More often than not, medical professionals don’t work the standard eight-hour shifts to which employees in other industries are accustomed. A typical shift for a healthcare worker can be anywhere between 10 to 12 hours or longer depending on their field and whether or not they’re dealing with an emergency.
It suffices to say that many patients may not always get immediate responses to their appointment booking or medical requests. The COVID-19 vaccine appointment booking process is proof of how convoluted and disorienting the process can be for both patients and healthcare workers alike. Medical answering services act as efficient and effective mediators between the general public and healthcare workers.
These services can help keep medical facilities well organized and proficient even during the most chaotic times by quickly answering patient phone calls and inquiries.
Physician Answering Services vs. Automated Systems
Medical facilities often receive what can seem like an endless barrage of patient phone calls and communications. To mitigate these calls and ensure patient satisfaction as well as operational efficiency, you can hire 24/7 comprehensive live or automated doctor answering services. This will ensure that each call is answered promptly and that all patient questions are answered and appointments are booked as needed.
The difference between live medical answering services and automated systems is simple. Live medical answering services entail dealing with a live agent who’s qualified to book appointments, provide information about your medical clinic or facility, and answer simple questions such as appointment availability and office hours. Live agents can also take down messages for non-emergency patient inquiries, forward calls to the appropriate departments, and refer patients to other medical facilities as needed. Medical answering service agents are specially trained to handle healthcare patient calls.
Automated physician answering services, on the other hand, consist of pre-recorded menu options and directories that allow patients to use voice-operated or keyed-in responses on their mobile devices. They can provide basic information such as hours of operation, physician schedules, voicemail options, and electronic appointment booking to name a few. There is no human interaction with these systems, but patients do have the option of being connected to an operator or a receptionist if they prefer that.
Top Reasons Why a Live Voice Adds Value to Your Bottom Line
Oftentimes, when patients contact a healthcare clinic, they want to be connected to a live representative so that they can get the answers to their inquiries a lot faster. Live agents add a lot of value to your bottom line because they provide courteous, informative, and friendly customer service. Here are some of the main reasons you should consider hiring a live medical answering service for your office.
Reduce the Number of Patient No-Shows
Live customer service agents set appointment reminders. They can also communicate with your patients via text, phone, or email to remind them of upcoming appointments and confirm their attendance in advance. This will help reduce the number of patient no-shows by ensuring that patients are aware of their upcoming appointments and committed to coming. You can also set and enforce 24 or 48 hour cancellation policies as a way to deter no-shows. If patients want to cancel or reschedule an appointment within that timeframe, then they may be subject to fees.
Improve Patient Relationships
Friendly, courteous, and efficient customer service is an effective way to improve patient relationships and perceptions of your facility. Patients will develop more confidence in your facility’s ability to meet their needs, answer their questions, and take good care of them if they’re greeted with a welcoming and approachable voice at the other end of the line.
Automated Systems Are Prone to Crashing and Malfunctions
Automated systems operate on technological software that requires frequent system updates and maintenance. Missing even one update can make your system vulnerable to hackers, viruses, and other cybersecurity issues that cause the system to malfunction. This is not a chance you want to take considering that these automated systems contain a plethora of sensitive and confidential patient information including medical files, phone numbers, emails, and home addresses.
Live customer service or patient care representatives provide a more personal touch and are required to operate according to HIPPA regulations. This guarantees the safekeeping and security of patient personal health information (PHI) at all times. Only authorized personnel will have access to important patient files on a need-be basis.
IT Integration for Automated Systems Is Expensive
In some regards, automated doctor answering services may seem convenient in that they can help deal with simple patient inquiries and appointment booking requirements fairly quickly. However, integrating these programs into your existing technological infrastructure can be quite expensive, especially if architectural updates are required.
One of the perks of hiring a professional physician answering service is that they work offsite from a remote location, which means you’re not required to make any structural changes to your current IT setup. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about performing system updates or performing maintenance for your existing onsite IT systems. All patient care inquiries and appointment bookings are handled promptly from a remote location and updated into your system automatically by trained customer service professionals.
Patient experience when dealing with your healthcare appointment booking system and other services greatly influences their perceptions of your facility. Much like other industries, it’s important to foster a positive and professional image for your healthcare facility to ensure that patients are receiving the best possible care at all times.
Physician answering services are highly responsive and can help elevate your facility’s professional image.
Establishing a Personal Connection with Patients
Speaking directly to a live agent also helps to establish a more personal connection with patients. In addition to delivering professional and courteous customer service, live agents also address patients by name and ask them specific questions to gain better insight into their medical history, which can prove to be very useful later on.
Looking for professional medical answering services in Toronto and the GTA? At 3C Contact Services, our reputation for being one of the top customer service agencies in North America precedes us. We provide top-notch responsive and reliable medical answering services for hospitals, doctors’ offices, walk-in clinics, and other healthcare facilities. Contact us today to learn more.