Is Your Medical Answering Service Ready to Back You Up?

office hours back up

Most medical practices and healthcare providers use a medical answering service to handle their calls outside of their regular business hours. This is the most common reason for hiring an answering service.

But what happens if you need your answering service to back you up during the day? Will they be ready to provide office hours backup? Most answering services will assure you they are, but they may lack the information needed to handle your daytime calls with excellence.

The key to make sure they’re ready to serve as your office hours backup is to provide them with information they need before they need it.

Here are some key considerations:

What to Tell Callers

When people call your number outside of regular office hours, most will expect to reach your answering service. However, if they call when you’re supposed to be open, reaching your answering service will confuse them. Equip your answering service with the words you want them to say to your daytime callers. One example might be, “Everyone in the office is busy right now. How can I help you?” Another might be, “I’m handling their calls during their staff meeting.”

How to Handle Daytime Emergencies

Your answering service excels in knowing how to handle after-hours emergencies. Your protocol for office hour’s emergencies is likely different. Make sure you spell this out to them, so they’ll know exactly what constitutes an emergency. Also let them know what they should do to handle those emergencies. What applies after hours is unlikely the best solution for during office hours.

How to Handle Daytime Routine Calls

When someone reaches your answering service in the evening or weekend, you probably have the service hold all routine calls for the next business day. But what if it is the business day? What should they do with routine calls then? Again, the protocol for handling routine calls after hours isn’t going to fit for during office hours. Make sure you let your answering service know what you expect of them when they’re serving as your office hours backup.

Who to Reach with Questions

In most cases, your answering service knows who to contact after hours in case they have a pressing question that can’t wait. They also know the best way to reach that person. Though there are few times they’ll need to contact this resource, it’s wise to make sure they know who to reach.

However, during office hours, what should they do if they have a pressing question? It makes little sense to follow the after-hours instruction, such as to “call the office manager at home,” because she won’t be there. She’ll be in the office. That’s why you need to make sure your answering service has a key contact person they can reach during the day, along with the best way to reach them. It’s unlikely they’ll ever need to, but this is a good precaution to take.


Leading medical answering services will gladly back you up during the day if you get busy, are short-staffed, or need to schedule a meeting. However, to equip them with the information they need to do their job with excellence, be sure to provide them with some additional information about how you expect them to handle your daytime calls.

This will pay off huge when you need them to serve as your office hours backup.

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.