This blog has discussed many times in the past the advantages a live answering service gives those who use it, no matter the industry. In a recent editorial on FierceHealthIT, Debra Beaulieu explained the particular importance human interaction has when it comes to the world of medicine, especially in a world increasingly embracing technology. Though she does not disparage the use of newer communication channels completely, Beaulieu does express the significance of considering the inherent limitations of different approaches.
"Each option has strengths and weaknesses, whether used alone or in combination with one another," she said, speaking of the different platforms available to medical professionals. "In today's tech-heavy world, the face-to-face conversation is often considered a dying art. Even doctors, who've always relied on in-person exchanges in the exam room, have had to learn to overcome communication barriers posed by having to type into an electronic medical record during visits."
What is applicable to intimate meetings between doctors and patients can be magnified to the ways practices interact with patients outside of individual visits. The use of a phone answering service, for example, can put a sympathetic face on a company that it might otherwise lack.
The column also mentioned email as a possible means of medical communication, provided they are secure and the messages sent are direct. Security is a big issue for HIT as it becomes more prevalent, and is reportedly one of the reasons many doctors are still to slow to embrace it as a habit.
In most cases, the principles of good customer service are near-universal. Keeping the door open and maintaining a good connection between the provider and the consumer is a desirable thing for all sorts of companies, but is especially important in a sector that relies on the personal treatment of an individual.