Improve Client Retention Through an After Hours Medical Answering Service

For a doctors office, most patients expect a certain level of interest. A rushed or hurried experience is a sure fire way to display a lack of interest in a patient’s health. Your medical practice can benefit from a reduction in time consuming tasks that can easily be outsourced to a HIPAA compliant medical answering service. This reduction in ‘busy work’ will directly impact your business and free up staff to devote a little more time to each patient. This translates to a significantly improved patient experience.

What Does an After Hours Medical Answering Service Do?

An after hours medical answering service allows your patients to contact your medical practice outside of normal business hours. Instead of a medical practice hiring a second administrative team to work the nightshift, they outsource the duties to a third-party. The third-party’s friendly team of trained professionals answer your phones and provide your patients with an agreed-upon menu of services while your offices are closed.

The services an after hours call answering service provides will depend on the provider’s service menu, training, and the services you want available to your patients. Reputable 24/7 medical answering services provide the following services to their clients:

  • Translation services and bilingual services
  • Medical Answering & Appointment Scheduling
  • Labs
  • Customized consults as per agreed-upon physician protocols
  • Message dispatching
  • Assisting patients as per the practice protocols

Reputable after hours call answering services can offer these services – rather than simply taking messages, because they are HIPAA compliant. Their staff will also regularly undergo advanced training to ensure your clients experience the same level of care and expertise they would speaking to your team.

What Are the Benefits of Using a 24/7 Medical Answering Service?

The main benefit of using a 24/7 medical answering service is that you can provide your patients with a higher level of care than your competitors. Illness and injury don’t wait for business hours to strike your patients, so being available to them around the clock allows them to access healthcare they trust when illness or injury strikes. They don’t have to wait until you open in the morning or seek medical attention elsewhere. In fact, you will always be their first call.

Patient convenience is an overlooked metric for medical providers, but a 2022 survey conducted by the Harris Poll shows that convenience was one of the leading factors that would lead patients to switch their primary care provider.

Don’t frustrate your patients

The study highlighted patient frustration in having to find time to call to ask medical questions, get test results, and pay their medical bills. 61% of the survey respondents said that they would like to see healthcare providers prioritize convenience in the same way that Amazon or Uber do. An after hours medical answering service helps you to offer this convenience without sacrificing the personal touch that your clients value.

These two benefits to your patients – care and convenience, translate into higher client retention for your medical practice. Your clients know that no matter what time they call, they will be greeted by a friendly professional who cares about their health and wellbeing. The after hours medical answering service can schedule appointments, share the patient’s labs, and answer simple queries. They operate as a Tier 1 Helpdesk for your practice and answer questions as per your practice protocols.

What Is the Difference Between an After Hours Call Answering Service and Using Technology?

The benefits above can also be achieved through providing technology that allows your patients to self-schedule appointments and access their labs through their user account. Using an after hours medical answering service does provide a number of advantages over software.

Personal Touch

Many of your patients simply prefer human interaction, especially regarding their health. They want to be able to ask questions and receive personalized responses. This applies across all patient demographics, not just the older generations. Speaking to a human provides your patients with reassurance and trust.

Low Cost

A 24/7 medical answering service is very low cost. There are no hidden costs involved in training your staff or creating resources to help your patients use the technology. The after hours medical answering service offers a seamless experience for your team and patients.


Technology has come a long way, but the main drawback of technology is it is only as good as the operator. Using software to provide out-of-hours access creates frustration for your patients that struggle to learn new technology. There is also the risk of glitches, errors, and outages, causing frustration even for the technology savants. This frustration becomes associated with your medical practice and the level of service you provide, even if the glitches are not your fault.

How to Choose an After Hours Call Answering Service

If you’re planning to look into an after hours medical answering service for your business, here are some things to consider:

  • The services your practice provides during business hours
  • The services you want to provide after hours
  • Your budget
  • The needs of your patients (e.g. language needs or specialized training)
  • Your practice’s customer service standards

These are factors you can use to compare the various 24/7 medical answering services you are considering. Remember to ask about their process and how they tailor their services to fit your protocols and standards. Reputable after hours call answering services will work with you to understand what you want their team to handle and what you want them to pass to your team or advise your patients to contact emergency services.

The purpose of an after hours medical answering service is to allow your business to serve your patients to a high standard at all hours of the day or night. Therefore, it is worth the effort to find a provider you trust and who is willing to spend time learning about your medical practice and the patients you serve.

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