During these challenging times, don't neglect the phone lines at your practice
During these trying times, it’s important that the phone lines at your physical therapy practice continue to be answered. This will ensure that your practice maintains its strong professional image and provides patients, referrers, and others who may call a sense of confidence. The good news is that there are easy ways to do this even if you aren’t physically in the practice.
You may be tempted to use your personal cell number but that isn’t the best way forward. Keep communication lines as consistent as possible by using your regular clinic phone number!
Forwarding traditional phone lines
If your practice is still operating on good old analog/copper phone line(s) from the phone company, you should explore whether you can forward those phone lines to a cell number or other number that you can answer. Patients and others can dial your regular number and hopefully the line can be answered.
A better way - Voice over IP (VOIP)
Voice-over-IP (VOIP) came into the world during the tech revolution of the last couple of decades. Like most technologies, it was first very expensive and only for bigger players and over time has become very accessible and easy-to-use. At its core, VOIP uses the internet to send your voice instead of the traditional copper lines. The major benefit is that it gives you the freedom to use your phone lines wherever you are.
Lots of choices
There are many choices out there that you can use. Most of them have the same core features like letting you have a phone number and using it on the go (via an app on your cell). You can also get physical VOIP phones for your practice.
If you don’t already have VOIP, check out various choices and see which one might work best for you.
If you already have a VOIP solution, now is a time to check out all of its features and make sure you are leveraging them.
One of the best things about VOIP is the ability to make quick changes to how calls are dealt with. You can deal with interruptions in your practice closing its doors or some people being out of the practice while others are in the practice.
Getting the calls
If you already have VOIP, you can probably get your practice calls immediately by just getting the app on your phone and signing in. If you want to take it a step further, you can get your staff to also get the app and give them their logins. You can then setup what are called call-groups and that way when a call comes in, it can ring multiple people to give the best opportunity for the call to be answered.
This should play into your telehealth and Medicare E-visit strategy
If you’re getting into telehealth, it means bringing your technology around to support that effort. In order for patients to have confidence in the offering, you need to project confidence. If patients feel that telehealth is an afterthought at your practice then it will diminish their view of the value and efficacy. Just answering the phone can set things off on the right foot and that’s important.
As we have blogged about, Medicare e-visits must be patient initiated so while you can’t proactively schedule these visits, you can educate patients that you offer this service. Patients may be calling worried about the care or following-up and this can be a great opportunity to educate them about e-visits.
The Bottom Line
Tech, tech, tech. This is the time to leverage every available tool you have to protect and keep your practice moving forward.