In a prior post we asked the question, "Are you ready for the storm?" In it we discussed ways your answering service can help your practice, clinic, facility, or hospital when bad weather occurs. Though bad weather can happen anytime of the year, it's more likely to pop up in the winter months. That would be now.
In addition to the suggestions we've already made, here are three specific weather-related scenarios where your answering service can come to the rescue and help you offset the impact of a winter blizzard or other significant weather event.
1. Cover for Staff Who Can't Make It In: When bad weather occurs, be it a blizzard, freezing rain, or torrential downpour, some staff may not be able to make it into work. Other employees will brave the bad weather conditions and bravely soldier on, arriving to work, albeit a bit late. Last are those loyal workers who will shove aside common sense and defy the elements to make it in, even when wisdom tells them to not go outside. Wouldn't you like the freedom to tell them, "Stay home today, and stay safe."?
When these things occur, your office will be short staffed, either part of the day or all-day long. What can you do to adjust for their absence? One easy solution is to send your telephone communications to your answering service. Let them do for you during the day what they're already doing for you after hours. They can answer all your phone calls, give out information, take messages, and escalate urgent situations. This frees up your staff in the office to focus on your patients who are actually there.
2. Cover Your Office If You Must Close Early: Sometimes a day will start out normal, with no adverse weather conditions. But as the day progresses, a storm rolls in, intensifies, and unleashes its fury. Sometimes the wise solution is to shut down early and send staff home when it's still safe for them to get there. Expecting them to put in a full day and then head home at 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. subjects them to poor traveling conditions that could threaten their safety or leave them stranded. Nobody wants that on their conscience.
Instead, let your medical answering service know you're shutting down early and sending your staff home. Then let your answering service handle communications for you. They can answer your phone calls just like they always do. In addition, they can contact your remaining appointments to let them know your office had to close early. They can even reschedule them for another day. Besides, many of these patients wouldn't come in anyway and most of the rest wouldn't want to. You're doing them a favor by closing early when the weather threatens.
3. Cover Your Office If You Have a Snow Day: Another scenario occurs when you wake up to a blizzard or other threatening weather phenomena. Sometimes the snow is too deep, the ice is too thick, or the rain too heavy to go outside and risk traveling unsafe roads just to make it into work. Again, a quick phone call to your medical answering service will set things in motion for them to take over and handle your critical communications for the day. You stay inside where it's safe and warm. And let your answering service handle the rest.
If you already have a medical answering service working for you after hours, it's a minor adjustment for them to handle your daytime calls during a blizzard or other weather-related emergency. The key is to talk through this with them in advance to see if there are any daytime-only protocols that they must add to your instructions. Then when the time comes, a quick phone call alerts them to your need and prepares them to act on your behalf.
However, if you don't presently have a medical answering service, they probably can't take on your work and do a good job at it if you dump everything in their laps at the last moment. But don't despair. Plan now. Contact them today, while the weather is still good. Set things up now for when conditions change. And it will change. Make sure you're ready for it.
Learn how medical answering service from MedConnectUSA can help your practice, clinic, or facility and get a free quote to discover how affordable their healthcare communication services are. Peter DeHaan is a freelance writer and call center authority.