How to Better Manage Patient Phone Calls

Don't take patient calls.

Manage Patient Phone Calls to Deliver a Better Experience

Your medical practice can see hundreds of patients each day. Due to the number of patients who require assistance, your in-house staff may quickly find themselves overwhelmed when trying to manage patient phone calls

Furthermore, allocating members of your medical staff to provide customer service can decrease practice productivity and the quality of care. A medical answering service allows health care providers to focus on what matters most—their patients.

People are constantly seeking the expertise of medical practitioners to stay healthy. Healthcare providers often find it difficult to handle phone lines while also focusing on their patients and growing their medical facility. So how can medical practices handle incoming calls and appointment scheduling while improving doctor-patient communication?

Additional Reading: How To Improve Doctor Patient Communication – WSJ

Managing Patient Phone Calls

A medical answering service is the best solution for professionals in the healthcare industry looking to improve patient satisfaction. Physician answering services will manage calls from patients allowing practitioners to better allocate their time to high-value activities within the practice.

Of course, this is not a new type of service, but not all answering services are prepared to manage patient phone calls. HIPAA compliance is a key component. As stated on HHS.gov, HIPAA “establishes a national set of security standards for protecting certain health information that is held or transferred in electronic form.”

Read the summary of HIPAA Security Rules at HHS.gov

In other words, patient privacy is essential and the technology that transfers personal data needs to be secured. This is precisely the reason companies that offer a medical answering service are required to always have equipment and software updated and to ensure ongoing training for their virtual medical receptionists.

One Solution for Multiple Communication Needs

Every office has its unique communication needs. This calls for a careful understanding of protocols to establish the best answering solution for your practice.

To understand and implement an excellent solution, the right answering service will require knowledge of the medical field and related processes and protocols.

Custom communication solutions will allow you to have your own protocol for how your patient inbound calls are managed and processed. In addition, other options are available to support your office such as overflow service.

Trained Virtual Receptionists

When you work with a medical answering service, you work with agents trained to specifically manage patient phone calls and the data associated with each call while maintaining proper medical office phone etiquette. Thus, the services are an extension of your front office.

The dedicated team is carefully screened and trained to manage a variety of incoming telephone calls, including urgent patient phone calls. The rigorous training includes the proper use of medical terminologies and federal rules including HIPAA regulations governing the healthcare field. Their knowledge is updated on a normal basis since these regulations change from time to time.

Doctors have the assurance there are no violations of HIPAA norms, as these are stringently followed. Patient-related vital information is handled with utmost care. Secured encrypting assures the safe passing of patient information.

Technology at Its Heart

State-of-the-art technologies provide excellent call quality, messaging, routing, and follow-up. Proper care is taken to install power backup arrangements. This allows for 100% up-time of service. Call management comes with analysis and reporting tools.

Technology gives medical practitioners the opportunity to list the steps to screen calls. Agents then determine what types of calls should be put right through to the physician. Communications are delivered in various formats, including text messages, voice, email, and more.

Both Patient and Doctor’s Most Valuable Resource – Time

A medical answering service provides doctors and patients with more time. This procedure frees up doctors to focus on patient care while patients have a 24-hour open line of communication. Processes are designed to be convenient, save time, and increase productivity.

For the callers, an immediate live response reassures them that help is always available. They can call during regular office hours to schedule appointments and get the answers they need but also outside business hours if your practice decides to work with a 24-hour medical call center. Patient calls will be escalated in case of emergencies. Reaching the right person quickly is critical for exceptional service.

Hire the Right Service to Manage Patient Phone Calls

It is common for people to think that any answering service can manage patient phone calls. A medical answering service for doctors offers much more than a business answering service. They might be similar regarding benefits and advantages, but what makes them different is the kind of situations being managed. Patients’ health, well-being, and data are at stake.

If you are considering a medical answering service, take your time and understand their capabilities and knowledge. Use these common questions to help when hiring a service.

  • Are they truly a medical answering service?
  • Is this a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine answering service?
  • How many years of experience do they have in managing patient calls?
  • Do they have any reputable clients as references?
  • What medical software experience do they have?
  • Do they charge by call or by live agent talk time?
  • Are there any hidden or additional costs?
  • Are there setup fees?

About Unicom Teleservices

Professional answering service company located in Chicago, Illinois. Our professional answering service offers live agents 24 / 7 / 365. We never close.

For 25 years, Unicom has worked with companies large and small to discuss their needs. Understanding their processes allows us to determine how we can deliver value.

Simply request an answering service quote. Together we can determine if we are a good fit to manage patient phone calls.

 

Post Update: The article was updated on May 20th, 2023, originally published on December 20th, 2016. It has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.