3 Ways a Phone Call Can Make or Break Your Medical Practice

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The receptionist answering your phones serves as the first impression of your practice, but how often is he or she distracted by other calls, in-office patients, or other staff members? If your office is like most medical practices, the answer is all too often. That’s why Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. supports many medical providers who understand the importance of trusting a dedicated live answering service to handle all incoming calls professionally and promptly—because how each call is or isn’t handled can either build or break your practice.

1. Long hold times erode trust.

Research has shown that if callers are directed to voice mail or put on hold for more than 30 seconds, more than a third of them will hang up and not call back. This is particularly true when patients are calling a doctor’s office. Even though they understand that a medical practice is likely to be busy, they also want to know that their health and well-being is a priority. If your staff is too busy to answer phone calls in a timely manner, patients intuitively assume that office visits and even emergencies will also involve delays.

Phone calls are the first line of your public relations reputation. How each call is handled is an opportunity to instill comfort and trust in the caller, not frustration and distrust. With a live healthcare answering service, patients are greeted by professional agents who answer the phone with the name of their doctor’s practice. All calls are answered promptly, no matter the time of day or night.

2. Calls are mishandled or directed to the wrong person.

No doubt you’ve heard horror stories about a patient in distress who called a doctor’s office but didn’t receive a call back for an hour or more or was transferred to the wrong doctor. It goes without saying that time is of the essence when it comes to most medical issues, but if you don’t have a plan in place for calls to be handled thoroughly, correctly, and quickly your practice—not to mention your patients—will suffer. The best live answering service will maintain complete information for on-call schedules and your practice’s priorities for coverage of urgent and non-emergency calls.

3. Patients’ information isn’t secure.

Be sure to choose a call center whose agents are trained and certified to be HIPAA compliant. Not all call centers require this of their agents, but your patients and your practice deserve the protection. When operators are rigorously trained on HIPAA regulations and are required to pass the HIPAA exam each year, your medical practice guidelines will be met, and your patients’ health information will be protected at all times. A top answering service will also know the importance of logging and will record all calls and responses accurately so that you know who called, when, and exactly how the call was handled.

Voice Link offers a secure communication app that lets care providers text patient information without putting patient PHI at risk. Providers can send secure messages to other providers within their group, and can also attach their dictation right on that message. The message can then be downloaded directly to the patient’s electronic chart. Putting your patients’ PHI at risk is a liability you cannot be willing to risk.

Day or night, outsourcing your practice’s calls will ensure that your patients are attended to with care and compassion, 24/7, 365 days a year. Voice link offers 26 years of experience in medical answering services and provides live answering services that exceed your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.

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