When patients call your office after hours, they have one of two objectives. Either they want medical advice, or they need assistance managing their healthcare. Although these two needs seem very similar, the ideal solutions come from different sources: telephone triage for medical advice and medical answering service for everything else. Here’s why:
Let Specialists Specialize
Just as you seek a specialist to address specific healthcare issues, so too should you tap the right provider to handle specific types of phone calls. You wouldn’t expect a cardiologist to set a broken bone. You’d choose the appropriate provider for your particular healthcare need. Do the same thing when it comes to your phone calls.
Medical answering services specialize in helping your patients manage their healthcare needs after business hours, when your office is closed. They do a great job at this, but they aren’t staffed with trained medical personnel to offer medical advice. Alternately, telephone triage call centers specialize in this exact thing. However, they’re ill prepared to set an appointment, take a message for your office staff, or give out information about your practice.
Get the Best of Both Worlds
This means you need a two-pronged approach to most effectively deal with the after-hours needs of your patients. Start with your medical answering service, and let them do what they do best: answer calls, take messages, and give out basic information. They can also set appointments, handle cancellations, or make changes.
Then, when someone needs to talk to a healthcare professional, your medical answering service makes a smooth handoff to your telephone triage provider. This delivers a complete solution for your patients and allows them to address virtually any concern they may have when your office is closed.
Realize Cost-Effective Solutions
Though it may seem more efficient to find a telephone triage provider who also handles answering service calls, this isn’t a cost-effective solution. The service structure of your triage provider could end up costing you ten or twenty dollars for a basic non-triage call. In fact, most telephone triage providers won’t even entertain this as an option.
By having your medical answering service frontend all calls and handing off triage calls to a telephone triage provider, you achieve the most cost-effective solution. This allows you to hold down costs while still providing a holistic service to your patients.
Delight Your Patients
By having your medical answering service serve as the first point of contact when your office is closed, your patients receive excellent service. They call your office number, which forwards to your medical answering service. Your medical answering service will address the patients’ needs. If a triage nurse is warranted, they’ll make a smooth handoff.
From your patients’ perspective, this is an ideal solution. This will delight them and earn their loyalty to you and your practice.
Learn how medical answering service from MedConnectUSA can help your practice, clinic, or facility. Then get a free quote to discover how affordable their healthcare communication services are. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer and call center authority.