Mistakes In Selecting Physicians Answering Services

by | Feb 9, 2016 | Healthcare

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Perception is important in business, and what medical offices and medical office managers may assume or perceive has a big impact on the services they choose. For example, some medical office managers make several mistakes when choosing after hours answering services that can end up costing the clinic or medical office thousands of dollars per year.

To help understand the common mistakes in choosing physicians answering services, let’s look at three common misperceptions in a more detailed way.

People won’t talk to Machines
There has been a long-standing opinion, which is not correct, that indicates that people calling into a doctor’s office after hours want to talk to a live human being. If you stop to think about it in your own experience, it is much more comfortable to leave a private message about an emergency or non-emergency medical issue than to try to explain details to a perfect stranger.

To make things more complicated, the third-party or call center types of physicians answering services often ask patients for more details. Not only is this going to make the patient uncomfortable, but it may also violate HIPPA compliance.

Patients will Over Report Emergencies
Interestingly enough, physician’s offices that switch from live call center phone in services to virtual answering systems actually see a drop in the number of on-call emergency communications.

This is because people, when given the option to choose an emergency or a non-emergency message, are more likely to avoid over-reporting. On the other hand, a non-medically trained operator is more likely to call the doctor, which results it increased costs to your medical practice and increased doctor frustration.

Humans make the Extra Effort
Another common mistake is the belief that a human being will make every effort to get hold of the doctor in an emergency situation. In fact, at a call center, an operator can be overwhelmed with incoming calls, resulting in people put on hold, dropped calls and even forgotten calls to the on-call doctor.

The physicians answering services that are operated by virtual technology will continue to call a doctor, move to the next physician on-call, and keep repeating the call-out procedure in seconds after the patient message until it is answered. This eliminates the human mistake factor, and also ensures that the doctor hears the information within seconds of the message, something no live operator system can guarantee.

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