Is Your Office Staff Prepared For The Call Volume Coming To Your Practice After COVID-19?
By Dominique Barbagallo
March 31, 2020
COVID-19 has had a heavy impact on health practices everywhere. Managing the large increase in call volume has proven extremely difficult and stressful for medical office staff. Many physician practices have had to turn to a call center for help. In some cases, physician groups have had to cut staff due to the shortage of patients coming in. And, even after we get a hold on COVID-19, the calls will only grow from there. Think about it: all the usual calls and appointments that would have come through have been put off by patients trying to stay healthy and practice social distancing. After the crisis dies down, those patients will do what they’ve been putting off—calling doctors. If your practice has already been having a hard time handling the amount of calls now, is it prepared to manage the calls to come after COVID-19?
The Problem With Hiring More Staff Or Turning To A Call Center
When asked how a practice will prepare to handle a vast increase in unmanageable calls, the response may be to hire more full-time employees. However, this only complicates things for both the practice and the patients. The practice now has to invest more money, training, time, and resources to do so, taking away from patients and everything else. Having more people answering the phone doesn’t solve the problem, either. More people to go through can result in more communication errors and inefficiencies. And, you can only afford to hire so many more employees. After a while, the office staff can get overwhelmed and things can get messy, especially without any way to organize the calls coming through. Some practices instead choose to employ a call center to help handle their high call volume, which can also just cause more problems than it solves. A call center or answering service is completely beholden to the number of agents that can answer the phone, similar to hiring more full time staff. Additionally, these agents aren’t even in your practice’s physical location, causing a disconnect between them and medical staff. This disconnect leaves a lot of room for communication and accuracy errors, less efficient workflows, and slower triage for patients. High turnover rate is also a problem when using a call center. There are so many agents coming in and out, there’s no way to get the best possible service from this. Speaking of COVID-19, what happens if a call center agent becomes infected? The answer is that the whole call center gets shut down. Could you imagine such an abrupt pull-out of the service handling your calls? It’s time for smarter ways of handling call volume that don’t hurt your staff, and most importantly, your patients.
Be Prepared With Smarter Call Management
In times of crisis, many businesses enter a series of steps: Shock, React, Plan, & Execute. Part of an appropriate reaction is to assess the given situation and to prepare for the worst. But then, how will healthcare practices prepare for the worst in the best and most cost-efficient way possible? We’re not only speaking of the influx of calls practices are unable to manage now. We’re also talking about when all practices are back open for business. Additionally, if a practice has had to cut staff due to a shortage in patients calling and coming in, they’re in even deeper trouble now that everything has gone back to normal. Health and medical practices everywhere will be booming with appointment requests and referrals, among other types of calls. Clarus continues to help many health practices nation-wide effectively and efficiently handle their day-to-day high call volume, without needing to increase your staff or outsource to an ineffective call center. Our revolutionary technology has been a game-changer for so many physicians’ offices, and has been a relief to many facing the increase in calls due to COVID-19. Our cloud-based technology has also enabled healthcare office staff to work safely and away from others in their own homes. Additionally, Clarus’s call management solutions have continued to help solve the normal, every-day call volume problem for medical office staff. Our Daytime call management solution, Clarus Daytime, eliminates hold-times for patients, organizes calls by subject matter and priority, allows staff to enter notes on call activity, and optimizes staff workflow based on call type and volume. Our after-hours call management solution, Clarus After-Hours, eliminates on-call scheduling errors, protects doctors’ private phone numbers, also eliminates hold times for patients, and all call activity is documented on the Clarus dashboard. The cherry on top of it all is our fixed pricing. Unlike other call centers who charge based on the amount of calls you receive, Clarus allows for unlimited call volume, without paying a cent more for any of it. If your practice or clinic wants to learn more about preparing for the aftermath of COVID-19, contact us today for a no-obligation free demo.