Anyone who works in a medical office is familiar with the intense hustle and bustle of everyday activities. Regardless of specialty – from family medicine to dermatology – running a medical office entails taking care of many obligations, which can range from simple task to complex activities.
And it is not just the physicians who are usually busy in a medical office. Receptionists, assistants, and other members of staff also have plenty of obligations to fulfill in order to make sure that everything is running smoothly and according to plan.
On any given day, the staff at a medical office have to take of tasks that include:
- Greeting patients and visitors
- Notifying physicians of patients’ arrivals, delays, and cancellations
- Responding to inquiries
- Updating or including certain patient information on their files
- Registering new patients and updating patient information and demographics
- Ensuring that each supply is adequately stocked
- Reaching out to providers when needed
- Handling bills and collections
- Maintaining different areas of the office clean and organized
- Protecting patient confidentiality
- Handling paperwork
- Answering phone calls and taking messages using proper etiquette
With all these tasks having to be carried out every day, it is easy to see why it is so easy for staff to feel stressed, overworked, and grumpy. But as healthcare providers, we need to remember just how important it is for patients to feel understood, valued, and cared for.
In any medical setting, patients are coming to you in a vulnerable position. They are trusting you – and by extension, your staff – with their health and wellbeing. When you are a patient, the last thing you want or need is to be treated rudely by the staff that should be helping with your care.
Having overwhelmed members of staff who are unable to properly help you look after your patients can even result in lower profits. If your receptionist, for example, is grumpy at work every day and greets potential patients in a rude and unprofessional manner, it is not very likely that these individuals would want to actually book an appointment or use your services.
If your staff is working under excessive stress, they will probably also be less efficient. Rather than working smoothly to take appointments, notify you of any patient delays, and handle cancellations, your overworked staff will be unable to maximize the efficiency of your practice by maintaining a carefully updated schedule. You might face delays during consultations because your staff hasn’t had time to handle paperwork, or maybe lose potential patients because the receptionist never picked up their phone call.
Unfortunately, hiring new staff is not an option for many small medical offices. The process of advertising for a position, holding interviews, and training a new employee can be very expensive and in some cases, it might not lead to the desired results.
But modern solutions, such as outsourcing, can be extremely helpful in these cases. One of the easiest ways in which you can reduce your staff’s workload and provide a friendly, open line of communication for patients and callers is by hiring a virtual answering service.
A virtual answering service allows you to hire operators who can take each phone call and handle issues and inquiries in a professional, warm manner. Companies provide operators who are professional, fully-trained, and who work from many different time zones to ensure that your phone never goes unanswered.
A virtual receptionist can answer calls, handle appointments and cancellations, take messages, contact providers, and follow up on patients. If they take a message, you can choose how it will be transmitted to your staff – email? Text? It’s your choice! Operators can also transfer calls to your on-site staff or even directly to you when needed. By hiring a virtual receptionist service, you will be able to maintain an efficient schedule that maximizes your time and profits.
Additionally, hiring this service will take a huge load off your employees’ shoulders. They won’t have to worry about answering phone calls anymore, so they will be able to devote all their attention to their on-site tasks without having to worry about answering the phone or checking the voicemail. Your patients will walk through the door and find friendly, happy, professional, and well-mannered staff waiting to greet them.
Outsourcing a virtual answering service is an affordable alternative that will not only improve the way your office handles phone calls; it will also help create a warm and happy environment that will make patients feel confident about choosing you to take the best care of them.