Virtual Receptionist Features to be Considered

November 12th, 2008

The evolution of the Internet has opened up new avenues in medical practice management. The concept of a virtual receptionist has made it possible for medical practitioners to streamline their operations and cut costs. Doctors who have opted to deploy a virtual medical receptionist either as a backup to their front-end reception or as a replacement for a human receptionist have reported increased efficiency and greater productivity in their work which has translated directly into improved care for the patients and better earnings for the doctor.

If you are a medical practitioner, whether established or still growing you need to be aware of the real benefits that a virtual assistant can offer you. If you are planning to invest in an online receptionist service then you should be aware of the features to look for.

  1. Compare virtual receptionist products and services for cost and feature benefits. Basic features to look for include scheduling, canceling, and conforming appointments; reminder calls; call transfers; new patient registration; 24 X 7 availability; and maintenance support by the company. Cost of course is a basic consideration and you should evaluate services based on fee requirements; hidden costs, if any; and any hardware or software installations to be done on your part.
  2. Check the success rate in handling calls. Your virtual receptionist should have at least an 85% success rate in call handling. Make use of the demo services offered by the provider to get a feel about the quality of interactivity offered by the system. The virtual receptionist should be such that in the event of a communication failure the call gets transferred to a live receptionist.
  3. The virtual medical receptionist that you opt for should be customizable to your specialty as a health-care service provider. It should allow you to set restrictions for the day and duration of appointment; enable the patients to set their own appointments; include any special information from the doctor to patient, when required; and the rule-based online scheduler should work in sync with the virtual receptionist.
  4. The virtual receptionist should be adept at not only managing existing patient accounts but also adding new patients to your existing base of patients. Find out whether the process for registering new patients is smooth or cumbersome. Your virtual receptionist is the first point of interaction for a new patient and its imperative that the system creates a good impression of your service.
  5. Data and service migration should happen smoothly without loss or corruption of data. This is an important consideration as often data migration comes at a cost of time and money. Ideally, the migration should happen right the first time itself with zero data error. It’s a great help if the virtual reception system is compatible with MS Office tools like MS Excel.
  6. Consider ease of use for the patient as a top feature requirement. As in any business, retaining an existing customer is far easier than acquiring a new one and your virtual receptionist should also be able to double up as CRM tool for you. It should be able to handle multiple calls simultaneously so that patients are not put on hold; multiple language support should be present; and self-service features such as scheduling and canceling an appointment by a patient should be made available.

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