Virtual Medical Office Receptionist: Things to ponder before buying this service

February 25th, 2009


I have penned many articles about online appointment explaining its benefits and why every doctor in private practice should invest in it. At the risk of sounding repetitive it is important for me to point out that the services of online appointment are a big plus for any medical practice. There will be reduced pressure, patients will be more satisfied and will most likely visit your practice another time.

Best of all online appointments is having a speech-recognition capable virtual receptionist enable patient self-service appointment by phone. This modern service will help you reduce patient now-shows and generally reduce your operating costs. That said it is vital for me to point out also that not all remote receptionist services are good. So, how do you make sure that you get value for your money?

The Internet is awash with many types of virtual medical office receptionist service providers. However, not all are good or are suitable for your medical practice. It can be tricky for a potential buyer to choose the right service but the following tips should increase your chances of getting a good return for your investment.

Know what you need first

A virtual receptionist can do many things but you may not need all them. It is therefore important to have list of what you are looking for in a front desk receptionist service before committing to buy. What you need depends on the nature of your practice. If you have a problem with patient no-shows for instance, then you need a service that offers ‘call backs’ to remind patients of their forthcoming appointments.

Initial investment

Just like any other businessperson a medical practitioner should be savvy enough to know that tying huge sums of money by paying for services that will be used in the future is not a very good idea. The future is very uncertain and you don’t want a situation whereby the company offering you the service goes under with your one year’s service subscription! Whenever possible, pay in small amounts e.g. for a month’s service. If within that one month you’re not satisfied with what you are getting then you have the liberty of shopping elsewhere.

Operating costs

One of the biggest reasons why many doctors invest in a remote receptionist service is to increase their bottom line. If the service you are buying does not help you to reduce costs and therefore bolster profits especially during these challenging economic times then it makes no economic sense at all to invest in it. Don’t go for a service that requires installation of software or hardware. There are very good receptionist services that are solely based on the web. Go for those ones as you need not call a technician to fix them in your office because they are not working.

Benefits

The main goal of most businesses is to maximize profits. So, ask yourself what you stand to gain by investing in a given type of remote receptionist service. Other than the ability to provide ‘call back’ services, a good receptionist service should also act as a back up receptionist. This will enable your practice to handle pressure especially when there is an upsurge of patients with each needing attention. In addition, if the human receptionist is out for one reason or another the backup receptionist can ‘take over’. This would in turn prevent unnecessary losses in revenue due to customer dissatisfaction.

Thus, as you plan to give your practice a boost make sure you bear these few points in mind. You will end up with a better service at a lower cost and ultimately more returns.

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