How to Decide When a Medical Call Center is Necessary

Although having your calls forwarded to a medical call center may seem like an inconvenience to patients, there are circumstances under which contracting a call center could be advantageous to both your practice and patients.

With call center services, patient calls and messages are first directed to an off-site operator who then screens the call before directing it to your practice. This brings with it significant benefits in terms of increasing staff productivity and, surprisingly, patient satisfaction.

Today, we’ll highlight four warning signs to look for to determine if contracting a medical call center may be right for you.

Bogged Down in Patient Calls

Practices with large patient bases often receive an overwhelming amount of calls during office hours, which can tie up phone lines and leave frustrated patients on hold for extended periods of time. Medical call centers help ease staff and patient grievances by filtering calls and answering simple questions.

When patients are directed to a call center, the operator determines the reason for the call.  If the call isn’t for an urgent matter, say a prescription refill request for instance, the operator takes a message and forwards it to your practice for later review.

You can also provide the call center with a script that helps them answer simple questions like office hours and practice address. This saves your staff from spending valuable time on the phone with patients for menial tasks.

Mitigate After-Hours Calls

Patients have needs at all times of the day, including after office hours. For practices that receive many after-hours calls, going through messages the next day can sometimes take hours.

Medical call centers typically have 24-hour service, so patients are always able to speak with a live person. Call center operators act as receptionists by recording messages and directing them to the appropriate staff member or physician. This makes it so no staff member has to listen to, document and direct messages, and can instead focus on other tasks.

Staffing Costs Hurting Profitability

Medical call centers allow you to cut down on staffing costs altogether by supplementing front-office employees. Instead of having an employee dedicated to answering phone calls and taking messages, the duty can be outsourced to a call center.

Rather than having a salary on the books for a receptionist, you only pay a monthly rate for the call center’s services. But keep in mind call centers typically offer different price points dependent upon the services you choose, so choose the ones that offer the best value to your practice.

Many Bilingual Patients, No Bilingual Staff

Depending on the location of your practice, there may be a large minority population in the area who doesn’t speak English as a first language. If no one on staff happens to be bilingual, there can be a disconnect over the phone resulting in errors like scheduling patients for the wrong type of exam.

A medical call center offering bilingual services helps your practice overcome language barriers. Messages are translated and delivered to your practice, making things easier for you and your patients.

If you’ve noticed any of the above warning signs at your practice, a medical call center should be a serious consideration. Just make sure to do your research, as there are plenty of call centers out there vying for your services. It’ll help ensure you choose the best phone solution for your practice.

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