Complicated physician call schedules simplified
Summit Medical Group, a consortium of more than 220 doctors with independent offices across a 13-county area of greater Knoxville, Tennessee, needed a better solution to its traditional, human-centric answering service.
Coming on board as site manager of Summit’s Farragut, Tennessee, location, Sairy Martocci knew the answer — PerfectServe.
“I thought, if I’m ever in an office and need to change call service, I’m going to use PerfectServe. They know how to run an answering service.”
The Farragut location is a four-physician office providing internal medicine for patients age 14 and up. The practice also has three full-time and one part-time nurse practitioners, and averages 600-700 patients a week from Farragut and nearby communities, including many older patients and retirees.
The four doctors in the Farragut office share on-call duties with seven doctors from three other Summit offices. That’s where things get complicated.
Since each office operates independently, office hours vary among locations, as do the holidays each office observes.
“We had an after-hours call service that took the calls and sent a text message to the doctor’s cell phone,” Sairy explains. “It was a human, manual process, and very antiquated. What makes it challenging is that one of the offices we share calls with is open from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., while we’re open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. So that office takes its own calls between 4:00 and 5:00; then it rolls over to the answering service shared jointly with our office.”
But what kept happening, Sairy says, is that the calls between 4:00 and 5:00 — both emergency and nonemergency— were constantly misrouted to the Farragut office.
“It was constant, and a huge challenge,” she recalls. “My doctors would get calls when they weren’t on call, and ask me, ‘Why am I getting this?’ It would usually happen right around the time we were leaving. Luckily it didn’t happen at 3:00 a.m. very often.”
Sairy spent a lot of time working with the answering service to figure out why the errors kept occurring. However, the vendor was never able to explain or, more importantly, resolve the situation.
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