What does a virtual medical receptionist do?
Hester McQueen | Feb 28, 2023
Do you ever think, “I love my work! Our practice is growing, and I want to help more people, but I also have friends and family. How can I care for more patients and not miss out on time with loved ones?”
Or maybe you’re the manager of a growing group practice and need to increase front desk capacity but have limited time for hiring and little office space. Are you wondering how to rapidly scale these resources? Or how you’ll deal with seasonal fluctuations in demand for them?
Perhaps your team of providers is struggling to respond to calls during busy and off hours? Your office closes at 5 PM. Many patients call at 4:30 PM as they are heading home from work. Other patients call after dinner with urgent medication refill requests that no one sees until the following morning.
Could a team of virtual medical receptionists offer a solution to these challenges?
First, let’s explore what a virtual medical receptionist does.
Finding, hiring, and training medical receptionists is time-consuming and expensive. If a practice grows rapidly, providers and staff can be overwhelmed with urgent demands. Besides that, they may not have time to hire desperately needed receptionists.
Even if they hire and train new receptionists, the receptionists might not be a good fit, requiring the process to start again. There may be an influx of new patients who speak a language their front staff has yet to learn. Or, management may find they’ve hired too many staff members due to a temporary fluctuation in patient demand.
Many answering services integrate with existing messaging and scheduling systems or can provide specialized systems. This integration allows virtual medical receptionists to seamlessly fill in the gaps when front office staff are away or answering other calls. When sole providers bring on a virtual receptionist, they find their workload quickly reduced.
Competent, caring virtual receptionists are an ideal go-between for patients and medical staff. They answer questions about in-network insurance, pass patient feedback to providers, and schedule annual wellness visits. They request medical records, notify patients of lab results, and reschedule appointments when a blizzard at two in the morning forces your office to close.
Did you know your patients likely base their satisfaction on the quality of your communication more than the quality of your medical treatment? Provider communication is the most critical factor when patients evaluate competency and quality of care. But according to Rutgers University’s study, administrative staff (including your medical receptionists) also significantly impact patient decision-making (Ruben, 2016).
Virtual medical receptionists can become a force multiplier for patient satisfaction. They can enable patients to receive consistently high-quality interactions before and after medical providers meet with them – even while all office staff are sleeping. Night or day, during busy hours and lunch hours, virtual medical receptionists can help your patients feel heard.
Article originally authored by David Biederman, CNP