparation for his or her procedure (i.e. taking proper meds, ensuring transportation to/from surgery, fasting, etc.). Since reminders are scheduled to occur through the answering service, you don't need to worry about whether or not a reminder call has been made. Finally, utilizing a live person to make reminder calls (instead of automated reminders) ensures the reminder is recieved by the correct person and any questions he or she has can be answered or relayed directly to the office to be addressed as appropriate.
Medical offices can get extremely busy at times. There are patients calling to schedule appointments and to check on the status of their prescriptions, all while people in their office are asking questions or trying to check in. Virtual receptionists from a medical answering service can screen calls and filter out wrong numbers and lower priority calls, so your internal staff can deal with the calls that are the most important.
Virtual receptionists are available to answer phone calls whenever your office needs them. If your office already has staff to answer phone calls, a medical answering service can handle the overflow calls when your receptionists receive an increase in call volume. Additionally, an answering service can answer calls after hours, on weekends and during holidays, extending the reach of a personalized quality patient experience.
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