The nation watched in horror as a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University collapsed on the highway. Presently, the death toll stands at five while many more were injured. It appears that the 860-tonne bridge fell within hours of being set in place. One news center described it this way:
The purpose of the bridge was to connect the university with the City of Sweetwater An 18-year-old female student had been killed trying to cross the busy road last August, according to local media reports. The $US14.2 million ($18.2 million) bridge was built to provide a safer path for pedestrians. It measured 53 metres and was meant to withstand a Category 5 hurricane and last more than a century.[i]
As the details became clear, it was discovered that an engineer expressed concern about the bridge’s stability. The engineer called the Florida Department of Transportation, but when there was no answer, he left a voicemail stating his hesitations. The voicemail was never checked. Two days later, the bridge collapsed.[ii]
There is a lesson to learn here for the medical industry. In the era of cell phones, the lesson can be stated in this way, “Does your practice have a landline voicemail, and whose responsibility is it to check it?”
Many patients still trust landlines and leave messages. Sadly, I’ve seen medical practices with as many as 27 unread voicemails. Practices can’t approach voicemails in this way. They aren’t a distraction. They may actually be pertinent, necessary, and life-threatening. Of course, most voicemails these days state that if the purpose of the call is life-threatening, please call 911, but not everyone follows instructions.
Simply, your medical practice needs a landline voicemail plan, and the good news is it is simple to implement one:
One: Establish whose responsibility it is to check for voicemails on all lines.
Two: Establish who responsibility it is if that person is out of the office.
Three: Establish a protocol for how to respond to those messages.
Four: Establish the expectation of response to your employees so that no patient is ever left with no response.
The tragedy in Florida is horrific, and one key takeaway for all of us is to not let our responsibilities to our patients be hindered by such a thing as a landline voicemail.
Gordon Duncan is the CEO/Consultant of ProSight Success and has trained employees for nearly 20 years. ProSight offers a host of resources for the optometric and small business field. You can find front desk training at our Front Desk Academy. Additional resources can be found below:
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Gordon Duncan is an award-winning educator, salesman, teacher, manager, and writer. He has taught in the public school system, lobbied for school's accreditation, managed eye clinics, led sales' teams, and also publishes books on theology, church, and culture.