Phones in Medical Practices
Doctors, Dentists, Optometrists, veterinarian
When we call our doctors, we like to speak to someone in person. One thing we find in medical practices is the peculiar absence of voicemail.
With the offices we support, 80% of the phone volume is calls coming in. People call to make and update appointments, ask about perscriptions, and sometimes just to hear a caring voice.
Call handling has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Features found in large multi-national call centers have found their way down to local businesses.
Automatic Call Distribution (Call Queues)
Medical offices always have one or more phones that always ring. When a patient calls in, its these phones that are answered. There are often additional phones in the support area that do not ring. This is where staff go to do paperwork for the practice. Call queues allow you to temporarily accept calls on these phones with just a press of a button. When the practice gets extra busy or when the front desk is understaffed, this can be a real boost in responding to patients.
Marketing Messages on Hold.
Holding is a fact of life when calling a medical office. When a patient calls in, usually the phone rings a couple times so the front desk can answer it. When the practice is busy, the caller is either immediately put on hold, or sent to a welcome message. This is essential. We’ve found that today, callers do not wait more than three rings before hanging up. If the call is handled by a person or automated, they’ll stay longer. The welcome message goes something like this. “Thank you for calling Helia Health. We’re experincing more calls than usual and we’ll be with you as soon as possible” After this, we play some background music peppered with messages about regular hours, special services that are provided by the practice, and policies like, “Perscription cannot be renewed over the phone”
We have these messages recorded by a professional voice actor who adds the professional aire and with background music that best suites your practice.
After Hour Emergency Contact and Forwarding to Cell Phones
For medical practices, the after hours messages states “If this is an emergency, dial 911”. For other practices, a message can be added like, “If this is an an emergency, press 1 to be forwarded to the doctor.” To reduce nuisance call, another feature called a black-list can be added and automatic forward some callers to voicemail. The caller ID on your cell phone can be modified to identify the call as an emergency.
Fax to Email
The practices we work with are still largely on paper. When a fax comes it, it may need to be printed – but often not. Fax-to-email reduces the paper at the practice as all faxes show up in an email box. They can either be printed or simply forwarded as an email, or deleted.
Advanced Call Routing.
Until recently, running multiple practices on a single phone system was difficult if not impossible. The practices needed to share common numbers, have limited lines or buy more expensive digital lines. Today with commercial SIP lines, its possible to give each doctor their own phone number that can be personnally answered by the front desk.
These features are common on current generation phone systems. To find out how you can improve the efficency of your practice and better handle your call volume, send us an email or a quick call.
Helia provides phone systems and managed technology support for businesses in the Calgary area. We would enjoy the opportunity to serve your practice and help you get more out of the technology you already have.
To find out more, visit us at: www.heliatech.ca/practices
Call our Specialist. He can be reached at: