Choosing the right service
Searching for the right physician answering service may initially feel like a daunting task and can be a costly one if you are not familiar with some of the key questions that need to be asked before making a decision. You will undoubtedly want the people who will be answering the phones on your behalf to be professional and knowledgeable about the specifics of your particular office. Since your needs and the circumstances of your office can change from day to day, you will also require a service that will be flexible in accommodating your requests.
When contacting any of the many physician answering service always ask for referrals and make a point of contacting them. Always try to get referrals of clients that are as close to your type of practice as possible. When doing your research another key question should be about the features their service provides. The more reputable companies use only state-of-the art computerized systems and will be able to offer options such as e-mail, text messaging, paging, web access, etc.
If there are physician answering service providers that are located close by, it is a good idea to visit their offices in person. You want to be greeted professionally and by staff that are pleasant and well dressed. Take a good look around the area where the staff answer the phones for if it is clean and organized this will speak volumes about how they regard their staff. Do the people seem happy and friendly when taking calls? The things you observe and the way you are treated will tell you a lot about the company.
A physician answering service that is privately owned and where the owner is involved in the day-to-day functions of the office will likely have a more vested interest in maintaining a professional operation. When speaking to the owner or representative ask if they can give you a free trial to see if their service is a good fit for you. Make sure you discuss and minor issue that may come up during the trial period, as this will be a good indication of how seriously they view customer relations. Make sure that the company has a reliable contingency plan in case of computer failure and find out how often they perform a back up and whether or not they store their data off site.
Always keep in mind that the people answering the phone are the first person your patients and possible future clients will come in contact with. It is important that they be highly trained in the particulars of your office and are able to communicate not only with patients but other physicians, specialists, labs, pharmacies, etc., with professionalism and high degree of knowledge.
When browsing through the many companies that offer physician answering service look for testimonials from their current clients and ask if you can speak to some of them. Also make certain you get very specific details on the prices that you are quoted. Although an initial price may seem terrific, there may be hidden costs in the attractive “by the minute” quotes such as extra billing while your patient is on hold or even the time it takes them to send you a fax.
Physician answering service can be a vital component of helping you to manage your time and in growing your business. Do your research and get all the information you need in allowing you to make the right choice for your office.