If you work in the healthcare industry you know all too well how important it is to be accessible to patients at any given time of the day or night. Whether patients are calling to refill prescriptions, schedule appointments, ask advice, or because they’re having an urgent health concern, their calls must be answered promptly and professionally.
Today’s patients expect personal customer service and quick answers to questions about their medical concerns. They also expect to receive immediate care and attention if those concerns are urgent, whether it’s day or night. They are quickly frustrated if their call is put on hold, or if they receive voicemail when calling a healthcare practice. In fact, a survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center revealed that 75% of those polled said the most irritating customer service experience is when they “can’t get a live person on the phone.” This is especially true when they are calling a medical provider.For this reason, many healthcare practices are turning to answering services, or call centers, for help. But just as there are great doctors and not so great doctors, there are also great answering services and not so great ones. Chances are you’re fed up with your medical answering service if you’re experiencing any of the following frustrations:
- Your patients are put on hold for too long.
Research has shown that if callers are directed to voicemail or put on hold for more than 30 seconds, more than a third of them will hang up and not call back. This is particularly true when patients are calling a doctor’s office. If it seems your practice is too busy to answer phone calls in a timely manner, patients intuitively assume that office visits and even emergencies will also involve delays.
- Calls are mishandled or directed to the wrong person.
Have you heard from angry patients who didn’t receive a call back about an urgent matter until hours later because the answering service didn’t pass the message along quickly? Or have patients complained they were transferred to the wrong doctor? Time is of the essence when it comes to most medical issues, but if your calls aren’t handled quickly and correctly your practice and your patients will suffer.
- Information is incomplete or inaccurate.
Careful attention to detail is critical in the healthcare industry, and incorrect information is unacceptable. Even a small mistake in the spelling of a patient’s name or condition can lead to a trail of complications and liabilities.
- Plans aren’t flexible or there are hidden fees.
The nature of the medical field is unpredictable. You shouldn’t be expected to define or limit how many calls you’ll receive any given day, week, or month, and you shouldn’t be charged if you go over your call limit one month. Many call centers charge fees for those situations or charge extra if you change the on-call contact person, for example.
We’ve Been There
Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. specializes in providing answering service solutions to the medical industry because founder and CFO JoAnn Fussell has first-hand experience in the medical field as a Radiation Technician. Her experience with low-quality, overpriced answering services taught her exactly what she wanted in a service, which is why she created Voice Link to meet the unique needs of medical practitioners.
Voice Link’s friendly, professional receptionists answer calls in your practice’s name and know your priorities and protocols when it comes to patient communications. Your patients won’t even realize that they’re talking to someone at a call center rather than a receptionist in your office or an on-call staff member after hours. Our operators are trained to know which questions to ask to discern if the call is an emergency or not. Per your instructions, the operator will know how to handle each call and who to contact on your staff given the time of day and nature of the call.
Voice Link also offers a secure communication app that lets care-providers text patient information without putting patient PHI at risk. Secure messages can be shared with other providers or staff members and can be downloaded right into the patient’s electronic chart. It’s just one of the customized solutions JoAnn Fussell knew she would want in a great medical answering service.
In fact, we wrote an eBook on what makes a medical answering service great, and how to find the best answering service for your medical practice. Check out our free eBook, The Quick & Complete Guidebook To Choosing A Medical Answering Service Provider, includes all the considerations you should take into account when evaluating an answering service, or call center, for your practice.
Day or night, outsourcing your practice’s calls will ensure that your patients are attended to with care and compassion, 24/7, 365 days a year so that you can sleep better at night. Voice Link offers nearly 30 years of experience in medical answering services and provides live answering services that exceed your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.