Archive for the tag 'doctor answering service'

Is it worth installing a 24/7 answering machine cum patient reminder system?

November 4th, 2009

In this era of electronic revolution, everything has gone computerized in order that makes the management information easier and better than ever before. Till a few years back, computers just managed to take place in accounts and sending/receiving information but today, with latest and hi-tech software system in hand, we can certainly manage things in more effective and efficient way.

24/7 answering machine is nothing but a system that picks up the calls and answers what is appropriate. Especially in the field of health care management, it has become a mandatory tool. The health care providers can simply install automated online scheduler that works as virtual receptionists and performs multiple tasks. However, many doctors and health experts feel being in dilemma that is it worth installing a 24/7 answering machine cum patient reminder system?

To understand this, let us look at some important points that make online medical management system a must have thing:-

  • Since the system is automated, the doctors do not have to depend on human medical assistance. There are no excuses about the apathies as before.
  • The health care center is accessible even during off-hours (that is after the office timings)
  • It is a 24/7 online medical assistant and hence, more reliable than the humans
  • The customers never get a busy call and are answered instantly
  • Online appointment scheduler comes with foreign language settings for a better communication with foreign patients
  • Medical clinic management is smooth and free from hurries and worries, doctors can simply install and take rest
  • The system can synchronize appointment information directly on Google Calendar so it is accessible on handheld devices such as iPhone, BlackBerry and SmartPhone.

Automated online patient scheduler can also remind patients about their forthcoming appointments and visits to the clinic. The best part about automated answering system is the doctor can feed the answers as per his or her requirements. The answers can be played or tailored according to the wish. Also, doctors can feed their specialization and manually manage the system as per their expertise.

Turning office automated using online answering and online patient reminding service is certainly worth for a better service and growth. In a long-run, doctors can cut the cost of recruiting numbers of virtual receptionists as the system itself can perform multiple tasks.

Online Medical Office Assistant Technology Is a Great Business Solution

April 19th, 2009


Are you considering using an All-in-One virtual receptionist for your medical practice? Is it a good time now to consider your overall technology needs within your medical practice?  If you feel your own medical office is out of step with technology, what should be done to improve your office efficiency?

Online an All-in-One virtual office assistant offers numerous features that will certainly elevate your practice into the 21st century as far as your telecommunications are concerned; At a fraction of the live agent cost, you can expect an virtual receptionist to performe most of your medical front desk tasks. To name a few; making patient reminder call, dispatch emergency call and believe or not, talking to patients in natural language and set appointment for them. 

There are vendors of software designed specifically for the medical community and as you are upgrading to an online medical office assistant service you should investigate other forms of technology to improve upon office organization and performance. If ever there were a business practice that lived up to the motto “time is money” it would be the medical field. Better use of time through technology means your staff will be operating at peak performance.

There is no better time to take the final step into a computer literate environment for your office then when you are in the process of introducing a virtual receptionist. Your staff will be excited by the new technology and if they are even somewhat literate with computers and certain software applications such as windows OS’s or other basic programs, they will adjust to new software applications you introduce at once with your remote reception service.

Once you start to investigate various technologies for your medical practice, someone within the office should be responsible for keeping up to date with these programs and upgrades. They would act as your in-house IT go to person if there were operation questions, quick fixes required etc. It might even be prudent to send one of your trusted employees or even yourself for classroom training to become current with new technology and Internet based software applications in general.

The thing about computer technology and becoming accomplished with it is it takes a basic understanding of how computers work and some fundamentals of software applications – web based and off the shelf. The more you work with it the more comfortable you will become. Before you know it, your staff will not only be enjoying their lightened workload due to the new virtual medical office assistant online but they will also develop into skilful medical software virtuosos!

Phone Answering Service – How It Could Save Your Medical Practice

January 19th, 2009

Hospitals all over the US are reeling from effects of an economy in chaos and financial markets experiencing some of their worst times in 70 years. There is a tremendous increase in the number of uninsured patients visiting hospitals. Many hospitals are thus on the brink of collapsing while others are being closed down daily. As many employers work on how to scale back on health coverage and as the State looks for ways of cutting health care programs the people are left with no option but to off important but elective care like colonoscopies. With this kind of a scenario private medical practice is also taking a body blow. No practitioner can afford to lose clients and practices are looking for ways of attracting new ones. A lot needs to be done though, to achieve this. The kind of service that clients get will determine whether the practice retains or loses the client.

A good phone answering service is a sure way of ensuring that your clients are always happy. A friendly 24/7 medical answering service makes the patients feel well cared for and believe they are getting value for their money. As the competition for the few clients continues a efficient and friendly front desk phone answering service could be the critical thing you need to help your practice pull through this recession.

By investing in an after-hours answering service you make it possible for your clients to get attention when you are out of the office. A good phone answering service will also help your staff concentrate on other more important issues that will improve customer satisfaction and ultimately enhance retention. During these challenging economic times it is important to make sure that your clients are not kept for long waiting for their calls to go through. A good doctor answering service will give your practice the edge you need to beat your competitors. As more businesses close down you need to change the way you do things and ensure increased efficiency to enhance customer satisfaction.

The cost of investing in a live answering service is incomparable to the earnings you stand to gain from this one time investment. In addition, there is no need to worry about maintenance fees and your office will remain ‘open’ 24 hours a day 7 days a week! You could easily see your client list double within a few months through referrals and increased retention. A physician answering service is all you need to weather this recession. Get one today and you will always be glad you made this decision!

As the world eagerly awaits the swearing in of the 44th American president, it is no doubt that the new White House occupant has his job well cut out for him. With the effects of the economic downturn being felt not only here in the US but in many other areas in the world, governments are doing everything in their capacity to cushion their economies. Big businesses like Citigroup and SsangYong in Asia continue to register huge losses and file for bankruptcy as the business arena gets trickier. The medical practice will certainly be
affected!

Take good care of your business and have a recession-proof year at your practice!

A Simple Way of Running a Successful Medical Practice during This Recession

January 10th, 2009


‘Money is the root cause of all evil.’ Being flat broke should then be better, right? Well, don’t answer because I already have the answer to that. As the world painstakingly goes through the paces with a pulse whose strings gets tighter every day the outcry is almost everywhere. The number of people being laid off has reached some of its highest levels in recent times. Talk about foreclosures and that sends a shiver down the spines of many. It is not only here in the US but even on the sandy beaches of Seychelles, Mauritius and the Kenyan coast; people know there is something wrong with the economy.

Unfortunately almost all the sectors are affected; from the ones offering basic commodities to the luxurious services sectors. The medical profession also has had a fair share of its woes. People making appointments are on the decline as more people try to postpone or put off completely that appointment with the doctor that does not seem so necessary. For others the appointment is very necessary but the worries that characterize many lives today make them forget this important meeting with their doctor.

Sounds strange? Well, it should not as it has been shown through research that when you are worrying about something a lot you may forget some other important matters. People need a reminder service especially when many pressing matters are going through their minds.

As a doctor you may have noted that you are losing a lot of revenue from patient no-shows. Don’t watch as you business goes under especially when you know that your patient could be missing appointments out of forgetfulness. Invest in a reminder software or telephone reminder service. With this you can help both your practice and your patients.

You can even get a multilingual appointment reminder to cater for all your patients. Less will miss their appointments out of forgetfulness as they worry about other pressing matters.

Online appointment reminder software does not requires installation on your computer and it sends reminders automatically to all the patients that have an appointment with you at a certain date. The reminder software works in such away that the patient is well informed in good time that there is an upcoming appointment with the doctor. It helps the patient schedule things well in advance to avoid last minute rush. As the day nears the patient will still be reminded of the nearing appointment.

Your live receptionist can (although it is not necessary) physically call the patient to remind him of an appointment when it is due in a few hours, say under 24 hours. By doing this your staff will be freed from repetitive and sometimes boring duties. The phone reminder will do that as your staff engages in other more important matters that the soft ware can not carry out. Thus ensuring a more efficient practice and more satisfied patients!

Take advantage of this excellent reminder software today. See your practice maneuver through these difficult times but ensuring you reduce on the number of patients who don’t show up. Let the patient appointment reminder remind your clients to do business with you! Who would not want such kind of staff?

Good First Impressions

January 2nd, 2009

Shhhhh, the sound of static as you attempt to connect to the number you have just dialed. After a long wait there is the annoying tone of a busy line. You put down the receiver and try again. Shhhhhh, the sound of static once again as you wait for the connection to be made. Ring, ring, ring, finally you have managed to get through. “Hello,” says a pleasant voice on the other side of the line. “Hello, Dr. ……’s office, please hold.” La la la la ding la, the sound of music to keep you entertained as wait to be attended to.

Many patients seeking to arrange appointments with their physicians undergo similar experiences. Medical practices are normally very busy places. As an increased number of people discover the importance of keeping track of their health, the traffic to medical practices continues to grow steadily. Many people in today’s society recognize the importance of regular check ups for themselves as well as their families. This means booming business for your practice. It also means that your staff may be stretched in order to deliver the right services to your patients.

The telephone is usually the first contact a patient has with a medical practice. Many patients judge your medical practice based on how they were handled when they called to make an appointment. People like to feel appreciated and important. If your practice has a constant flow of patients, your staff maybe unable to keep track of patients waiting in the lobby as well as the constantly ringing phone. The pressures of the job may even get to them to the point that they may not attend to the patients and callers as well as they are supposed to.

So what can you do about this? Hire a virtual medical office receptionist.

With the services of a virtual medical receptionist at your disposal, you can be sure that your callers will receive the best service available. Your patients will no longer get a busy tone when they call you. They will also not be put on hold as the receptionist attends to another client. Patients will receive full attention from the pleasant sounding 24/7 back up receptionist as they set appointments for visits at the practice. All the patient has to do is give an appropriate date and time for their visit and have it confirmed by the remote receptionist service.

A doctor office receptionist works 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Patients can make appointments any time of the day or night and even when your practice is closed or when there is no one available to attend to the phone. Patients can call to make appointments anytime with the confidence of being attended to.

Virtual medical office receptionists not only schedule appointments, they also remind patients of their appointments. The virtual receptionist makes phone calls to patients with upcoming appointments to remind them.

First impressions account for a lot in a medical practice. It is important to make a good impression on your patients when they make their first contact with your practice over the phone as they book their appointments. Medical office assistants can help you increase the traffic to your medical practice as well as repeat visits because your callers will receive the attention they require from your receptionist. With a doctor office receptionist working for you, you will no longer receive complaints from disgruntled callers.

A New Era in Medical practice

December 20th, 2008

Everywhere that I can think of technology has entered every aspect of our lives. The way we watch television has changed with the advent of TIVO, the way we drive is different now that GPS devices are readily available. Our phones are now like pocket computers and the games that our children and grandchildren now play are so far advanced compared to the Atari systems that we clamored for. How do you envision incorporating technology into your medical practice management in the New Year?

We know that technology in a medical practice equals more efficiency and better productivity. Look at how incorporation of electronic medical records can change the way a practice operates, both big and small. Perhaps you are thinking that you do not have enough money to invest in an EMR, or you do have an EMR and don’t see the need to incorporate any other process flow changes into your practice. Let me tell you about some other medical practice management tools that can be a tremendous resource and asset and can easily be incorporated into your practice.

Virtual Receptionist

Initially this concept sounded so out of synch with how I envision a medical receptionist. My first impression of a great medical receptionist is one who remembers patients’ names and shows up on time to open the office and greet each one with a smile. This person would also require little on the job training and orientation. And most importantly, they would be efficient at what they do and be able to multitask and jump in where needed. However, the more I thought though of what my actual experiences are with medical receptionists I realized that I am used to high turnover in this position and lower job satisfaction whether it’s due to being overwhelmed, receiving little pay, or dealing with sick and sometimes difficult patients. A virtual receptionist is a cost effective way to consistently have high standards of care delivered. What it cannot provide in face to face interaction, is certainly made up in its efficiency and ability to be a value add to any practice.

Automated On-Call System

A virtual on-call system really sells itself. Imagine not being bothered at various times of the evening or night because you were incorrectly contacted by your on-call service? Think about the struggles you sometimes face with finding a service that is affordable and has the ability to triage urgent from non-urgent calls and transmit names, numbers and chief complaints accurately. An automated system does all of this for you in addition to scheduling appointments for those complaints that are not urgent. This has tremendous benefits for the front office staff of a practice.

Automated Patient Reminder System

Another concept that I immediately took to was the idea of an automated patient reminder system. This system can call patients and remind them of an upcoming appointment. Incorporating the process of visit reminders into your practice can cut down on no-show rates and frees your front office staff up to do other more importantly things. All of this at a fraction of the cost that you would expect given the return in value.

For some of us including me, getting pulled into this new technologic era has come with some hesitancy and reluctance. But, the more that I explore and find out how these cost effective advances can be combined with medical practice efficiencies that increase a bottom line and also contribute to good patient care then I am more of a believer.

Looking for an Affordable, Quality Phone Answering Service

December 8th, 2008


When I was growing up and my parents needed to contact our family doctor after his office closed, they picked up the phone and dialed him directly. Gone are the days of that personalized after-hours service and you will now be hard pressed to find a physician who easily hands over their personal contact number to patients…just in case.

Physician offices are understaffed, underpaid from managed care organizations, and overwhelmed by the medical and social needs of the patients they serve. Many physicians feel “chained” to their practice and work long hours each day. Sickness and illness occur twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and often can not wait until the office opens. Physicians and patients alike rely on phone answering service to receive calls from patients and relay messages to the on call physician. A quality phone answering service performs this function seamlessly, integrating itself into the workflow of each physician office that it serves. Unfortunately, affordability of these services is often a prohibitive factor as well as the human error that can occur when an phone answering service is used.

Common physician complaints about live answering services include:

  1. Messages from the service are relayed to the wrong physician on call, sometimes repeatedly waking up this person throughout the night
  2. Patient names are not transcribed correctly
  3. Answering service staff are not well versed in medical terminology therefore incorrectly relaying chief complaints or presenting symptoms
  4. Calls are not triaged appropriately, with non urgent calls being lumped together with more acute calls, putting physicians more at risk for medical liability
  5. Patients and physicians are kept on hold for long periods of time
  6. Front office staff receive an influx of sick patient calls for appointments during the first hour of the practice being opened (the busiest time) from people referred from the answering service
  7. Cost of answering message service does not equal the quality of goods provided

Besides receiving after hour calls directly and never getting a break from patient care, another cost-effective option is to invest in a 24 hour, 7 day a week virtual answering service. These services cost a fraction of what traditional answering services cost minus the human error factors mentioned above. They have the ability to separate urgent from non-urgent calls and immediately connect calls without bundling them and relaying them at specific intervals. You won’t hear patients express frustration at being on hold for too long with these services because they handle multiple calls simultaneously and can even make appointments for the patient calling in. How is that for decreasing your front office burden in the morning, particularly on a Monday and improving your overall medical practice management?

Many considerations have to be put into your selection of an answering service. These include cost, efficiency, degree of worry, and the ability to care for your patients most effectively when you can not be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…just in case.

The benefits of an automated virtual receptionist versus a call center live agent

December 5th, 2008

Call center is one of the most frequently heard complaints by small business owners or medical practices these days. And one of the most frequently heard complaints about call centers is that you can never make yourself understood.

Whether the company you are trying to reach has made call center outsourcing to Scotland, or Mexico, or Bangalore, having a simple conversation such as making, checking or cancelling an appointment can sometimes become a real hard task. This is no reflection on the person on the other end of the telephone, as doubtless anyone would have the same problem if they worked for a foreign company whose customers were based abroad.

Even if the call center is based on home soil, there is the potential obstacle of regional dialects and accents confusing both caller and operator, or human factors such as the receptionist having a cold, or a sore throat that may make them less intelligible.

However, the fact remains that in the current financial climate, a centralised medical answering service is a viable and sensible way to save your practice money. So why not cut out the risk of your patients not being able to make themselves understood through an automated virtual receptionist?

A virtual medical receptionist uses Interactive Voice Response (IVR) software to speak to patients naturally, in their own language, and in a neutral accent. If you have used IVR in the past, you should know that speech-recognition technology has come a long way in the last few years in terms of the quality of IVR based self-service systems.

But perhaps one of the greatest advantages of a remote receptionist service is that it has back-up options.

If your patient calls a live agent call center and struggles to make themselves understood, they have little option but to get frustrated with the situation, slam the phone down and hope that when they try again – if indeed they do ever call again – they reach a different agent who might understand them better.

There is no such problem with a virtual receptionist, as they have a process to go through in the unlikely situation that your patient cannot make themselves understood.

On the rare occasion that the IVR software fails to communicate with a caller, perhaps when their medical complaint prevents them from speaking or hearing clearly, a virtual receptionist will firstly re-prompt the question and ask the caller to try and answer the question again.

If this fails, it will give the caller the option of entering the answer via the telephone keypad – something which in nearly all cases will solve the problem.

However, if for some reason they can still not get their message across, the patient will be immediately connected to a live staff person immediately.

There is even a backup to the backup.

Every call that is made to a virtual receptionist is detailed and recorded on the instant call log.

This log files all the details provided (name, phone number, time of and reason for call (i.e. emergency, appointment or voice-mail). Therefore if a patient is unable to be connected to live staff, someone can always call them back to resolve the situation.

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