5 Most Common Pitfalls of Medical Answering Services and Physician Answering Services

The 5 Most Common Pitfalls of Medical and Physician Answering Services

Whether you are currently leveraging a physician answering service or call center (and are experiencing some of the pitfalls outlined below) or are thinking about bolting one one on to your existing practice workflow, get to know the common pitfalls of medical/physician answering services so that you can make the best decision for your practice. The best solution may not be what you think it is.

Pitfall 1: On-Call Scheduling is a Nightmare

Are you tired of complicated on-call scheduling?

The most common pitfall of traditional physician answering services is the inability to change your on-call schedule quickly. You already know this, but on-call schedules change frequently, and sometimes right before end of business. Most traditional a,medical answering services or call centers aren’t nimble enough to make schedule changes on such short-notice. This means that providers are getting called when they aren’t on-call.

The solution: With Clarus After-Hours you can easily manage on-call schedules from anywhere on the Clarus Dashboard (seen below). The calendar features drag-and-drop capabilities so that you can easily move providers around on the schedule with just a few clicks. Changes take effect immediately – so you never have to worry about the wrong person getting called at the wrong time.

manage on-call schedule and calendar

Pitfall 2: Physicians Are Getting the Wrong Types of Calls

Are you tired of your physicians complaining about getting the wrong types of calls?

Even if you get the on-call schedule right, our customers commonly complained about providers getting the wrong types of calls. Two primary examples are calls about scheduling and prescription refills. When using a traditional answering service, employee turn-over rates are high, and even so, calls are routed through non-medical humans. It’s counter intuitive, but a human can actually increase call routing errors.

The solution: Relying solely on humans can leave room for error. Clarus After-Hours cuts out human error with a call tree that is custom to your practice’s needs.  You’d be amazed at how much automated call routing can cut down on your physicians getting the wrong types of calls, when they least want them.

Pitfall 3: No Protection Over Doctors’ Personal Numbers

Do your providers want to protect their personal number?

When patients want to get a call-back from the on-call provider, the provider now risks the patient having their personal phone number. “But they can just dial *67 though, right?” Yes, they could – BUT – will a busy provider with a million things on their mind remember to, or even want to do that every time? The answer, most likely, is no. And on the side of the patient, dialing *67 will show up as “unknown” or “private caller” on their caller ID, most likely resulting in them not answering.

The solution: Clarus After-Hours protects every provider’s personal number. When your provider calls a patient back, the patient sees the practice number and name on the caller ID, allowing the caller to know who’s calling, but not have access to the provider’s personal number.

Pitfall 4: No Documentation or Accountability​

How much visibility do you really have into your after-hour calls?

With traditional medical answering services, a patient calls in and no one really knows what happens after that. If the call is taken care of, how does your provider or other staff members know? If the caller still needs attending to, how does anyone know? If the patient says they never got a call-back, how do we know if they did or didn’t? How does anyone know anything about that caller or how the call went? Maybe some answering services have a way of documenting this, but it’s usually messy and not everyone is on the same page about it – especially not instantly. The last thing you want in your practice is a game of “he said, she said.” Especially when your patient’s health is on the line.

The solution: With traditional physician answering services, it’s virtually impossible for you to have visibility into after-hours call activity. Clarus After-Hours call management system not only dates and time stamps each in-bound call, but providers can leave notes on call activity to provide staff instructions regarding any patient follow-up that needs to take place. Because it’s cloud-based system, you also have the ability to forward information either to a provider for immediate attention, or to clinical or administrative staff for a follow-up. Your staff can view all call and staff/provider activity at any time from our easy-to-use dashboard.

after-hours call dashboard

Pitfall 5: Bad Patient Experience

Are you worried about how long it takes for your patients to talk to a provider after-hours?

Last, but definitely not least, patient satisfaction can decrease because patients are waiting a long-time to be called back. A physician call center or answering service has a middle man that has to a) field the call b) talk with the patient and take notes c) hang up and decide what to do with the call d) tell the physician to call the patient and e) patient gets a call when the physician is available or off their next call. This process can take a seemingly eternity, especially if your patient is scared, confused or both.

The solution: With traditional medical answering services, your patients will wait for a long-time to receive a call back. With Clarus After-Hours call management system the physician app (seen below) makes the process to retrieve calls, contact patients, and document the call, really easy

after-hours call mobile dashboard

What’s Next?

But won’t our providers get unnecessary calls without an answering service?​

The myth Clarus dispels is that you need a real person answering after-hours calls. Hear from some of our customers who have replaced their traditional physician call center and answering service with Clarus. Not cxonvinced? Schedule a demonstration and try Clarus risk-free.

Schedule Your Demo Today

“With Clarus, we are able to contact the patient immediately. We are not having to play phone tag between the patient, hospital switch board, and the physician on call. Patient satisfaction is what we are achieving.”

Women's Health Clinic,

Office Manager, LA

“With Clarus, we get more reliable information, which allows us to better care for our patients and document the call.” 


Pediatric Practice,

Doctor, TN

“Last minute changes to the on-call schedule are no longer an issue. I can quickly and easily do it myself from the Clarus Dashboard and it’s immediately updated.”

Orthopedic Practice,

Office Manager, MI

Schedule Your Demo Today

What is your traditional answering service costing you in time, money, and peace of mind? Replacing your traditional answering service may feel like a huge leap, but it’s actually really easy to get started. See why physician practices and groups are quickly moving away from their traditional medical answering service. Schedule a demo today by filling out this form today.