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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Answering Services for Medical Professionals

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If you are a medical professional, you need an answering service. An answering service is necessary for several reasons; to handle call overflow during regular hours, lunch coverage, sick or vacation coverage and after-hours support. An answering service is a great back-up to have for the previous circumstances. No matter how efficient your receptionist is, there will be times they cannot answer each and every call promptly. The answering service is there to receive and handle those calls for you. Because the answering service is backing you up, the receptionist can take the time that is needed to address the current patient’s needs and demands and they do not need to feel rushed or pressured to get the patient off of the phone immediately. Also, what do you do if your receptionist needs a day off? Turning to a temporary staffing agency to fill the gap, has its advantages, but also disadvantages. The replacement you inherit is most likely not familiar with your practice. Patients will likely not get the same level of service that they would from your regular receptionist. When you use an answering service however, the agents are trained on how to handle all the different types of calls your practice may receive, so the service your patients receive will be as close to normal as possible. Some medical offices completely close for the lunch hour and patients’ calls are usually sent to a voicemail greeting. The only problem with this is that up to 75% of callers choose to not leave a message or even call back when they receive voicemail greetings. They will find a service provider who has a live person answering the phone when they wanted or needed them. However, if you have an answering service in place, your patients receive a friendly agent who can respond to general inquiries on your behalf and save you and your staff some time when they arrive back in the office from their lunch hour. This can greatly reduce the stress that can accompany those first few minutes after the office re-opens. If you are a doctor who has fielded your own after-hours calls, I am sure you are aware that a large percentage of those calls are not what you would call urgent. Most issues that patients call about during the after-hours of your practice are able to be handled the next day in-office or they should be directed to the local urgent care center or emergency room. For the simple things such as scheduling/canceling/re-scheduling an appointment or Mrs. Kravitz’ persistent questions about her surgical incisions still being sore during the normal healing period, instructions you have provided to the medical answering service agent will be relayed to the caller so you do not have to have your off-time interrupted unless the situation actually requires your expertise. If the issue truly requires your attention, the medical answering service would then connect the caller to you. If you think you can use an answering service for your medical practice, do a search online and investigate which one will work for you.

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