Although winter hasn’t officially started, its effects have already occurred in much of the country. Snowstorms, ice storms, and freezing rain, along with cooler temperatures. Is your practice, clinic, or facility ready to deal with the threat of bad weather and the reality of one or more bad storms before spring arrives?
Sometimes winter storms hamper the ability for you to see patients and conduct business as usual. Other times bad weather forces you to close your office and send staff home early. You want to keep your employees and patients safe. So, there’s no reason to have them brave bad weather if it isn’t necessary.
Yet, when your forced to deal with stormy weather, what can you do to mitigate the effect on your patients? Fortunately, with a medical answering service ready to back you up, they have you covered on the communication front. And when weather conditions threaten, effective communication is key.
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind.
People Still Get Sick During Bad Weather
Unlike many businesses, those in the healthcare profession can’t close their office unless it’s absolutely necessary. People have health concerns that must be addressed regardless of the weather. They can’t place their health on hold just because it’s snowing.
Regardless if a winter storm has closed your office or forced you to run short staffed, your answering service is able to take your calls and keep the lines of communication open between you and your patients. And with a potential emergency hanging in the balance, this is crucial for your patients’ well-being and for your own peace of mind.
When the weather takes a turn for the worse, or even when the forecast looks ominous, people with nonurgent appointments tend to cancel them. They prefer to stay home, avoid confronting the elements, and reschedule for a later date.
With your answering service working on your behalf, they can take those cancellations and let you know immediately. Plus, they can reschedule these patients for a later appointment, according to your openings and availability. This serves your patients well and keeps you informed.
Have a Backup If You’re Short Staffed?
Just as patients may have trouble getting to your office during a winter storm, your staff can be likewise affected. Although you try to function as normal, it’s tough without all your employees there. While your answering service isn’t on-site to help you directly serve your patients, they are a phone call away and ready to handle your telephone communication. Simply forward your line to them. This allows your remaining staff to attend to what’s happening in your office, without the distraction of a ringing telephone.
Notify Patients of Office Closures?
When weather conditions worsen, you may need to close your office abruptly. If your answering service has access to your appointment calendar, they can contact your remaining scheduled patients to let them know your office had to close. This saves them from making a wasted trip in less-than-ideal driving conditions, which keeps them safe. Plus, your answering service can reschedule their appointment.
Provide Critical Patient Communications When Your Office Is Closed
If you close your office and send staff home, your answering service can still work for you. They’ll answer your phone to let patients know you’ve had to close for the rest of the day. They can take messages, set appointments, and route emergency calls according to your protocol.
Having a medical answering service is the first step to making sure you are ready for the storm. Before bad weather threatens, however, contact your answering service and talk through the possible scenarios. This is hard to do on the fly, during unusual circumstances. Therefore, it’s best to be ready by having a plan. This will enable your answering service to be ideally prepared to handle your calls during bad weather situations.
Learn how medical answering service from MedConnectUSA can help your clinic or practice, and get a free quote to discover how affordable their healthcare communication services are. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer and call center authority.