What does a doctor’s answering service do

Have you ever considered using a doctor’s answering service for your medical practice or healthcare clinic? It’s a common solution for practitioners who want to provide 24/7 accessibility to patients while still protecting their time away from the office, especially for family activities. In this post, we’ll explore common doctors’ answering service functions and how they could benefit your healthcare operation.

Core Function 1: Answering Phone Calls

As the name implies, the first of our doctor’s answering service functions is answering your practice’s telephone. Though this is an obvious application, it entails many variations. These services excel in both after-hours and during-office-hours call handling, providing the immediate response that technology solutions like voicemail cannot offer.

Core Function 2: Taking Messages for Routine Calls

The second of our doctor’s answering service functions is to take messages on routine phone calls. These calls are generally not time-critical but still require attention. Patients often call outside business hours, expecting to leave a message with a real person, which your staff can address the next business day.

Core Function 3: Assisting Patients with Urgent Needs

When patients have urgent healthcare needs, they expect prompt and professional assistance. An answering service can provide immediate, human interaction, which is far more effective and reassuring than voicemail or answering machines. This is the third of our doctor’s answering service functions.

Core Function 4: Contacting On-call Staff

The final key function of a doctor’s answering service is the ability to connect with your on-call staff based on established protocols. This ensures that true emergencies receive immediate attention, while less urgent matters can be directed appropriately.

Have you ever considered using a doctor’s answering service for your medical practice or healthcare clinic? It’s a common solution for practitioners who want to provide 24/7 accessibility to patients while still protecting their time away from the office, especially for family activities. In this post, we’ll explore common doctors answering service functions and how they could benefit your healthcare operation.

Additional Features and Tailored Solutions

As the name implies the first of our doctor’s answering service functions is answering your practice’s telephone. Though this is an obvious application, it entails many variations.

The most common use is to answer after-hours phone calls from patients. Though an answering machine or voicemail could accomplish the essential requirement of answering phone calls, these technology solutions fall far short in providing the response that patients seek.

Even worse is the unacceptable practice of not answering phone calls outside of regular business hours, assuming that patients will call back. They won’t. They’ll call someone else instead.

Answering services, however, can also answer your phone during office hours. This can occur during your lunch breaks, staff meetings, or times of low staffing when it’s a challenge to answer a ringing telephone. Your doctors answering service can also back up your staff when they’re busy handling more important tasks in the office.

Take Messages on Routine Calls

The second of our doctor’s answering service functions is to take messages on routine phone calls. These are inquiries that are not time-critical. It’s just that many patients forget to call when your office is open.

Instead, they’ll call when they think about it, which means they’re expecting your doctor’s answering service to be there to take a message. They’re not presuming that they’ll talk to you or even your staff when they call on evenings or weekends. But they do assume they’ll speak with a real person at your answering service who will take a message for them.

Then your staff can call back the next business day. This is in the best interest of everyone involved, but it won’t happen if you don’t have an answering service handling your after-hours calls.

Help Patients with Urgent Needs

Sometimes when patients call when your office is closed, they have an emergency. They have a healthcare concern that can’t wait until the next business day. They call, seeking solutions. They have an immediate need and expect you to handle it, but this doesn’t mean there expecting your personal involvement with their healthcare issue, merely that you have a mechanism in place to appropriately respond.

They’re expecting a real person—at your doctor’s answering service—to answer their call. And they’re hoping that they don’t have to deal with an aging answering machine or impersonal voicemail, neither of which possess the ability to provide the quick resolution they seek. This is the third of our doctor’s answering service functions.

Contact On-call Staff When Appropriate

The final of the four key doctor’s answering service functions is to reach your on-call staff when it’s appropriate. Though your answering service staff lacks medical training, they can follow your protocols to determine what constitutes an emergency and needs immediate attention versus what can wait.

Sometimes an intermediate solution is appropriate—again based on your direction—to refer them somewhere else, suggest approved over-the-counter remedies, or direct them to urgent care or the emergency department.

There are many other doctor’s answering service functions, which they can tailor to your specific requirements. But these four are the foundation on which everything else rests.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Doctor’s Answering Services

1. What are the hours of operation for a doctor’s answering service?

Most doctor’s answering services operate 24/7, including weekends and holidays, to provide round-the-clock care for patients. This ensures that whether it’s a routine query or an urgent medical situation, there is always someone available to answer the call and guide patients as per your practice’s protocols.

2. Can the answering service access patient records?

It varies from service to service and depending on your needs. Some advanced answering services integrate with your electronic health records (EHR) system to provide more personalized and efficient care. This, however, is done in compliance with HIPAA regulations to maintain patient confidentiality and data security.

3. How does a doctor’s answering service handle emergencies?

In case of an emergency, the answering service follows protocols that you have established in advance. Staff will promptly connect the patient to your on-call medical personnel or guide them to the nearest emergency room, depending on the nature of the emergency and your practice’s guidelines. The service acts as a critical bridge between patients and medical professionals when immediate attention is required.

 

Get In Touch for a Customized Answering Service

Contact us to learn more and discover how we can provide your medical practice or healthcare clinic with the professional telephone answering service that you need and your patients expect. Our doctor’s answering service is also bilingual, with Spanish-speaking agents always available.

Contact us to learn more and discover how we can provide your medical practice or healthcare clinic with the professional telephone answering service that you need and your patients expect. Our doctor’s answering service is also bilingual with Spanish-speaking agents always available.