Psychiatrists find virtual answering service responds better in emergencies than live answering service
Neil Kokemuller November 26th, 2008
Today many medical professionals are required by law to offer after-hours physician answering service. This is especially important in psychiatry given the sometimes unstable nature of the patient. A good doctor answering service must be able to efficiently and accurately manage emergency calls in a pinch.
A 24/7 virtual answering service is not only a cost-effective alternative for practices that do not want to pay expensive live agent in call center to answer phones after hours, it tends to perform better than live answering service with regard to processing emergency phone calls.
Often, patients that make calls to a psychiatrist are looking for immediate help. Some of the most extreme cases of mental and emotional instability require that the patient have the ability to contact a professional in quick order. Unfortunately, agents with live answering service are themselves stressed and burdened at times with high call volum and tasks. This causes delays in responding to emergency needs, or a lack of empathy for a patient who may be dealing with emotional struggles.
A top virtual answering service does not bring the same human struggles and limitations that come with a live agent. A 24/7 automated medical receptionist performs consistently and reliably day or night, without irritation, stress, or fatigue. Instead of being placed on hold, left to wait, or forgotten about, a patient is efficiently and accurately transferred to the appropriate emergency care provider when a call is processed by the medical answering service.
What makes the virtual receptionist even more valuable is that it is much less expensive than a live answering service to employ and maintain. People are paid, receive benefits, and sometimes require, coaching, incentives, and other motivation. The virtual receptionist simply performs as it is trained to do with no questions, complaints, or inappropriate behaviors. A good virtual phone answering service can be acquired by a psychiatrist for a moderate up front cost with very little ongoing maintenance time and expense. It can be customized to meet the needs of the individual practice.
Emergency situations are not the only occasion in which the virtual answering service performs either. Live agents can only receive and handle one phone call at a time. A virtual receptionist can process multiple phone calls at once, separate emergency from non-emergency calls, and ensures that patients do not leave your psychiatry practice because they are ignored or inconvenienced.
A top of class virtual medical receptionist can assist patients with scheduling appointments as well. This is obviously a big plus for any medical practice where appointment booking is a major resource cost on front desk. Ultimately when we add up all advantages and benifts a virtual receptionist can deliver (lower cost, reliable consistant performance, appointment booking), it should be clear that it is a much better business solution against conventional call center live agent.
- Medical Answering Service