The importance of a medical office answering service

by | Mar 25, 2014 | Healthcare Systems

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A medical office is staffed by a whole host of professional people; medical doctors, nurses, therapists are but a few. With this being the case, it is fair to say that when these people leave the office at the end of the day that the medical office answering service who takes the calls until the office reopens should also be professionals in what they do.

Illness is not something that can be contained into office hours, when a patient calls the medical office in the middle of the night he or she expects the call to be answered quickly in a friendly but professional manner. The people answering the calls need sufficient skill to triage the calls as they come in, separating calls from patients with acute need from those that are not urgent. For those calls that appear to need urgent attention, the doctor should be notified immediately and be given distinct and pertinent information on the patient and the condition.

Because the medical profession tends to use a great deal of jargon, much of which is not something easily understood by many people who are outside the medical field, there is always a risk that the call will be answered by someone who does not have the requisite skills to make the decisions that need to be made, this can easily result in an unacceptable delay in providing the patient with the immediate care that is needed. Conversely, if the operator feels that every call is urgent, then the doctor will be constantly interrupted for reasons that can be dealt with during office hours.

As important as professional, friendly and competent people are, the doctor must always keep his eye on costs. Operating a medical office is by no means cheap; there is an abundance of highly skilled and qualified staff plus a great deal of sophisticated equipment that must be paid for. Although the doctor does not want to deny his patients the best, it is important that cost control be observed.

Another thing that must be taken into account is the differences in the way any doctor provides care for his patients, a good answering service must respect this and follow suit. When the doctor chooses his or her medical office answering service there is usually a need for some degree of customization.

The bottom line is quite simple; the answering service must always make sure the doctor gets urgent calls; the doctor must also feel comfortable that non urgent call information will reach the office the following morning and that the patients will be treated as well at night as they are during the day.

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