How Do Answering Services Handle Emergency Calls?

Posted by Olovanderson on July 4th, 2018

Doctors who are on call all day can be an overwhelming experience for hospital owners. When you hire an answering service to help take care of high call volumes and after hours calling, it can save your from being exhausted and burned out.

However, some hospital owners worry that even with live call answering services, patients who work with doctors and that have emergencies will not get the care that they need. But fear not, as the best healthcare answering services can also handle emergency calls, regardless of the severity of the case or what the time of day is. Call representatives understand that calls with emergency inquiries are to be taken very seriously.

While call representatives do their best to answer emergency calls in a calm, professional manner, not every call will be forwarded to your office or to your emergency contact specialist. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Many patients that have emergencies can be taken care of with basic customer service skills.

Simply talking to another human being helps to calm the nerves of the patient, and it can help determine whether or not the situation is serious as the patient thinks or is something that can wait until the following day. Patients often assume that they have a case that is more severe than what is actually the case and a call to your answering service can be convenient for them as well as helpful to you when the case is nothing more than a mild case or a false alarm.

For every emergency call that the best healthcare answering services answer, the trained call representative will remember a simple process to help determine whether or not the caller needs emergency services.

The representative first greets the patient with the name of the medical practice, so that they let the patient know that they dialed the right number. If you provide the answering service with special instructions for how you want to greet patients, they will more likely than not be included in their greeting to the patient.

Next, the representative finds out about why the patient is calling. Even if the patient feels panicked or spooked, they ask “How can we help you?” rather than “What is your emergency?” like a 9-1-1 call. This is because not all patients might not be in a life-or-death scenario, and those that feel like they are can be calmed down by asking them this curious question. By receiving information from the patient, they can make a decision on what the patient needs the most and determine whether or not emergency services are warranted.

If the patient appears to be in a true, critical situation, the call will be either be forwarded to your office or your personal phone number, where you will talk to the patient directly. At this point in the call, the answering service is no longer involved and you will be taking care of the patient in the best way that you know how.

Callers that aren’t in any serious emergencies are added to the call log the following morning, and this log includes their name, phone number, and the reason why they called. Keeping these calls logged will help weed out serious calls from less serious calls moving forward.

Emergency calls are always serious and should be treated as such. That is why it is necessary to hire an answering service that can take after hours emergency calls so that you do not need to worry about patients until there is a real emergency.

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Joined: January 5th, 2018
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