What is a Medical Answering Service

The vast majority of medical practices rely on the phone to run their practice. You want to be able to help everyone who calls your office, but sometimes that’s simply not possible.

Unfortunately, if your patients are answered by a machine or recording, they will be less likely to call you in the future or visit your office when they need help. Opportunities for new patients are lost, as are some current patients as well.

Put very simply, medical answering services solve this problem. They handle phone traffic that your office might not be able to, answering calls both after hours and during the day as needed.

Those who call your practice when you’re too busy to answer the phone or after you have closed for the day are able to speak with a live person at any time, thereby improving their experience with your practice and ensuring they come back for checkups, treatment, etc.

How Medical Answering Services Work

There are a few ways in which medical answering services can be set up, but the core is the use of live, trained professionals who answer the line when you aren’t able to. The personnel who answer your line are located remotely in a call center setting, which means you don’t have to provide in-house hardware or pay extra salaries in order to benefit from the extra reach these services provide.

Incoming calls are rerouted to the call center per your specifications, whether you need it done throughout the day or simply when you’re out of the office. The agent then answers the phone according to your instructions and sends a message to you by text, email, pager, or even fax as needed. The technology used to dispatch these messages to you is used in full compliance with HIPAA regulations.

Additional features, such as appointment setting, emergency message dispatching, and appointment reminders, can be incorporated into these services in order to meet the specific needs of the medical office.

These services can be scaled to match any volume, whether you need a single dedicated agent or a full call center to handle massive influxes of calls. Practices of all sizes can be accommodated without the significant increase in cost that would be required to handle that volume in-house.

Types of Medical Phone Answering Services

To meet the demands of the healthcare industry, medical answering services come in various types that satisfy a variety of functions, including:

After-Hours Answering Services

Just because you’ve closed for the day doesn’t mean people will stop calling in. Patients may set or cancel appointments, or they may be experiencing an emergency and have urgent questions. Vendors and insurance companies may also call with important information or questions. It’s important to make sure these needs are all satisfied, which is where after-hours answering services come in.

With these types of services, you have a live person who takes calls on behalf of your practice while you are away. These professionals can take messages for you, set appointments, answer questions, and notify you of emergencies.

Call Overflow Answering Services

During the day, you may receive more phone calls than you can handle. In addition, those calls may not all be important—sometimes, a call just isn’t worth answering. It can be difficult to filter through frivolous calls and get to those who truly need your help, which is why call overflow services can be immensely helpful to you, your office, and your patients.

These types of services are setup to handle the overflow of calls you, your administrative staff, and your receptionists may not be able to take on. This ensures patients calling in are able to speak to a live professional while also filtering out frivolous calls that would otherwise waste your time.

24/7 Answering Services

The way your office handles phone traffic can be completely revolutionized with 24/7 phone answering. You have live professionals ready to take calls at all hours of the day and they can forward calls, send messages, and even set appointments on your behalf, massively reducing the burden on your practice in terms of answering calls.

A host of other services can be incorporated into your specific plan, optimizing the service to something that will truly meet your needs. A few of these services include:

  • Emergency message dispatching
  • Appointment setting
  • Appointment reminders
  • Employee attendance tracking
  • Virtual Receptionist

The types of services you choose would be dependent on your precise needs. For instance, you may only need someone to answer a few calls after you close for the day, or you may be so busy during certain hours of the day that handling those calls on your own would be impossible. Medical answering services are highly adaptable and can be scaled with growth as well.

Impact of Medical Answering Services

Medical answering services provide a wide range of benefits to medical practices, like ensuring your patients can reach their doctor in an emergency situation, but perhaps the most significant is the impact they have on patient experiences. Those who call your practice are always greeted by a human being, and they are less likely to give up and call the office down the street. This translates into greater patient retention as well as an increase in new patients.

In addition, medical answering services are highly cost-effective when it comes to growth. A practice can try to get more people to call their practice through many means, but if they aren’t able to handle those calls, it’s all for naught. Increasing phone capacity within the office can be expensive since it requires more equipment and personnel to manage.

Want to know how much medical answering services would cost for you? Click here to get a free quote now!

For more information, call Keener Communications at 804-200-5696 or visit our Medical Answering Service page.