Why Your Medical Practice Needs an Answering Service 

 The healthcare industry is changing—rapidly. And the rate of change is now faster than ever before. Yet some things stay the same. Attending to the healthcare needs of your patients remains at the forefront of what you do. On the back end is the need for a healthcare answering service. And that’s perhaps more true now than ever before.

Why is that?

Why does your medical practice need an answering service? Quite simply because your patients expect it. If you don’t have a medical office answering service covering your phones 24/7, your patients will view your operation as somehow less than as a result.

Consider these reasons why every practice needs a physicians answering service to handle their calls.

Protect You from Provider Burnout

Physicians answering services first started cropping up a century ago. Over the next 50 years their numbers grew and by then most every doctor had an answering service. It became the norm.

The initial appeal of the service was the ability for physicians to offer around-the-clock-accessibility to patients while minimizing the impact on them to be always available.

Though physician burnout wasn’t a frequently discussed term back then, the reality of its existence was known all too well. The always-available answering service was the first line of defense. And its value continues today more than ever.

Offer Better Work-Life Balance

Preventing healthcare provider burnout is the first step. Yet this doesn’t address quality of life. Beyond protecting against burnout is achieving a better work-life balance.

Each afterhours call that the trusty answering service takes is a call that the doctor doesn’t receive. Yes, they’ll need to get involved in some of those phone calls, but not all of them, not even most of them. Just those urgent situations that can’t wait for the office to reopen and aren’t appropriate for the emergency room. 

In short, your healthcare answering service is the first line of defense and the most cost-effective solution to move you toward a better work-life balance.

These first two reasons primarily address provider concerns, all the while including the patients’ best interest. The next two reasons are patient centric. 

Better Serve Patients

Nowadays patients will call your office whenever they think about it, whatever the need, and regardless of the time. And they expect you to answer. Not you personally and not even one of your staff, but a real person. A real person from your medical answering service is who they expect to talk to, so make sure you have them covering your phones around the clock.

Answering machines and voicemail won’t cut it anymore. Both are impersonal. Both fail to serve your patients and treat them with respect.

Answering machines are clunky and obsolete. They’re not what your patients expect.

And though a newer technology, people hate voicemail even more. It wastes their time. If they weren’t frustrated when they dialed your number, they certainly will be after listening to all those prompts and options that don’t seem to fit. And they’ll take out their frustration on the first person they talk to, as well as on you the first chance they get.

Stay Ahead of the Competition

In today’s competitive healthcare landscape, patients have more options than ever for medical care. Not having an answering service might just give your competitors the edge they need to win over your potential and existing patients. When you can offer a consistent and professional communication experience, you differentiate your practice in a crowded market. This can make all the difference when patients are deciding between multiple healthcare providers. An answering service can thus be a vital tool in your overall marketing and retention strategy, setting you apart as a more accessible and responsive healthcare provider.

Compliance and Confidentiality

Another crucial aspect to consider is compliance with regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). A professional medical answering service is trained in adhering to these critical healthcare privacy standards. By ensuring that patient data is handled with the utmost confidentiality, you not only meet legal requirements but also build trust with your patients. This can be a significant advantage over using generic answering services or automated systems that may not be fully compliant.

Data Analysis and Feedback

Some advanced medical answering services provide metrics and data analysis features. This can include details about call volume, peak calling times, and the nature of calls, among other things. Analyzing this data can offer valuable insights into your practice, allowing you to understand your patients better and even make informed decisions about staffing and services. Therefore, a comprehensive answering service can serve not just as a communication tool but also as a source of business intelligence.

Improve Office Efficiency

A dedicated medical answering service can drastically reduce the workload of your front office staff. They will no longer need to juggle between attending to patients in the office and answering calls, allowing them to be more focused and efficient in their tasks. This can improve your overall workflow and patient experience within the physical office space, adding another layer of professionalism to your practice.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q10: How quickly can an answering service be set up for my medical practice?

Answer: The timeframe for setting up an answering service varies depending on the provider and the level of customization you require. However, many services offer quick setups, often within 24 to 48 hours.

Q11: Is the answering service staff trained in medical terminology?

Answer: A professional medical answering service typically employs staff trained in basic medical terminology and protocols. This ensures that they can accurately capture patient information and understand the urgency of different types of calls.

Q12: Can an answering service integrate with my existing Electronic Health Record (EHR) system?

Answer: Many advanced medical answering services offer integration capabilities with popular EHR systems. This can streamline your operations and ensure that patient information is consistently and securely updated across platforms.

 

 

Meet Today’s Expectations

The final item is the most important one. We covered it in our introduction.

Quite simply, your patients expect a real person to answer their phone call when they dial your number. Your patients expect you to have an answering service that understands healthcare and your needs.

If you don’t provide them what they expect, don’t expect them to stick around.

They’ll find another healthcare provider. 

Take the Next Step

Contact us to learn more and discover how we can provide your medical practice with the professional healthcare answering service that you deserve and your patients expect. Don’t wait another day. Act now.