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Your patients aren’t taking your calls because they don’t know who’s calling


Survey shows that patients are dealing with so many phone scams that they miss calls from their doctors because the number isn’t identified

Patients want to hear from their doctors, but there are so many scam callers posing as health care providers that they won’t answer unless the phone number is identified, according to a new survey.

The survey by First Orion asked 2,000 U.S. mobile phone users about their communication preferences with their health care providers.

The amount of scam callers has led to increased customer financial loss, decreased trust in phone calls, and increased frustration from patients who view unknown phone calls as a negative characteristic. In fact, 80% of those surveyed said they would consider rating a health care provider poorly for making unidentified calls, while 93% say they want to hear from their doctor, especially regarding urgent matters, and 94% said they were more likely to answer a call from a provider if the number was clearly identified.

Although there are other ways to communicate with patients, such as online portals, most respondents prefer to get a phone call from a medical center or health care professional. More than nine in 10 people say they want a call from their doctor, pharmacy, or other provider. Only 7% of respondents said they didn’t want a call from their provider for any reason.

The top five reasons patients want a phone call from their doctor, as identified in the survey:

  • Test Results
  • Appointment Reminder
  • Medical Referrals
  • Appointment Scheduling
  • Pharmacy notifications

Many calls from doctor offices go unanswered or straight to voicemail, meaning important information isn’t being conveyed to the patient. But if people say they prefer phone calls, why aren’t they answering?

According to the survey, the simple answer is they don’t know who is calling. More than three in four people (76%) say that they’ve ignored or declined a call from a health care provider because they didn’t know it was them calling. A similar percentage (74%) believe they’ve received a health care-related scam call, and more than half (52%) say they’ve received more scam calls this year compared to a year ago. This is a major factor in why people won’t answer calls they don’t recognize.

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© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health