10 Tips for Using Your Doctor Answering Service Properly
Have you been thinking about making your office run more efficiently? In today’s world, efficiency is the name of the game. Without it, you could be missing out on new customers, better organization, and more revenue.
As part of increasing efficiency, you may have thought of implementing a doctor answering service. But how do you make sure that this within itself is as efficient as possible?
In this guide, we’ll give you 10 tips for using your doctor answering service in the best way possible!
1. Treat the Answering Service as Part of Your Practice
When you start using an answering service, you have to treat it as part of your practice. If you do not, the doctor answering services will fall behind, not be updated properly, and then not be as useful as they could.
As part of your practice, you should make it a point to update and check in on your answer service on a weekly or monthly basis. This will help you to remember to make changes if you are updating things on your end as well (like changing the script or the options on the answering service).
2. Make It 24/7
Medical issues do not always have the best timing. That is why having an around-the-clock answering service is a great option for patients or potential patients. When it is 24/7, patients can get answers through the medical answering service while they wait to get actual care.
If your practice closes and then something happens to a patient, the answering service fills those gaps in the hours. The service can help with support, answering questions, and determining the next steps of the patient.
Not only does a 24/7 answering service help with after-hours patients, but it also can help with filtering calls for patients. If you are too busy at a certain time of the day, the answering service can take the extra calls. This way, patients are still getting answers and receiving help even while they wait if they are not talking to your actual practice.
Many times, the answering service would be able to provide the help they need so that your time is free for the people who truly do need to discuss urgent medical matters with you.
3. Guarantee HIPAA Compliance
As a medical office, you have to guarantee your patients and clients that you follow HIPAA compliance. The same also has to go for your medical answering service since this is a separate entity from your own practice.
Since the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requires the compliance of all institutions, the answering service is legally bound to this by law as well. There should be a part of the contract you have with them that clearly outlines this before you being to use the answering service.
When looking for a medical answering service, you need to have a conversation about HIPAA compliance to ensure that your practice is in the right hands. If there is any sort of breach of patient confidentiality (even by the medical answering service), this can be a hefty fine on your part. It can also lead to more legal issues.
4. Ensure the Service Has Automated Solutions
When you have an answering service, there will truly be no point in having it if the doctor answering service doesn’t do any of the work for you other than answer the call.
You need those calls to be logged, organized, and documented. If there needs to be a follow-up, you need to know that at the practice. Without knowing that, patient follow-up and patient care will fall through the cracks, which will negatively affect your practice as well as the patients themselves.
Your answering service should do the following:
- Log all calls and messages
- Offer access to medical reports
- Help with changing schedules and appointments
- Offer call recordings so that you can listen back
With these services, you should be able to run a much more efficient practice overall.
5. Focus on Data Security
A focus on data security is especially important in the medical field because of the laws around HIPAA.
When looking for a doctors answering service, you have to understand the security measures that are in place at the answering service. What medical software do they use to ensure this security?
You need to make sure that the software and programs being used are not outdated or risky. They should be up-to-date as well as newer technologies to ensure that data security is safe and secure. You should also ensure they have antivirus software as well for added security.
6. Use the Call Center to Make Improvements
Because calls from the medical answering service should be recorded, these calls can be used to improve your overall operation of the medical practice.
For instance, if you notice that there are a lot of people calling after hours about things that could wait til during hours, then you could send out an email or a message to current patients stating this. This way, there is more room and lines open for urgent calls.
With the information that you receive from the recorded calls and operations of the medical answering service, you can make your operations more efficient.
7. Consider the Professionalism
When choosing an answering service, you also want to ensure professionalism. As this service is an extension of your practice, you want to make sure that it comes across as professional. You need to make sure that the answering service has the same standards as you and upholds them as well.
Without the professionalism, current patients or potential patients could easily be turned off by the lack of professionalism displayed. This would cause a reduction in your business as well as less revenue coming in.
By working with a medical service that ensures professionalism, you are keeping your practice’s reputation while ensuring that your patients are cared for.
8. Use the Answering Service for More Than Just After Hours
If you are using a medical answering service, you should make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. To do this, ensure that the answering service does more than just work after hours. It should also work for you during hours.
In terms of the work it could be doing, you should consider the following:
- Automated calls for patient appointment reminders
- Record all calls for future use if needed
- Patient follow-up for feedback
- Automated answers for scheduling appointments
Before signing up and committing to an answering service, make sure that they provide this level of support for your practice.
9. Don’t Use This In Lieu of Human Calls
While automated services are great for making your medical practice more efficient, that doesn’t mean that you should completely forego the human aspect of calls. That’s the last thing you want to do.
While there will be some times that the automated machine will have to take over, you also need to make sure that you have the human touch as part of the practice to make sure patients feel safe, secure, and cared for. This can also ensure that all of their needs are properly met.
10. Personalize the Automated Answering Service
Speaking to an automated robot over the phone about your medical needs can be quite daunting. And some people will not like it. That’s why if you personalize your automated answering service, you are more likely to keep your customers happy.
You can personalize the answer when they answer the phone as well as what happens on hold between different parts of the answering service.
Since this doesn’t take too much time to do, this is something that is worth the little time in turn for keeping your customers happy and feeling that they are getting a personalized experience from your practice.
Tips for Using a Doctor Answering Service
Getting a doctor answering service can drastically improve the service and the experience that your patients have from your medical practice. If you’ve been thinking about a way to be more efficient as a practice, this is something you should consider adopting.
However, there are also some other things you should note when looking for a doctor answering service, like data security and HIPAA compliance, to name a few.
If you are ready to make your practice more efficient, you can get a quote from us today. Contact us at 24/7 Doctors Answering Service to get started!