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Diary of an Agent | Medical Emergencies Hotline Handled With Care

Answering for doctors’ offices and hospitals require constant attention to detail and a sense of control and compassion. Medical Emergencies Hotline and Telephone Lines need to be handled by trained professionals. 

Being a virtual receptionist in a busy business answering service is no easy task to master. You never know what that ringing telephone will bring you and so, here at A Courteous Communications, they train us for the unexpected. I was very thankful for our meticulous medical training while I answered the next incoming call on my board with Dr. X’s office.

“Good Evening, thank you for calling Dr. X’s office; are you calling with a medical emergency?” The caller responded with a painful, “Well, it’s not an emergency, but I need to make a follow-up visit asap because I am experiencing an unusual amount of pain and I don’t know if that’s normal.” I quickly scanned the nurse’s notes and noticed that there was a doctor on call for these specific medical questions. My heart perked up when I knew I was going to be able to give this gentleman some peace of mind to get a good night’s rest tonight.

“I am so sorry to hear that, sir. May I have your name, date of birth and contact telephone number just in case we get disconnected?”

“John Smith, birthday is March 8, 1964 and my telephone number is 555-5555. I was just in to see Dr. X today.”

“Thank you, Mr. Smith. I see you right there on our schedule from 2:00 pm today. My name is Sara and I am going to contact the doctor on-call and see if we can get you an immediate answer for your medical concern. Would you prefer to hold and be transferred to the doctor or, would you like the doctor to call you back at 555-5555?”

“I would like to hold, thank you.”

“Of course, Mr. Smith, please hold one moment while I contact the on-call doctor.”

I then quickly made an outgoing call to Thomas, my contact person at the physician’s office, to initiate the first procedure in dispatching the call. I relayed the telephone inquiry to Thomas and he boldly said, “Good thing you followed procedure and offered me up to him now. Looking at his file, he shouldn’t be experiencing pain at all. Good work, can you send him over to me now, please?”

“You’ve got it, Thomas. Thank you and please hold.” I picked up Mr. Smith’s line.

“I am sorry about your wait, Mr. Smith.”

“My wait? You only had me on hold for a few moments at 3 ‘o clock in the morning.”

“Well I understand what it’s like when you are going through pain and mere moments feel like an eternity. I wanted to let you know that I am transferring you now to Dr. Jones, our on-call doctor who will be happy to answer your medical questions.”

“Thank you so much, was it, Sara?”

“Yes, Mr. Smith, and it was my pleasure to be here for you. Please hold for Dr. Jones.” Like a pro, I dispatched the call with swiftness and accuracy and heard Mr. Smith thank me once more before ending the call on my end.

I stayed up late that night thinking, what if I would have just scheduled Mr. Smith for the next available appointment on the doctor’s schedule? What if I hadn’t offered a quick medical consultation with the on-call medical staff in the middle of the night? Would Mr. Smith have had complications? Would he have been fine? I stopped asking my ‘what if’ questions and quickly drifted off to sleep with the thought: it didn’t matter. I was able to assist in a minor medical emergency and provide a certain amount of comfort to our customer’s patient. Even Thomas thanked me for following procedures and maybe if I hadn’t, Mr. Smith would have suffered. I felt good that I was able to make a difference, no matter how small or how large, in someone else’s life.

When I tell people what I do I know that it is like explaining the details and nuances of a foreign language. They are never going to be able to grasp the full spectrum of my duties and responsibilities as a business answering service telephone agent. My role as a virtual receptionist is not always as easy as it sounds; taking detailed messages, being friendly on the telephone and scheduling appointments can be more in depth than one might think.

To be a great 24 hour call center, an answering service must train their operators to think on their feet and be flexible in all procedures available. When I go to work, especially during the late hour shifts, those ringing business telephone lines can be life or death, literally, and I know I must be prepared and focused for the inevitable. I thank my team and family at A Courteous Communications for giving me a great, solid foundation and continued training so that I can be the best virtual receptionist possible.

I take pride in my work and I take pride in the medical emergencies hotline service I work for. It’s calls like these that make me love what I do which is more than just answering medical telephone lines; it’s helping people.

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