Did you know that the top complaint that medical professionals hear from their customers involves those who work at the front desk? Patients may report problems getting a worker on the phone and miscommunication with staff.
Unfortunately, these issues can push away patients from the practice. They also overwhelm doctors and staff who already have enough to do helping patients inside the office.
Considering answering services that can help customers on the phone around the clock can do much to improve a practice. Here are seven benefits that make getting a medical answering service well worth it.
1. Reduced Costs for Doctors
When doctors choose a medical call center to handle after-hours calls from patients, they can save much more money than they spend on the services. This especially applies when a doctor has multiple locations that would otherwise need staff.
Without an answering service, the doctor would need to hire new employees or require overtime to take such calls. This gets costly since they’re likely paid hourly.
But with an after-hours answering service, the chosen provider will simply charge the doctor per minute of call time. This can lead to considerable cost savings.
2. Less Frustration for Patients
Many patients work during traditional doctor’s office hours. This means getting in touch can become frustrating in both non-emergency and emergency situations.
Of course, doctor’s offices usually have an emergency number to call. However, that wouldn’t help if a customer just wanted to schedule an appointment or check on test results.
A good after-hours answering service will allow a customer to immediately speak to a representative. They’ll offer direct support and connect to the doctor in an emergency. Patients will also be able to book appointments, ask questions, or leave a message for the next day’s staff.
Since they won’t have issues getting help, patients become less frustrated. This can keep them coming to the doctor and recommending the office to others.
3. Better Reputation for Doctors
With social media sites, it’s easier than ever for patients to complain about their doctors. Even if you provide excellent care, patients still might feel unhappy about unavailable staff or long wait times.
Having an answering service helps a doctor’s reputation since it ensures patient support all day and night. Doctors will worry less about frustrated patients and benefit from a better reputation as a result.
4. Convenience for Patients and Doctors
Medical answering services clearly offer convenience for patients. They no longer will need to rush to try to make a call to the doctor during their working hours. Instead, they can use the after-hours system whether they have an emergency or not.
But at the same time, doctors benefit from convenience since they have less of a burden on themselves and their staff. Particularly, these services can differentiate between emergencies and non-emergencies.
As a result, doctors can expect fewer after-hours calls personally from patients. This means fewer interruptions to a doctor’s personal time.
5. Improved Relationships Between Patients and Doctors
Problems with communication can do too much to hurt the patient-doctor relationship. While a patient may trust a doctor who listens to them and provides quality care, problems with getting help after their visit can ruin this.
Using answering services for after-hours issues gives patients peace of mind and can keep the relationship strong. After all, patients will know they’ll always be cared for by the doctor’s practice if something happens.
When doctors choose a high-quality provider, the answerer will show patients empathy and work with them to resolve their problems as quickly as possible. This will help prevent misunderstandings and frustration that can damage the patient-doctor relationship.
6. Higher Productivity for Doctors
The cost savings that doctors can reap for their practices directly relates to some productivity benefits as well. For example, doctors will no longer need to schedule workers to take after-hours calls. As a result, front desk workers become more productive during the busiest times.
Patients may even start using the service for things like appointment scheduling and refill requests. This will help front office workers to have less of a high workload.
A doctor can choose an answering service that can offer patient education. This boosts productivity since it can avoid an extra in-person visit.
For example, patients might have questions about a new medication or therapy. Rather than booking a visit, they can call the after-hours answering service for help and save the doctor some time.
7. Security Benefits for Doctors and Patients
Helping customers with after-hours concerns comes with some legal and privacy issues to consider. Consider a doctor who tries to handle such calls on their own or has regular receptionists do it. This can be easy to overlook legal requirements and privacy rules like HIPAA.
Luckily, you can find after-hours answering services that have the best security and are dedicating to following privacy laws in the healthcare industry. Such services will verify callers to ensure they only have access to the appropriate medical information. You can also rest assured that the calls get monitored so you can add the information to your records.
Answering services also offer a safeguard in case something happens to your phone systems. Whether there’s a power outage or technical failure, your patients will have access to a secure communication too for help.
Start Researching More About Answering Services
Once you’ve decided that answering services for the healthcare industry seem right for you, it’s time to do more research. Not only do you need to consider your office’s specific needs, but you need to choose a reputable service that abides by HIPAA rules.
When exploring after-hours medical answering services, make sure they guarantee security and privacy. For the most flexibility, it helps to find a service that can integrate with your medical records system. You’ll also need to decide on important features and compare pricing options.
Now you know all about the benefits of using medical answering services. So, go check out our other posts to learn more about running a more efficient practice.