Medical practices need to be available to their patients anytime of the day or night. That’s what they expect. If you don’t provide it, they’ll go to someone who will. However, it’s equally unwise to attempt to provide this 24/7 coverage yourself. Your quality of life will suffer, your work/life balance will become unbalanced, and you’ll burn out. Then you won’t be able to address anyone’s healthcare needs.
Instead you seek help handling the after-hours needs of your patients. This starts by finding someone to cover your phone calls. You hire a medical answering service. But what about medical issues that arise after hours? Maybe you need a telephone triage provider instead. It seems unnecessary to hire both. Can’t one company handle answering service and triage? After all, both services involve the telephone, and they seem similar.
You may find a few companies that claim to offer both medical answering service and telephone triage from one integrated operation. Be careful. This may not be the best solution. In fact, it probably isn’t.
Instead hire a medical answering service to do answering service type work for your practice. Let them answer your phone calls after hours, screen calls for emergencies, and take messages for routine situations. Then, to offload the work of after-hours medical questions, tap a telephone triage provider.
By selecting two companies that specialize in specific needs, you have much to gain. This includes:
The narrower a company’s niche, the tighter their focus. Some companies try to be all things to all people, but this seldom works. No one can master everything. Instead they’ll struggle to follow through on their promises. That’s why focus matters.
When companies specialize, they can do their work faster and better. They develop specific systems to serve you with greater efficiency and increased effectiveness. And if they try to do too much, to cover too many things, their processes become cumbersome. This will hamper productivity.
The cost structure behind hiring staff for a medical answering service is quite different than hiring staff for a telephone triage operation. It would be silly to pay someone a nurse’s hourly rate to take messages from your patients. This would double or even triple the cost of each message, maybe much more. It simply wouldn’t be cost-effective. It’s not that they can’t do these things, it’s just that they can’t do them as cost-effectively as your medical answering service. That’s why specialization is so important. It’s too expensive not to. hire both.
When you have answering services handling telephone calls and phone triage operations handling medical questions, everyone wins. Each company does what they do best, and this provides the ideal outcome for you and your patients
Medical Answering Service + Telephone Triage = After-Hours Success
Hire a medical answering service to answer your phone after hours. Let them do what they do best. Allow them to handle their area of expertise. And don’t ask them the branch out into telephone triage.
Conversely, hire a telephone triage provider to handle after-hours calls that have a medical component. Let them do what they do best. But don’t ask them to take messages, screen calls, or reach the on-call person.
Leading medical answering services and telephone triage providers can work with each other.
Let your medical answering service serve as the first point of contact for all phone calls. For the ones that require triage, they will make a smooth handoff to your telephone triage provider. If you don’t currently have a telephone triage provider, your medical answering service can refer you to one who they have worked with, know, and trust.
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.