Article provided by: No More Phone Tag, Inc.
A doctor is supposed to be on call 24/7 ready to make sense of and wipe away patients’ worries and that of their families. And yet it’s been long accepted that doctors in the new millennium do not give out their numbers, making it hard for patients to get in touch with them when they need to.
In fact, it’s part of many a stand-up comedians’ material how every doctor is deathly afraid of those patients who ask for his number.
And so it is that when patients call with their questions, they get the brush-off from the secretary or get the office answering machine. At the same time, it’s nerve-wracking for a doctor to be woken up in the middle of the night especially after being on hospital duty for 48 hours straight or more. Or to be taken away from his minimal family time by a paranoid patient whose concern had already been addressed in his or her checkup just a few hours ago.
What the doctor and the patients need is a specialized kind of med answering service. One that can be relied on to serve their distinct needs — to appease the patients’ concerns and protect the doctors’ privacy. But it should not be seen as anything so simplistic. There’s so much more than this that a med answering service needs to be.
What is it?
A med answering service should correctly recognize urgency. All calls need to be passed on to the corresponding medical officers. But it should be able to accurately judge whether a patient only needs to leave a message that the doctor can listen to at his leisure or whether the information needs to be passed on right away. These can quickly become life or death situations, and trained personnel will need to be the ones to decide this.
And to give the doctor a clear view of the patient’s concerns, it’s best that the doctor hear the patient’s message in her own words.
Factors to Look for When Getting a Med Answering Service
America has always been multi-lingual and many of the patients who will call — especially if they are already in a state of panic — will not be able to relay their concerns in English. A good med answering service needs to have multi-lingual personnel on hand to address this.
At the same time, there should be the standard confidentiality assurance for patients. After all, illnesses can be unique and be the subject of social media fodder can be uniquely embarrassing. A med answering service needs to be professional and reliable in this sense.
Finally, doctors will want to have value for money. It is always assumed that all doctors are well-off. But the truth is until they become topnotch specialists, they also worry about bills, one of them being the student loan they took out for their expensive medical school.
A good med answering service needs to be one that does not break the bank. A flat rate is the best so that both patients and doctors can communicate without limiting what they say. This can be very dangerous because the life-threatening parts of the conversation might be left out.