Clinics might not see the same number of phone calls as traditional medical offices, but they still could benefit from having a medical answering service. Patients who rely on clinics for routine medical care often have situations that can be handled over the phone. Medical answering services have become more than just people answering calls when the office cannot, and there are several reasons why clinics should use them.
What Does a Medical Answering Service Do?
Medical answering services provide secure phone-line management. They follow the rules of HIPAA, so accurate records are taken, and patient information is secure. They sound like an in-house receptionist. They can do several tasks for clinics, including:
- 24/7 live answering
- Appointment setting and reminders
- Message taking and call recording
- After-hours answering
- Overflow answering
Handling Routine Medical Needs
Many patients rely on clinics for routine needs that could be handled over the phone. If patients know they can receive prompt care over the phone, they will use the medical answering service instead of spending time sitting in a crowded waiting room. With a medical answering service, patients can talk to a real person rather than maneuvering through a complicated phone system, only to be asked to leave a message.
Patient Satisfaction Increases
When patients can talk to a real person, they are much more likely satisfied with the service they receive. People are busy, and playing phone tag with a doctor’s office can be frustrating. Patients often call during their breaks at work or when it is quiet at their homes. If they can only leave a message and wait for a return call, they may not be able to talk when the office calls them back. Crying babies or busy times at work make it challenging to conduct phone calls with anyone, especially with clinics.
Clinics that rely on reception to manage the front desk and phone calls can end up with frustrated patients put on hold for extended periods. With a medical answering service, time on hold is drastically reduced. Calls can be screened and managed with an answering service, so patients are never on hold too long. With a medical answering service, on-site receptionists can spend more time dealing with the patients in the office rather than maneuvering through phone calls.
Clinics tend not to be major money-making endeavors so, saving money in any way helps the bottom line. Using a medical answering service can help clinics save money. When a patient calls, the answering service can manage calls. This can free up nurses and other important staff members to work with the patients who are in the office.
Using a medical answering service means that the office does not need a dedicated receptionist. This reduces employee expenses because the answering service pays those costs instead. Medical answering services are fully trained on legal obligations like HIPAA, so they help medical offices save money on all issues relating to it.
Managing Care During Emergencies
There are times when emergencies get in the way of doing business. Having a medical answering service can help you keep your clinic in action when emergencies strike. For example, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, only essential employees were asked to come to work. This meant that some clinics told their receptionist to stay home. But with an off-site medical answering service, patient calls could still be answered. Healthcare providers could then return calls and take care of problems via the telehealth system.
Maintaining Accurate Records
When you work with your on-site receptionist, calls can go unrecorded. Clinic receptionists often have several tasks to do in a clinic, like scheduling, calling in prescriptions, taking care of insurance issues, and managing the front desk. With so many duties, errors happen. When a medical answering service handles your calls, that’s all they do. Therefore, they can keep accurate records of who called and when they called. Each call has a time-stamp, and many services record the entire call. This makes it easier for healthcare providers to hear their patients’ needs and deal with them accurately, too.
Never Miss a Call
With a medical answering service, your clinic will never miss a call. If the receptionist is busy or away from the desk, the answering service can take care of the calls. When you never miss a call, your patients are happier because they can receive the care they need in a timely fashion.
There are several reasons why clinics would benefit from using a medical answering service. Affordable services improve many aspects of running a clinic and taking care of patients. If your clinic does not use one, it might be time to analyze how it will help improve patient care and your bottom line.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!