What Is an Answering Service for a Doctor’s Office?

Having an answering service for a doctor’s office offers many essential benefits for a practice or healthcare facility. Consider the cost-effective solutions that they can offer to help keep patients happy, reduce staff frustration, and increase your fulfilment with your career choice.

Patient Satisfaction and Retention

Your patients have a choice in who they select as a healthcare provider. They feel more empowered now than ever before. This means they’re more likely to leave you for someone else if they feel they received a delayed response or unsatisfactory communication.

Though these negative interactions can happen in your office and during office hours, they’re much more likely to occur after hours. What happens when your patients need help and your office is closed?

Don’t subject them to an answering machine or instruct them to go to the emergency room if they can’t wait for your office to reopen. Do this and you’ll lose patients. Hire a doctors answering service to provide them with the personal, timely response they expect and deserve.

Patient Acquisition

Though many prospective patients will phone you when your office is open, not all will. If they call when you’re closed, they have a good reason for doing so. Perhaps they couldn’t reach their primary doctor. Or the response they received left them disillusioned.

They want a solution, and they wanted now. They’re calling your office number in the desperate hope that you’ll be able to provide them what their soon-to-be former healthcare provider couldn’t.

The second benefit of having of having a medical office answering service is to facilitate new-patient acquisition.

After Hours Emergency Screening

Yet an on call after hours answering service isn’t just for your current patients and future patients, it’s also for your staff. Especially your on-call personnel.

Your medical office answering service can screen calls, relaying only the true emergencies to your designated on-call. For the non-urgent calls, they can take messages for your office to call back when you reopen. And the information they gather from your patients will help your office staff triage the call backs to best meet patient needs and batch them to achieve the greatest efficiency.

Imagine taking your turn being on call and only getting real emergencies, of not being bothered with routine matters that your staff can handle the next day. Envision how this will improve your family interactions and personal time. This is the third thing that an answering service for a doctor’s office can do for you.

Office Hours Support and Backup

A final consideration of an answering service for a doctor’s office is they do more than just address your after-hours phone calls. They can also help during the day too.

They can back up your staff by answering phone calls when your office gets more hectic than usual. And they can support your staff by taking phone calls during times of staff shortages or scheduling dilemmas.

This includes helping cover during vacations, sick days, and personal days off.

Though your medical answering service can’t do everything your office staff can do, your service can take phone calls, freeing your staff to attend to the other issues happening right in your office.

Additional Benefits to Consider

Apart from the core functionalities, medical answering services offer additional features that could be beneficial for your practice. Some services offer multilingual support, ensuring that language barriers do not impede quality healthcare. This is particularly important in regions with diverse linguistic communities.

Analytics and Reporting
In the data-driven age, knowledge is not just power—it’s also a pathway to improvement. Medical answering services often offer analytics and reporting features, allowing you to track call volumes, response times, and patient feedback. This data can help you identify areas for improvement and assess the effectiveness of your current strategies.

Legal Compliance and Confidentiality
Healthcare providers are bound by strict laws regarding patient confidentiality and data protection. A reputable medical answering service will comply with regulations like HIPAA to ensure that patient data is secure. This not only protects your patients but also reduces the legal risks for your practice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: How do I know if a medical answering service is HIPAA compliant?
Answer: A reputable medical answering service will explicitly state their compliance with HIPAA and other relevant laws. You should ask for evidence of compliance during your initial discussions.

Q2: Can a medical answering service handle appointment scheduling?
Answer: Yes, many medical answering services offer appointment scheduling as an additional feature. They can schedule, cancel, or reschedule appointments based on your availability, freeing up your staff for other tasks.

Q3: Is it costly to implement a medical answering service?
Answer: The cost can vary based on the features you require, but considering the efficiency and patient satisfaction it brings, many healthcare providers find it to be cost-effective. Some services even offer flexible pricing models to fit different budget constraints.

Summary

When you hire an answering service for a medical practice provider, they can handle your phone calls to improve patient satisfaction and retention, enhance patient acquisition, provide after-hours emergency screening, and deliver office hours support and backup.

With all these benefits, the smart and cost-effective move is to hire an answering service for your doctor’s office or clinic.

To realize these key outcomes, sign up today or call 800-450-9045 to discover how we can provide you with an affordable and effective medical answering service to serve you, your staff, and your patients and callers.