There are many considerations that are to be made when considering a physician answering service. It would be helpful to pinpoint and elucidate the three most important factors to consider when choosing and shopping for a medical answering service.
The first factor is price. Not simply the price however. The entire quoted package must be taken into consideration. What is covered? What’s the duration of the contract? How long is the pricing in effect. What are the details? And another thing to be certain of r3egarding the cost is the call volume. How many calls do you estimate will be made in a given month? Examine past phone records to get an idea on the call volume expected. Try to gage this call volume correctly. It will save headaches in the long run. Another thing to watch out for is the pricing model. Is it per call or per minute? In general most clients consider a per call cost model easier to monitor. Your medical practice may be different. Pick the pricing model that will be easiest for your practice to track and monitor. Don’t underestimate the call time either. That’s a common mistake that get’s made.
A second area of consideration when choosing a physician answering service is the service itself, namely the people answering the calls. This may be a tough thing to gage. It may be possible to call the service as a patient if you are up for engaging in a bit of detective work. This type of research may be worth it. You really do want to have a good feeling of the service philosophy and techniques of the medical answering service you are considering. Of course you can simply evaluate the service provided by the sales representatives you talk to when doing your questioning. Anyone you talk to, sales rep, account manager, etc really is representing the answering service and no doubt is a good indicator of the type of service your patients will receive.
Another major consideration when choosing you doctor answering service is the capability of the service. How up to date is the service. How up to date is the technology? Is call answering automated? Will patients be expected to navigate through an endless series of “press 1 to do this, press 2 for that” directions? Patients in need will likely be quite annoyed by this. This is something to consider. Is the service integrated with the internet? Can patients send emails? Are only calls allowed. Are doctors expected to answer emails? Can the service handle most of the emails? Is a web enabled answering service something your practice is set up to handle and take advantage of? Is you patient base able to take advantage of a fully modernized physicians answering service?
Finding and choosing the right answering service for your medical facility is a major decision. With so many considerations that are in the table it may be confusing at times. Focusing on these three major areas may help you focus and find the right medical answering service that fits your practice and style.