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Intelligent Medical Answering: Routing & Reducing Hold Times

medical answering service

For healthcare professionals, work doesn’t stop when the office closes. Calls can come at any hour, and when patients require urgent medical care–every second counts. Fortunately, new, intelligent medical answering services have become the answer to after-hours care and all-around medical triage support. Now more than ever it’s important for organizations to work together and communicate as efficiently as possible to prevent practices and patients from being overwhelmed. 

What is Intelligent Medical Answering?

Phone calls are often the first point of contact for your patients. 

With standard medical answering services, the patient often has to wait on the line for a computer driven voice system to answer. In urgent situations there isn’t time to waste in a selection menu that won’t direct patients directly to a nurse, just a standard operator who takes a message and passes it along. 

Intelligent medical answering anticipates caller needs, streamlining communication between patient and provider, by taking a unique approach: prioritizing the patient using clinician-directed, customizable pathways that determine call handling automation.

Here’s how it works:

Patient calls are quickly connected to professionals. Then, Telehealth providers determine if the call is an emergency. Non-urgent calls are transcribed and forwarded to the on-call staff who can prioritize, escalate, and address patient needs appropriately. Urgent calls are immediately forwarded to an on-call nurse, if available, or a message is taken and forwarded as an SMS to the on-call backup.

The system has built-in escalation protocols, customizable and detailed path options, and multiple methods of escalation. Providers can create multiple, dynamic IVR menus, determine when patients can leave messages, and decide escalation protocols using whichever method works best for their workflow. It can be used to handle day-time overflow, after-hours, or part of a hybrid answering service/nurse triage solution. Intelligent medical answering is patient driven and helps create productive, cost-effective care solutions. 

Intelligent Medical Answering

Advantages of Intelligent Medical Answering

Relieve Nurses. Clinicians often spend many hours on-call each week, meaning they have limited time with their families. When nurses don’t have time to unwind after work, it can lead to cyclical stages of burnout that not only affect the nurse, but the patients they care for. With an intelligent medical answering service, triage nurses can intercept calls, while nurses are off duty. 

Reduce Costs. Employing full time nurses for 24/7 coverage can be costly. Insurance, time-off, training, equipment, and overhead costs can all add up too quickly. By eliminating the need for extra in-house staff, your practice can help staff work at the top of their licenses rather than doing administrative tasks. 

Quicker Call Resolution. Timeliness of care impacts patient outcomes as well as for CMS mandated satisfaction ratings. Call overflow services allow patient calls to be automatically forwarded to the right clinical or non-clinical staff member. Each patient request can be processed according to the protocols and automations your practice predetermines. The impact of reduced hold times and first-call resolutions drastically improves patient satisfaction and reduces operational spending.

Patient-provider relationship. Home-health, hospice and most other health organizations feel immense pressure to improve the patient experience but can often be halted by cost constraints. Knowing how to build strong trust is a key part of establishing an organization as a trustworthy care service patients will respect and refer their peers to. Plus, nurses will rest easy knowing their patients have around-the-clock access to a professional who can answer their questions, calm their fears, schedule an appointment, or connect them with appropriate staff using a medical answering service.

More Key Features of Medical Answering:

  • Customizable and Detailed Voice Automations – screen calls, capture information, and send notifications to the appropriate operator or triage nurse in seconds.
  • Immediate Text and Email Notifications – Provider staff can receive and address patient requests quickly and easily, without having to listen to the full call. 
Intelligent Medical Answering

Reporting for Quality Improvement

Automation reporting is a key part of intelligent answering services. Activity reports generate metrics that reveal the reason for a patient call. Knowing the activity of your calls supports the productivity of your staff because you know what patients are looking for and how to treat them. It identifies training improvements for your staff. Depending on what type of calls you receive, you can adjust how you guide or train your staff towards improving efficiency and engaging with patients.

Here are three types of Call Analytics data Intelligent Medical Answering Services capture:

  • Call Detail Reports track your incoming patient call times, handle times, wait times, and more, so you have full insight into the patient call experience. 
  • Call Code Reports track the reason for a patient call and initiates space for your organization to respond with fast solutions. 
  • Call Pattern and Business Analytics Reports provide insights on busy days, times, and more so you can identify opportunities for streamlining workflows. 

Without a good understanding of incoming patient calls, providers can only speculate what’s really happening with patient requests, making efforts to improve your organization haphazard and drawn out. Data from intelligent medical answering – especially combined with a trusted triage partner with on-demand Telehealth technology can make all the difference in elevating the care experience for patients and staff.

intelligent medical answering

Choose TeleMed by CareXM for Intelligent Medical Answering Services Today

Whether you are a small to medium physician group, a large hospital, a busy medical clinic, a community health center, or more, TeleMed has the tools, experience, and expertise to deploy and integrate an intelligent medical answering service or medical call center solution that exceeds expectations. TeleMed medical answering services work with your practice to define a proper call workflow. We ensure that your patients are taken care of as we collect the correct information needed to progress their health journey, while relieving your staff along the way. Our highly skilled operators are located throughout the United States and are ready to assist your practice day and night. Don’t wait until the phones can’t stop ringing–choose TeleMed today! 


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