No matter which field you specialize in, medicine never truly rests. Even if you don’t work in an emergency department, there are many reasons why your patients could require attention after hours.
If you’re focused on making sure that your medical practice thrives, you need to adopt modern strategies that can help you maintain good communication with every patient. Communication is one of the most important factors in any patient-physician relationship, and it makes it easier to maintain a level of care that can satisfy your patients’ needs.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that only some seasons are more complicated than others. For example, we all know that the holidays can be extremely busy for medical centers — people are driving home in bad weather, decorating their home or doing repairs, eating large amounts of food, and it’s easy to see how this translates into more consultations and phone calls to their doctor.
It’s important to stay prepared year-round
The truth is, every calendar season has days that are busier than others. Certain health issues are characteristic of each season. Some medical conditions that can be associated with different seasons include:
- Spring: allergies, asthma, Lyme disease, sports injuries, common colds, flu, insect bites, among others.
- Summer: sunburns, sports injuries, insect bites, food poisoning, heat stroke, dehydration, allergies, waterborne infections, water accidents, poisonous plant rashes, fungal skin infections, among others.
- Fall: Lyme disease, common cold, arthritis flare ups, norovirus, among others.
- Winter: motor vehicle accidents, home accidents, flu, pneumonia, bronchitis, throat infections, heart attacks, arthritis flare ups, common cold, norovirus, seasonal depression, among others.
As you can see, there are certain health issues that could keep your clinic busy year-round.
And that’s before we start thinking about disaster preparedness! Certain areas are more prone to suffering from natural disasters and emergencies during specific times of the year, which often results in increased demand for medical attention.
Whether it’s wildfires that trigger your patient’s asthma attacks, skin conditions after flash floods, cuts and bruises sustained during emergencies, or even increased anxiety after a disaster has passed, seasonal natural disasters increase the burden of disease in the communities that they have affected.
As a result, it’s no surprise that many medical offices receive more calls and inquiries during specific times of the year. If you’re also dealing with a waiting room that’s full of patients and a schedule packed with consultations and procedures, it can be hard to stay on top of comparatively “unimportant” tasks, such as taking phone calls.
But by now, we all know that even the responsibilities that seem trivial can significantly impact your practice’s performance and reputation — for better or worse.
And that’s why it’s still so important to make sure that phone calls are still being answered while you and your staff work tirelessly to provide medical attention to other patients. People can call your practice for any number of reasons; they may want to schedule or cancel appointments, ask about pricing, or inquire about the services you offer.
Whenever you miss a phone call, you risk alienating a potential patient or giving a bad impression to your regulars. If it only happens once, the harm won’t be too great; but if this becomes a common occurrence, many patients may become dissatisfied and look elsewhere for medical care.
How to keep a thriving practice throughout the year
In addition to guaranteeing that your practice provides high quality medical care everyday, you also need to think about finding ways to improve other areas of service — including phone attention.
Something as simple as ensuring that each phone call is answered without delay can make a big difference in your patients’ experience with your clinic.
An easy and affordable way to improve your phone attention is by hiring a virtual answering service. These services allow you to work with professional customer service operators to create a virtual, remote call center for your practice.
Virtual answering services can work 24/7 and are capable of handling various tasks, which include:
- Scheduling consultations
- Tracking cancellations
- Rescheduling appointments
- Taking and transferring messages
- Sending appointment reminders
- Providing information about pricing
- Delivering lab results
- Supplying post-discharge care information
The operators who work with virtual answering services are professional and receive extensive training before they start to interact with callers. Great call centers are also HIPAA compliant to ensure that your patients’ confidentiality always comes first. Providing high quality service will help ensure that your practice is able to focus on patients at all times to make it easier to thrive and grow.