How to build a 24/7 medical front office?

October 31st, 2008

There are many reasons medical professionals, such as medical doctors, optometrists, chiropractors, psychologists and the like are turning to a best in class 24/7 medical answering service. First, many medical professionals are actually required by law to offer some type of 24/7 medical answering service. Since most small-to-medium-sized providers simply cannot afford to pay a part-time receptionist to cover slow times on the evenings and overnight, this challenge can often be tricky. Many have elected very limited voice response systems over the years that may fit the bill, but lack the customer service qualities that are an advantage for the practice.

An after-hours answering service is important in the healthcare environment because health and illness are unpredictable factors of life. People get ill, have accidents, or need help during non-regular office hours. By having a 24/7 medical answering service in place, providers not only meets any legal requirements, they also offer a tremendous service to people in emergency situations when the office is closed.

Thanks to advances in technology, there are now opportunities for a virtual answering service that can respond to calls for simple appointment planning, or direct transfer to the appropriate medical professional, in cases of emergency.

There are other great benefits to a top virtual answering service that are of business importance to any practice. First, many medical receptionists operate in busy offices and are tasked with many responsibilities. Dealing with in-clinic patients, answering phones, filing, and completing required insurance paperwork are just some of the important duties of a receptionist. High turnover is common in many medical practices as receptionists become overwhelmed and stressed. Their stress, combine with patients being left on hold, getting a busy signal, or being unattended to, are all negative factors to the success of a medical practice.

The virtual answering service can be a great backup answering service solution as it is obtained through one upfront cost and can come with little to no ongoing maintenance and care. This is a much better option for many providers than hiring another employee.

Live receptionists are then freed up to respond to pressing needs, and should be able to offer a higher level of personalized service to those that need it. Even more appealing from a service standpoint, the best virtual call answering service can sort calls based on need and respond appropriately. Some patients just want to efficiently schedule their next visit. Others need immediate assistance in an emergency. A great answering service can immediately transfer the patient to the medical professional in an emergency. Live receptionists are often slow to respond or deliver messages and providers may be less apt to reply immediately upon receiving a human message.

The 24/7 medical answering service is therefore a great tool to meet legal requirements for 24/7 medical answering support. It offers excellent cost savings and revenue-generating advantages. Most importantly, it makes employees and customers much more satisfied, which ultimately drives the long-term success of any medical practice.

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