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Medical Practice 101 - Keep Patients Happy With Virtual Receptionist Services

Apr 1, 2008
No matter how efficient your medical practice may be, a live front desk receptionist cannot always be available to your patients. There will be times when your medical clinic receptionist or office assistant will be either busy or out to lunch, not to mention the hours when your office is closed.

From the caller's point of view, there is a matter that needs to be addressed... and no one is there. Furthermore, when a caller would like to schedule a simple appointment or inquire about office hours, it can be annoying to hear the phone ring incessantly, or to get an answering machine message. And in the case of an emergency, the patient may just seek another more available health care provider.

One possible solution is to outsource a human remote receptionist service. This option can be affordable but inadequate when the remote receptionist does little more than take a message and/or give out very basic information. A more specialized or trained part-time receptionist might be better at meeting your patients' needs, but this daily expense can have a negative impact on your total revenue. Moreover, in an emergency, even the best-trained after hours staff can do little more than relay your message to the doctor only to have to wait for his or her response.

Why not provide your patients with the services of a virtual medical office receptionist?

When live staff is not available, most patients would prefer to have their needs met by an automated system that can immediately perform the task at hand. Rather than have to wait to call during office hours, a patient can schedule an appointment over the Web or on the phone with a 24/7 backup receptionist. But, you may ask, what if there is an emergency? Surely, it must be irritating to be unable to reach a live medical staff member. Many virtual receptionists are able to route urgent phone calls to a live staff member. In the case of a dire emergency, the patient can even be connected directly to the doctor.

With the aid of virtual receptionists, many of the tasks performed by medical office receptionists are now being accomplished faster, at a fraction of the cost. The online service requires no install or in-house maintenance, as well. A virtual receptionist can answer phones, schedule and cancel appointments, place reminder calls, take voice mail, or direct emergency calls to a medical staff member-24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As a result, the receptionist can focus on receiving patients, pulling medical records, filing insurance paperwork, and answering the phone. Patients feel that their needs are being met, whether they are in the office, or on the phone. Furthermore, some types of software allow for 24/7 medical reception services over the Internet.

Consider installing an automated 24/7 medical reception system in your office or private medical practice. The more choices your patients have, the better service they will receive. With services they can trust, your patients will be likely to return for more follow-up visits and regular check-ups.
About the Author
This article is number one in a series by Aubrey Andrew about Medical Receptionist, Answing Service and Online Scheduling. Additional resources and articles written by Aubrey Andrew related to Medical Practices Efficiency are accessible on line.
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