If you are still using a traditional answering machine to take patient calls during your off hours, you may be seeing a decline booked appointments. Its no wonder. While an answering machine is a perfectly good piece of equipment for everyday use, it no longer fits the bill when it comes to the standard of care that todays patients expect. When your patients are experiencing a medical issue, they want to speak to someone immediately, not the next morning or after the weekend. You simply cant respond adequately to your patients needs unless you have your calls forwarded when your office is closed, and that presents a whole new set of problems. There is an answer, however, and it is one that other business sectors have been taking advantage of for years.
A medical answering service can provide your patients with the fast response that they need and give you some much needed down time when your office is closed for business. You can choose from several different options that will all respond to your patients needs, and you wont need to worry about hiring additional staff or sacrificing your off hours. If your office is closed and your patients cannot get an answer to their questions, they may believe that the only place where they can get help is the emergency room. This is a costly alternative for someone with some mild symptoms or a question about medication. A medical answering service is an excellent intermediary in this situation.
When your patients get on the line with an operator at your medical answering service, you can be assured of several things. First, the operators at these call centers are medical professionals. That is one reason it is so essential that you contract with a medical answering service and not a generic business call center. Second, these operators will be HIPAA trained, so you can breathe easier knowing that all your medical records will be treated legally and kept confidential. The nurses and other medical professionals who staff your medical answering service will take notes from their calls and forward them to you. You can also set up notifications via text or email so that you know when something is happening with a patient as it happens.
There is no question that having a live human being available to answer your patients questions at any time of the day or night will increase your reputation in your community. It will also help provide your patients with the kind of care that they demand, and that you want to give them.