Why & When Should Doctors Use An Answering Service?
Any type of doctor knows that phone calls can be a lifeline for patients in distress. For this reason, each and every medical practice must be efficient at answering calls, any time of the day or night. However, this is a tall order considering that medical practices are notoriously busy, regardless of whether it’s a solo practitioner or a large hospital.
Hiring more in-house receptionists to help with call overflow and paying staff members to rotate being on-call after hours are costly and rarely sustainable solutions. Hiring an in-house receptionist requires paying a salary and benefits, plus paid time off. Relying on staff members to be on-call for after-hours calls, including weekends and holidays, quickly results in burnout.
For a fraction of the cost of an in-house receptionist, you can hire a medical answering service that will also free your doctors and staff members from having to be on call. Medical answering services provide the customer service for patients for the least amount of money.
All calls are answered promptly, no matter the time of day or night, and callers aren’t even usually aware that they’re speaking with someone at an answering service. Call representatives answer with the name of the medical practice, and are trained to distinguish which calls are urgent and which are not, based on the doctor’s guidelines.
If the call is urgent, the call representative directs it to the on-call nurse or doctor. If it’s not urgent, the caller’s question is answered courteously and professionally, or a message is taken and forwarded to the practice so that staff members can follow up.
When Do Doctors Use Answering Services?
Doctors and medical practices choose exactly when they want to use a medical answering service. Many choose to outsource all their calls to the live answering service, so that they know all calls will be answered promptly, regardless of the time of day or night.
Other doctors have answering services pick up their overflow calls. For example, if a patient calls while all the in-house receptionists are on other calls, their call will be picked up by the answering service receptionist after the third ring.
Additionally, many doctors opt for the answering service to answer after hours as well as picking up overflow calls. This ensures that all calls are answered promptly and that patients aren’t put on hold for long periods of time or sent to voicemail.
Medical answering service call representatives are rigorously trained on HIPAA regulations and should be required to pass a HIPAA exam each year. This is critical to ensure that medical practice guidelines are always met and that patients’ health information is securely protected at all times.
In addition, Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. offers a secure communication app that lets doctors or team members text patient information without putting patient PHI at risk. Doctors can send secure messages to other team members in their practice, and can also attach their dictation right on that message. The message can then be downloaded into the patient’s electronic chart.
The secure message is sent to the provider from the app, and Voice Link is notified when the provider has read the message. If the doctor does not read the message in an agreed upon timeframe, an answering service receptionist will call the doctor to deliver the message.
Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. was created specifically for doctors and physicians nearly 30 years ago. Our founder, JoAnn Fussell, has a medical background and knew all too well how desperately doctors needed a quality live answering service when she started Voice Link.
Voice link offers nearly 30 of experience in medical answering services and provides live answering services that exceed your expectations. Day or night, outsourcing your practice’s calls will ensure that your patients are attended to with compassionate attention, 24/7, 365 days a year. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.