Medical answering services deal with the incoming calls of a medical practice and it works for preserving the patient care and improving the reputation of the clinic. There are several sectors in the medical industry that includes but not limited to the medical clinics, physicians, pharmacies, hospitals, pediatricians, and residential care services.
Things to look for in a medical answering service:
For many years, the physicians have depended on the medical answering service to provide the patients support and after-hour service. Keeping in mind, the quick change of the healthcare sector, it is now more important than before. A medical answering service is always aware of the unique need of the physicians and the different clinical processes. While selecting the service for your medical office, look for the following characteristics.
Some healthcare practitioners still do not find it relevant in the healthcare industry. The physicians, their patient care and practices are now often addressed under several HIPAA provisions. The most crucial faction of the answering service is PHI or Protected Health Information. The companies and medical practices that provide the services should always protect PHI.
Nurse Triage Services:
Search for an answering service who have triage nurse feature. Telephone triage is not something that the answering services offer. Therefore, you can look for a telephone service provider that can transfer the essential data to the telephone triage service provider.
Around-the-clock appointment setting:
The answering service should always be able to deal with the appointments along with providing basic phone support services such as taking the messages, screening calls, call transfer for different medical advice.
Flexible Coverage Hours:
Even though the after-hours support over the phone is a major feature of the answering services, this is not the only feature. While selecting a service provider, look for the people who serve around the clock. Even though you may not need to use the feature when the office is open, this is good know in case you need it.
Real-time On-Call Scheduling:
Managing and changing the on-call obligations is an added concern. Your on-call schedules must not be explained over the phone. Since the service manually updates all information, there are multiple problems with communications.
The Problems to Avoid While Evaluating Medical Answering Service
Poor Communication and Reliability
If you are a patient or even a doctor, you will always need to address your health issues as soon as possible. But all the medical answering services do not always have the same communication level. They might not answer the phone fast and the customer care agents might have lack of professionalism and quality. One sub-par communication over the phone can destroy your impression and keep the patient away. Your medical office needs to show professionalism and care. Your office will show reliability with the following conditions –
- Answering the patient calls
- Patients kept connected to a medical person
If you are not connected with a patient in an emergency or do not receive the important patient messages, you have the risk of losing the patient. If you are a beginner search for the medical answering services having guaranteed time to answer. Then look for the people who are quick to respond to the messages.
Absence of HIPAA Compliance and Proper Training
If the call center employees do not have HIPAA training, they could an organizational liability. Patient confidentiality and security have the top-notch importance in the healthcare industry. And when you and your office are careful with patient data, the service providers might ack the same level of attention and care. The answering service industry has an increased turnover rate. People join and leave many call centers and that may compromise their capacity to provide excellent customer service. The partner you are tying up with for your medical answering service should have the right experience and expertise to work for healthcare companies.
A HIPAA compliance designation is the first indication of reliability, and any partner should be able to produce supporting proof in this regard. Having long-term staff also helps, although experience in the healthcare industry is a major indicator. An answering service should also give its representatives the necessary training so they know when to transfer calls and how to tell if a situation really is an emergency for a patient.
A Lack of Thorough Documentation
All incoming calls from patients should be recorded by your answering service so that you can listen to them later if necessary. Additionally, customer care representatives need to keep complete notes and any other supporting documentation for each call. Even while it’s not strictly necessary for HIPAA compliance, having this on hand is a good idea in case of audits and internal reviews.
A call center won’t be able to offer you the thorough support you most likely require if it can’t supply documentation at your request and if you can’t access call recordings at any time.
No Support Beyond Answering the Phone
This one is straightforward yet crucial. You’re searching for a partner mostly so you can rely on a team to answer your phone calls. The minimum standard is to simply and immediately answer the phone. An answering service ought to offer much more for your business.
There are numerous additional ways a call center might offer assistance. Aside from having the capacity to completely record and document patient calls, an answering service may also be able to perform the following.
- Delivering messages over secure text messaging
- Scheduling appointments and sending reminders
- Pre-registering patients to your practice
- Triage services from URAC accredited nurses
Short or Rushed On-boarding
This is a sign that frequently appears after the fact, but if you ask about an on-boarding procedure for answering services, it might help you screen out call centers that won’t support your business. Of course, every healthcare organization is different, therefore it will take time to discover everything about your practice. We’ve discussed the value of training; therefore a hurried on-boarding procedure often means that a service is undertraining its staff. Make sure you are a vital participant in the on-boarding process with your partner. Because without you, your partner wouldn’t really understand what to tell your patients when they call.
Properly Compare Medical Answering Services
Service providers can have a significant and detrimental impact on your practice if you don’t thoroughly investigate them or trust them. However, a great partner can help you optimize your processes and improve patient satisfaction. Finding the ideal answering service is important for your business.
If you still have concerns regarding the procedure, need a guide on medical answering services and medical claim processing services, hire the best outsourcing service provider.