How Medical Call Services Improve the Lives of Physicians
Medical call services, also known as answering services or after-hours call services, have become increasingly popular among healthcare professionals in recent years. These services provide numerous benefits for physicians, from reducing workload and burnout to improving patient satisfaction. In this blog, we will discuss how medical call services can positively impact the lives of physicians and highlight relevant studies that support these claims.
What is a Medical Call Service?
To understand the value of medical call services, it is important to first define what they are. Medical call services are third-party vendors that provide answering services for physicians and other healthcare providers after regular office hours or when staff members cannot be reached. When a patient calls outside of normal business hours, they will be answered by a live operator who can answer basic questions, book appointments, or provide additional information as needed.
The Benefits of Medical Call Services
Medical call services can help reduce the amount of work that doctors and other healthcare staff need to do by taking on some of the administrative burdens. By providing a live operator, medical call services ensure that patients are able to get the answers they need quickly and efficiently. This can help reduce wait times and consequently improve patient satisfaction, as well as free up more staff time for medical tasks.
Reducing Workload and Burnout
Physician burnout is a significant concern in the medical field, with a 2019 study reporting that 44% of physicians experience burnout (Shanafelt et al., 2019)1. One of the main contributors to burnout is excessive workload, often resulting from managing after-hours calls and patient inquiries.
- Medical call services can help alleviate this burden by handling routine calls and inquiries, allowing physicians to focus on patient care during working hours.
- A 2015 study demonstrated that utilizing an answering service reduced the number of after-hours calls that physicians received by 29%, leading to decreased workload and burnout (Hixon et al., 2015).
Improving Patient Satisfaction
Effective communication between patients and physicians is essential for patient satisfaction. A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that patients who reported good communication with their healthcare providers were more likely to be satisfied with their care (Bertakis et al., 2004).
Medical call services can enhance patient communication by providing timely and professional responses to patient inquiries. This improved communication can lead to higher patient satisfaction, ultimately benefiting physicians by fostering stronger patient relationships and promoting patient retention.
Enhancing Work-Life Balance
A balanced work-life is crucial for physicians’ well-being and career satisfaction. By managing after-hours calls and administrative tasks, medical call services enable physicians to have more personal time outside of work. A study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that physicians who reported a healthy work-life balance had lower rates of burnout and higher job satisfaction (Dyrbye et al., 2013).
Ensuring Regulatory Compliance
Compliance with regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), is essential for medical practices. Medical call services that are HIPAA-compliant can help physicians maintain regulatory compliance by securely handling and transmitting sensitive patient information.
Medical call services can play a vital role in improving the lives of physicians by reducing workload and burnout, enhancing patient satisfaction, promoting work-life balance, and ensuring regulatory compliance. By outsourcing call management and administrative tasks to a professional call service, physicians can focus on providing quality patient care and maintaining a healthier work-life balance.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Medical Call Service?
When considering the benefits of a medical call service, it’s essential to weigh the costs involved. Prices for these services can vary based on factors such as the size of your practice, call volume, and the specific call service provider. In this section, we will discuss the average cost of hiring a medical call service, providing price ranges to help you make an informed decision.
Medical call services generally offer several pricing models, such as a flat fee per call, a monthly subscription, or a combination of both. Here’s an overview of these pricing models:
- Flat fee per call: This model charges a fixed fee for each call handled by the call service. Fees typically range from $1 to $4 per call, depending on the provider and the complexity of the call.
- Monthly subscription: This model involves paying a fixed monthly fee for a predetermined number of calls or minutes. Subscription costs can range from $50 to $1,000 per month, depending on the provider and the plan chosen.
- Hybrid model: A combination of the flat fee per call and monthly subscription models, this approach may involve charging a lower flat fee per call and a fixed monthly fee.
Factors Affecting Cost
When evaluating the cost of hiring a medical call service, it’s essential to consider the following factors:
- Call volume: Higher call volumes will result in increased costs, particularly if you choose a flat fee-per-call pricing model.
- Service complexity: More complex services, such as appointment scheduling, prescription refill management, or emergency triage, may come with higher fees.
- Customization: Customized services, such as personalized greetings or specific call protocols, may result in additional charges.
- Bilingual support: Call services offering bilingual support may charge extra fees for this feature.
By carefully considering the cost of hiring a medical call service, you can select a provider that meets your practice’s needs and budget. By investing in a reliable and professional call service, you can experience the benefits of reduced workload, improved patient satisfaction, and enhanced work-life balance.