The telephone is rapidly becoming a valuable tool to enhance healthcare by improving outcomes, saving money, and being more responsive. Some call centers focus exclusively on healthcare, but that doesn’t rule out the critical, cost-effective role that answering services can play to help deliver better care faster and for less. Consider these ways telephone answering services can help enhance healthcare.
Answering services are available around-the-clock, 365 days a week, including holidays. If your patients have a concern, your answering service is there to answer their call anytime of the day or night. When patients have a felt need, their first impulse is to pick up the phone and seek help. The last things they want to encounter are an answering machine, voicemail jail, or an endless array of nonsensical prompts that stand in the way of them getting the information they need. Instead they want a real person to talk to, one who can understand their needs, offer empathy, and help them achieve the solution they seek.
One key service that answering services can do to enhance healthcare is set appointments when your office is closed. They can fill open slots for the next day to help maximize your productivity and increase billable services. They can also cancel and reschedule appointments. Why would you want your answering service to take an appointment cancellation? Because if the patient isn’t going to show, the sooner you know about it, the greater the likelihood you’ll be able to fill it. Your staff can do this the forty or so hours that you’re open each week, but what about the rest of the time? Let your answering service help you keep your schedule full and your staff productive.
No-shows are expensive and frustrating. They produce idle time for your staff and result in inefficiency. No one wants an open slot. Reminding patients of their appointments helps increase the percentage of kept appointments. While no solution is guaranteed, timely reminders from your answering service via phone call, email, and text message can significantly decrease the number of missed appointments and enhance healthcare.
In addition to taking messages for routine calls and giving out information to callers, telephone answering services can also dispatch emergency medical situations to on-call healthcare personnel. By providing this service, answering services help physicians better care for their patients and keep them connected to the practice. These benefits enhance healthcare for both the physician’s practice and their patients.
Answering services can also place calls to homebound patients and those recovering from surgeries and procedures. While your answering service staff is not qualified to offer medical advice or make assessments, they can cost-effectively alert trained medical personnel to the possibility of a problem or concern. This keeps highly skilled nursing staff from making routine calls, which saves them for situations that demand their expertise.
Some answering services serve as a front end to telephone triage call centers. Answering services can take all incoming calls for a practice, handling them as appropriate. This includes taking messages, setting appointments, and reaching on-call personnel with urgent situations. However, what about those patients who want to talk to medical personnel? A triage call center can handle these situations nicely, keeping non-urgent patient concerns out of the ER, while making sure that potentially negative health situations aren’t ignored. Though your answering service staff isn’t qualified to handle these calls, they are qualified to determine which calls should go to a triage nurse.
Answering services can do much more than just take messages. They’re rapidly becoming an essential link in offering innovative ways to serve the healthcare industry and enhance healthcare across the United States.Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry, helps clients grow their revenue and optimize their business. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-901-7706. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.