Medical emergencies can’t wait, especially if they are life-threatening. A patient with a medical emergency after your medical office’s operating hours doesn’t have time to leave a message and get a response the next morning. Medical emergencies happen without warning and at any time of day or night. Just because your medical office is closed, doesn’t provide an adequate excuse to not offer essential assistance to your patient.
Here are a few tips to make sure you make the most of your after-hours emergency medical service that will provide peace of mind to distressed patients while helping your office to be there to provide assistance when it’s most needed.
Prompt, Accurate Service
For many medical offices, there is a pre-made script that operators read. When you create your script, you need to be familiar with the information your patients are going to want to know. Your script should directly connect patients to the appropriate person.
The first thing on your script needs to be some sort of identification of your office. Patients with a medical emergency need to know that they are calling a medical office. If it is a life-threatening emergency, tell the patient to call 9-1-1 immediately.
Some medical offices have after-hour nurses on-call either in a call-center environment or have their phone service connected to the nurses’ personal cellphones. Smaller medical offices may have their doctors on-call after hours where patient calls go directly to the doctor’s cell phone. In a medical emergency, a patient needs to be directly connected to someone who can help.
For fast service, an after-hour medical answering service should have a menu that presents the caller with options to best address their emergency medical needs. After the initial greeting where your medical office is mentioned and the prompt to call 9-1-1 if the medical emergency is life-threatening, the patient should be directly re-directed to a nurse or doctor who can provide medical assistance.
Filter Medical Emergency Calls
Your after-hours medical emergency phone system also needs to take into account that some patients calling with a medical emergency actually aren’t experiencing an emergency. These patients that misdiagnose the severity of their medical condition can inadvertently take up needed time with the nurses or doctor that someone else desperately needs. To make sure the time of limited personnel is properly allocated to patients with urgent medical needs, nurses, and operators should follow a script that asks specific questions about the patient’s medical emergency to determine if it really is an emergency. If it is not an emergency, the nurse answering the call can either schedule an appointment for the patient or connect the patient to the doctor’s voicemail so they can leave a message.
Many things happen in a medical office. Setting up appointments for patients and answering their medical questions is only the beginning and it often isn’t enough. You should work with a medical office answering service that can greatly improve your patient relations. Doctor answering services today can allow patients to make appointments, get automated health record information, medical procedure cost estimates and teleconferencing with their doctors to discuss their health prognosis.
Giving patients quicker access to needed information will take away the stress from the office so medical personnel can provide their full attention to the medical needs of patients who are in the office.
When you select a reputable answering service you can be assured that you will provide your patients with the service they need by giving you, the medical office staff, the help you need.