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Running a successful dermatology practice involves a lot of moving parts. Scheduling appointments, managing a busy calendar, responding to missed calls, and processing client intake are just some of the daily tasks required to keep your practice doors open. 

So how can you optimize your operations? 

A dermatology answering service can help maintain your day-to-day patient relationships. Whether it’s for medical or cosmetic reasons, skin issues are highly sensitive and can be worrying for patients. Partnering with a medical answering service means every caller reaches a welcoming and supportive voice, not your voicemail. 

dermatologist working on a patient

An answering service allows you to be there for patients 24/7 and keep your operations running smoothly – all without increasing your practice’s administrative workload.

Let’s look at how an answering service can make your practice more efficient. 

The role of specialized answering services in dermatology practices

Patients expect to be met with high-quality care and personalized advice when they enter your dermatology practice. Providing this level of service means you and your staff must be able to give patients your undivided attention. 

Of course, this isn’t always possible.

Phones ringing, appointment requests and last-minute cancellations are common interruptions dermatology practices deal with. Not only can these challenges impact patients’ in-person experience, but they can also impact patients’ satisfaction outside of the clinic. 

The role of a dermatology answering service is to remove this operational block. A medical answering service can handle all incoming client inquiries, so you can focus on providing an uninterrupted service.

24/7 patient support 

A typical dermatology practice may have one or two receptionists between 9 and 5. Any calls outside of these hours will likely go to voicemail and are responded to the following day (at the earliest). Even if calls come through during the working day, there’s no guarantee your receptionist is available to answer. 

receptionists talking to patient

A dermatology answering service provides your practice with 24/7 phone coverage. Virtual receptionists speak with every patient and keep your patient management systems up to date. 

Did you know, 60% of patients will abandon a call if they don’t receive an answer within one minute? Therefore, introducing a medical answering service to your practice could boost patient satisfaction and improve your retention rate.

Customizable call handling

Personalization is one of the first things businesses sacrifice when looking to streamline operations. For example, a common automation choice for those with limited resources is to add a chatbot to cope with the high volume of patient questions. However, generic answers and lack of personalization will only work against you when it comes to the patient’s experience with your practice.

Research shows the majority of consumers think healthcare providers are falling behind retailers and financial services in this aspect. If personalization improved in this sector, 61% believe they would visit their healthcare provider more. 

A customizable call script could be a game-changer. Answering every call to your practice with a voice reflective of your clinic’s values provides patients comfort and reassurance. An answering service will work with you on your call script to give your practice the individuality you want to portray. 

Benefits for patients and practice efficiency

Every patient wants to feel heard and valued. To do this, your practice’s operations need to be airtight. From call management to self-scheduling, prioritizing your operations will improve patient satisfaction and the day-to-day running of your practice. 

smiling woman

Efficient call management

Being efficient matters for your dermatology practice as well as the customer. In fact, 75% of customers say a fast response time is the most crucial factor in their customer experience. To provide quick responses, you need an available team that can keep on top of incoming calls and appointment requests. 

A medical answering service handles patient inquiries and appointments around-the-clock. When your dermatology practice has a ‘no hours off-limits’ policy, you reduce patient frustrations and wait times. 

Operational workload reduction 

A medical receptionist’s job can be overwhelming and typically includes:

  • Answering incoming calls
  • Catching up on the backlog of after-hours inquiries 
  • Dealing with patients at the front desk
  • New patient intake
  • Reorganizing appointment bookings and cancellations

Outsourcing some tasks to a medical answering service can give your staff back time to prioritize their in-house responsibilities. You can reduce staff burnout and improve in-office productivity by redistributing the workload. 

Scheduling flexibility

A non-negotiable for patients is available appointments from their healthcare providers. It can be scary for patients if they’re struggling to get face-to-face time with their medical professional. Without good appointment management, you risk the patient’s condition worsening or them moving on to another practice. Either way, the practitioner-patient trust is broken.

patient getting a facial

Partnering with a medical answering service makes appointment scheduling much easier for your practice. The HIPAA-compliant receptionists can assist your patients with booking, rescheduling, or canceling appointments. Your virtual receptionists can also update your client management system as and when any changes are made to your calendar. 

Most answering services also offer automatic appointment reminders (for both you and the patient) and a platform for patients to self-schedule. This minimizes no-shows, so you can make the most of your availability.

Choosing the right answering service for your dermatology practice

Spend some time researching the different kinds of dermatology answering services. After all, the answering service you choose will become an extension of your practice, so make sure it’s the right fit. 

Some key questions you might ask are: 

How much support do you need?

If your staff spends most of their mornings responding to missed calls and voicemails from the night before, round-the-clock support is what you’re looking for. Or maybe signing up new patients is getting in the way of in-office duties. In this case, your priority is an answering service with patient intake specialists. 

Think about your time-consuming tasks and let that lead your decision-making.

Do you need to tailor your service?

Always look for an answering service that provides customized call scripts and call handling. Skipping this feature may seem cost-effective, but doing so could impact your practice in the long run. 

receptionist with headset working

Patients want the same quality of service on the phone as they’re used to receiving inside your clinic. A personalized call script helps with consistency in patient communication, regardless of how they choose to contact you.

Are they HIPAA-compliant?

Every practitioner-patient relationship relies on confidentiality and trust. As such, security is paramount when handling your patient’s sensitive medical information. 

Check that your chosen dermatology answering service complies with HIPAA standards and handles all calls and chats accordingly. Knowing your patient’s data is safe will provide you with peace of mind. More importantly, it’ll help maintain the patient trust you’ve worked hard to establish over the years.

Organize your operations

Running a successful dermatology practice requires a combination of high-quality patient service and continued patient satisfaction. However, many patient journeys start and end with the phone. If your front desk staff are overburdened, you could be losing patients before they even reach your clinic. 

WellReceived answering service helps improve your dermatology practice operations by providing round-the-clock patient support, letting you and your staff prioritize in-patient care. 

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Stephanie Maharjan

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