As a home health or hospice care provider, you know how much your patients and their families need you. You’re the one most able to help them get through each day of their difficult journey. They look to you for answers, wisdom, aid, support. Your presence means the world to them, and that’s something they can hold onto and focus on.
You can’t be with each patient and family all the time. Even when you’re on call, you may be helping someone else when another family’s call comes through. You know how hard it is for them to hear a machine greeting, enter a phone queue, or be re-routed through an automated system. We know that’s not the experience you want them to have, and so you’re considering hiring a professional answering service.
But what do you look for in a quality answering service that’s right for your business? That’s the best question you can ask. You may find it helpful to start by asking what your patients and their families would look for:
Personal Attention – When your clients feel stressed or unsure of what’s happening, they will want to talk to a real person. This is not the same as someone just jotting down a quick message. They need someone who will listen, give assurance, ask the right questions, and make them feel important.
Understanding – Your clients want to feel that they are talking with someone who represents you well. Someone who understands what they are going through. You need an answering service that has experience in working with medical situations and is sensitive to patient care.
Quick, Accurate Response – It’s important for your clients to know their information has been accurately recorded. They need an answering service that can quickly and accurately assess how to handle their call, and give them reliable options for follow-up. Your answering service really needs to feel like an extension of your office.
Reliability – When your patients are experiencing uncertainty, they need the assurance that their call is already being processed, and that they will get the response they need in a timely manner. An answering service with an excellent track record and reputation in home health and hospice care will provide this reliability for your clients and you.
We also know that you are running a business, and you need certain standards met as well:
Trustworthy Professionals – You want to be certain the representatives that interact with your patients and their families/caregivers on the phone are as trustworthy as any person who would work in your office.
Experience with Medical Calls – It’s vital to hire an answering service that has experience in handling medical situations by phone. In many instances, they are your first response. You need to feel worry-free about how they will process calls from your patients.
Ability to Distinguish Emergencies – When a loved one is going through health-related trauma, every many situations can feel like emergencies. We know you have to distinguish between actual urgent situation and other types of calls. You need an answering service that can accurately and sensitively assess the situation, and dispatch messages according to your own standards and needs.
Integration with Your Communication Style – Every professional has a different style of communicating. It’s important for you to find a home health and hospice answering service that will integrate well with the way you work and communicate. You need a dynamic and flexible answering service that can adapt to your daily working needs.
Adding a high quality professional answering service to your home health or hospice care can be a huge benefit, if you select the right kind of service. The above guidelines can help you identify what’s most important to you and your patients. Then you can get on with what you do best: providing the level of patients your patients have come to depend on.