If you’ve ever worked in a retail environment, you know that “the holiday season” – from November through December – is notoriously busy. Retail businesses stock up on extra product, prepare for sales and specials, and hire and train seasonal staff to prevent the expected influx of customers from getting to be overwhelming.
For the healthcare industry, there may not be one single peak season comparable to the holiday rush experienced in retail, but that does not mean there aren’t particular times of the year when a healthcare office is more likely to be running at max capacity. Healthcare offices need to be able to manage these peak times smoothly to be successful in their industry, as these busy seasons are crucial opportunities for capturing new patients and proving the value of your practice to existing patients. Conversely, fumbling through the busy season can lead your patients to lose trust in your ability to provide the level of service they are seeking from a healthcare provider.
Busy Seasons in the Healthcare Industry
Every medical practice in any field of healthcare experiences busy seasons with unusually high patient call volumes and filled appointment slots. The ability of a practice to handle these busy periods while still providing the quality of care and patient experience their patients expect can mean the difference between winning new clients and watching patients walk out the door for good.
- Summertime: Allergies & School: When nicer weather approaches, so too comes an increase in allergy symptoms. Once the summer months get into full swing, summer-related activities – vacations, backyard barbecues, pool parties, car trips, and more time spent outside in the sun and heat – all frequently lead to accidents requiring medical attention.As the end of summer nears, families with school-aged children are feverishly scheduling school physicals and vaccinations, procedures and visits before the school year resumes.
- Open Enrollment: October and November are open enrollment months where members can enroll into a new health care plan or make changes to their existing plans through the exchanges, Medicaid or Medicare, or their private insurance provider. During these months there are more calls into medical offices requesting new patient appointments and seeking information regarding billing and payment options.
- End of Year: As the fiscal year ends, patients seek to schedule appointments and procedures before the start of the new year to capitalize on their met deductibles.
- Flu Season: February is the peak month for the flu, and during this time of the year healthcare providers expect to see a boost in the number of sick patients needing an appointment as quickly as possible. Peak flu season also means a boost in the number of incoming calls to the office: patients are seeking advice, scheduling sick appointments, or rescheduling well-appointments due to illness. Pharmacists are inundated with requests for Tamiflu, etc. Along with an increase in the number of patient calls during flu season, there’s also a high likelihood that staff members contract the illness, meaning resources are truly stretched to capacity during peak flu season for most healthcare offices, medical providers, chiropractic offices and pharmacies.
How a Medical Office Should Prepare for the Busy Seasons
To meet the higher demand and capitalize on it during a peak busy season, medical offices should have a plan in place to run at peak efficiency in order to seamlessly manage the increase in both call and appointment volumes coming into the office. No matter the time of year, your office should be equipped to provide patients with a consistently personal, engaging experience when they communicate with your office.
Partnering with medical answering service specialists will allow your in-office staff to shift their full attention to the patients in their care, without the distraction of an influx of phone calls. Overflow service means calls coming in to the office will never be missed, mishandled, sent to voicemail or met with long hold-times, even during the busy seasons, and will always be answered courteously and professionally by a real live person.
Calm, Reliable, Consistent Answering Services During Every Season
At The Doctors Answer, we feel strongly that medical offices need secure, reliable communication at all times, no matter what. Whether there is an emergency, a medical question, or an appointment change, downtime is not an acceptable option, even during the busiest times. Our highly-trained staff of professionals have the experience, compassion, and knowledge to handle all calls coming into your office at any time, so you can provide an efficient, well-managed experience that will encourage patients to return to your office, time and again.
Whether your medical office needs an extra set of hands to help field calls during a peak busy time, someone to handle calls when the office is closed for holidays or after-hours, or a complete, full-time answering service, the Doctors Answer is here.