Medical doctors, physicians and other medical personnel and staff know that taking care of their patients is a duty that is entrusted solely to them. It is a very big responsibility to be in charge of someone else’s medical well-being. When after-hours phone calls are received at medical establishments the issue can often times be a matter of life or death. Even though people are repeatedly told to dial 911 if they have a true emergency some people want to check in with their doctors first. This is when even seconds count and can mean the difference between life and death. With this in mind are healthcare call centers really the most effective way to handle after-hours patient calls? Or is there a better and more efficient way to meet patient’s needs?
The Problem with Call Centers
The trouble with call centers is that they are very often understaffed and overworked. The employees receive no special training to handle emergency calls. Sometimes these types of jobs are farmed out to other countries and the people answering the phones may not even speak clear and understandable English. This can be very distressing to the patients. When people call and are having an emergency or are worried about something there is always a chance of vital information not being understood or not getting passed along to the physician on call. This can lead to poor patient care or even put the patient’s life in jeopardy. There is also a larger chance of human error when dealing with crisis situations and the call center employee will often put through calls that are not emergent because they are afraid of missing something or the caller made the situation sound more desperate than it was. Human error is very high with call centers.
The Rise of Automated Answering Service
Automated answering services take the guess work out of determining which calls to put through to the on call doctor and which can wait until the next day. They can be customized to meet the expectations of the medical personnel. Automated answering services are better able to triage calls and determine which ones need immediate attention. They eliminate human error and provide peace of mind to the medical professionals knowing that they will only get the calls that matter most. Patients also appreciate automated answering service because they know that the doctors will get their message in its entirety and they don’t have to rely on an outside person to get in touch with their doctor for them.