Medical receptionists are the first step in the patient care pathway and as a busy doctor, they support you too. So when your reception staff are overstretched, things quickly unravel. Patient handling falls short, stress levels rise and critical tasks slip through the cracks. If this scenario feels familiar or you want to stop it before it starts, having on-demand virtual medical reception support is a godsend. But how do you know if the time’s right to consider investing in such a service? Here are 7 warning signs that will give you a clue.
#1. You can’t provide the level of patient care you’d like
Patients call a medical practice expecting to speak with someone courteous and efficient who can help straight away. But what happens when your staff are swamped with calls or other tasks? If telephone calls are going unanswered, patients are being left on hold, an increasing number of phone messages are being left and patients are complaining they can’t get through, it’s time to hire a virtual medical receptionist.
#2. Staff are always busy but don’t have time to do ‘all the things’
If your team aren’t keeping on top of tasks, more hands on deck will help. You could recruit another salaried staff member but they’d need a desk, computer and telephone not to mention superannuation, holidays and all the other fringe benefits. Alternatively, you could outsource tasks to a virtual medical reception team. They’d instantly relieve the pressure without the need to hire, train, equip and pay salary to a new member of staff.
#3. Your team is unhappy
Are your people frustrated or taking excessive sick leave? This could be a sign it’s time to make a change. The truth is, a growing practice comes with growing pains and dealing with an increasing call volume can be frustrating – especially when there are other tasks to do. The answer isn’t necessarily overtime – work-life balance will suffer and stressed-out staff are more likely to leave. Outsourcing calls or admin tasks to a virtual medical receptionist is likely the smart choice.
#4. Your staff are making mistakes
When staff are overstretched they’re more inclined to make mistakes. On the front desk, this could damage the patient experience. At the back end, it could have more drastic effects and costly consequences. Supporting your staff by streamlining their workload and supplementing with virtual team members will minimise everyone’s stress levels. It’ll also give you peace of mind that fewer mistakes are being made.
#5. Administrative tasks are slipping through the cracks
Have you noticed that outbound letters and invoices are being sent late? Are insurance submissions piling up? Staff struggling to keep up with administrative tasks? Not only can this impact cash flow and GP practices missing accreditation KPIs, but it can also lead to inherently dangerous recall delays. If this is you, then it’s time to consider hiring virtual support.
#6. There’s more work to do but you don’t need a whole employee to do it
It’s clear to you that another pair of hands would help, but you don’t need a whole person the whole time. Do you go through the stress of hiring an in-house part-time worker? Or do you outsource just the right tasks to just the right professional thereby avoiding the time, cost and headache of finding a new team member?
#7. You can’t cope with surges in administrative duties
You don’t need a full-time staff member but when demand is suddenly high (think Telehealth for COVID, flu season, leave cover, new doctors joining the practice) it would be great to have someone to handle the overflow. One of the best things about virtual reception services is that they’re flexible and scalable so perfectly suited to situations just like these.
If you recognise any of these scenarios, chances are your current set up isn’t supporting your practice effectively. This means it’s time to find out just what a game-changer virtual administration and reception services can be.
If you’d like to find out how to avoid these common pitfalls and create a more robust medical practice using outsourced support, feel free to download our eBook. Or phone us on (03) 8060 4277 to speak with one of our helpful consultants.