Even though the patient-doctor communication methods have advanced, the phone still remains the primary means to contact when patients require immediate assistance. A phone allows you to have a two-way personal conversation that makes it possible to obtain urgent information.
With each phone call, you are able to come closer to your patients and provide assistance as required. It is also a great source to attract new customers by providing meaningful information and answering all queries. However, doctors often struggle to maintain service quality on the phone, especially on busy days. This where reliable answering services come in!
In this article, we will discuss some real-life situations faced by healthcare providers that can be handled by a professional answering service to deliver a consistently high-quality experience to your patients.
Shortage of trained staff
Did you know by 2025, there will be a need to hire as many as 2.3 million healthcare workers to meet the growing volume of patients?
The healthcare industry is struggling at the moment due to understaffing, both medical and non-medical. Due to this reason, more and more healthcare businesses are acknowledging the importance of outsourcing their administrative duties to medical answering service providers.
You can now outsource several tasks and duties outside your medical facilities to HIPAA compliant service providers who can help you free up your resources to handle more specialized duties. Answering phone calls is one of them.
When you hire an affordable and expert answering service provider, you will be able to release the burden of your staff and mitigate the impact of workforce shortage, be it temporarily or on a permanent basis. When your in-house employees are on sick leaves or vacations, none of your calls will go unanswered and there will always be someone to answer the phone line in a professional manner. All the patient queries will be handled with the utmost professionalism and forwarded to the right medical expert if required.
Alleviate the pressures of call overflow
Hospitals and clinics have to deal with not just patient walk-ins but also large phone call volumes. On average, mid-sized healthcare providers receive more than 50 inbound calls in a day. These numbers can swell and get significantly bigger during busy periods.
Having said that, it can be difficult and even impossible for your staff to handle large call volumes along with other duties they have to manage during the day. However, failing to handle these calls can have irrevocable implications for your business. At the same time, you cannot even put your patients on hold for a long time. According to research, hold times are the biggest source of annoyance for over 60% of patients who call in to ask simple questions but have to deal with long wait times. The last thing your practice wants is to upset your customers.
The call overflow is a common issue that is easily resolved with the help of answering services. When you integrate your business with their services, your patient calls automatically get routed to their call center and gets answered immediately. These phone lines are processed by live agents who use customized scripts to interact with your patients. With an answering service on your side, you will never miss an important patient call and rest assured that all their concerns will be handled professionally as well as within the stipulated time.
Small practices cannot afford to hire full-time staff that works on a rotational basis just to pick up phones. However, they can benefit from a medical answering service provider who can provide patient services even outside the normal business hours.
But this solution has some problems of its own. Not all answering services follow a call transfer protocol. More often than not, they will forward all calls to the doctor on duty. However, not all physicians want to be disturbed during their private time, unless it is absolutely urgent. But when you work with the best doctor answering services, they ensure that only important calls are forwarded to doctors, and matters that do not require immediate assistance are handled by the call center representatives.
Another solution is to integrate automated clinical communication system that records patients’ queries and forward them to the concerned clinician on call. While this communication platform is robust and effective at handling after-hour patient communication, it does not address the issue of patients calling after hours for trivial matters. Besides, due to a lack of human interaction in this method, the platform is prone to errors that can lead to customer confusion and frustration.
So, when you hire a medical answering service, you can get the best of both worlds. With their live agents, your patients get greeted by trained staff who decide whether the issue is urgent enough to be forwarded to an on-call physician.
It doesn’t matter if you own a large hospital or run a small practice, the doctors answering service can take care of all your call answering service needs in any situation.