What to Know About Medical Answering Services and Scheduling
What are medical answering services and scheduling? Does your clinic need them? Here’s what doctors need to know.
What’s a medical answering and scheduling service?
This is a specialized 24-hour service that answers calls and schedules appointments on behalf of the medical practice. Amazing, right?
But how does the medical answering and scheduling service work?
Medical answering and scheduling services can work in different ways. But the core approach involves the use of real, certified receptionists who answer your phone when you’re not available.
Will the receptionists work in your medical facility?
No! They’re located remotely in a call center setting, which means that you won’t be required to provide in-house hardware.
Here’s everything else you need to know about medical answering services.
Benefits of Medical Answering and Scheduling Services
Hiring the answering service will help you free up your time so you can concentrate on your patients and other critical areas of your business.
But that’s not all. Here are more reasons why you should hire a medical answering and scheduling service.
1. Saving Time and Money
Utilizing a medical scheduling service can help you save lots of money. How?
Well, look at it this way. If you decide to hire an in-house receptionist to take care of your phone calls and schedule appointments, you’ll end up spending more. You’ll be forced to pay a lot of money for wages and salaries, not to mention employees’ benefits, payroll taxes, bonuses, and other expenses.
If you hire the answering service, you’ll only pay for the time spent making calls. You won’t be charged for the idle time in between.
You’ll also have fewer employees, which means you’ll spend less on salaries, training, and other staff-related expenses.
2. More Than Just Taking Calls
Medical scheduling service offers more for less. The service providers use advanced telecommunication equipment that can provide a broad range of essential services. These services include:
- Custom call handling and forwarding
- Voicemail services
- Personalized greetings
- Custom hold prompts
- Patient reminders
- Message service
Telecommunication devices used by the leading medical answering providers may also offer other specialized services. They can register the attendees of various classes or seminars and note down patients’ preferences.
These advanced features enable medical call centers to capture registration, attendance, and billing information fast and serve patients better.
3. HIPAA Compliance
According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) all patients’ information should always be protected and only accessible by the authorized persons.
Violating any HIPAA regulation can subject you and your healthcare facility to unending regulatory actions. Noncompliance could lead to hefty fines and penalties that range from $ 100 to $50000 per incident.
Establishing a call answering center that meets HIPAA requirements can be expensive.
You can solve this problem by hiring the medical answering and scheduling services. They use HIPAA compliant equipment and systems, and their receptionists strive to meet the HIPAA standards.
4. Improved Productivity
With a medical scheduling service taking care of your phone calls and appointments, you and your team will have more time to deliver quality services. You’ll develop brainy strategies that will improve your productivity, profitability, and efficiency.
5. Exceptional Services
Receptionists who work at medical answering centers are well-trained, certified, and experienced. They guarantee superior services.
But that’s not all. Your answering service provider will take some time to learn more about your medical practice and your patients.
With an in-depth understanding of your business model, target clients, and their needs, the service provider will match you with the right professional to handle your clients.
6. Improved Customer Relationship
Hiring a receptionist who doesn’t know how to handle complaints can damage the relationship between you and your patients.
The receptionists working for the medical call centers have exceptional communication and interpersonal skills. They’ll help you build a strong relationship with your patients.
7. Valuable Records
All calls made through call centers are recorded and time-stamped.
You can use the recorded info to gather client feedback, measure return on investment, and improve service delivery.
You can also use these records to improve your marketing strategies and win more clients.
8. Decreased Hold Time
As much as you would like to answer each call immediately, your patients will often be placed on hold. Putting them on hold for too long can ruin your business.
With an answering service by your side, your patients’ calls will never go unanswered. You’ll also be able to address their needs within the shortest time possible. This is likely to ensure customer satisfaction and encourage future referrals.
Tips for Hiring Medical Answering Services
Now that you know what a medical answering and scheduling service is and why you need it, here are some time-tested tips that will help you choose the best service provider.
Check the Experience
Experience is critical when it comes to a medical answering.
You need to choose a company that has enough experience by looking at the number of years they’ve been providing call answering services. If they’ve been in the industry for several years, this is a sign that they have a track record of exceptional services.
Avoid newly established firms, as most of them don’t have the required skills.
Ensure They Comply with Privacy Regulations
If your practice handles Personal Identifiable Information, make sure the medical answering and scheduling service you’re working with is HIPAA compliant. As we highlighted earlier, non-compliance could lead to fines or land you in jail.
The answering service provider should also comply with other privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Go for an answering service that offers 24/7 services. This will enable you to address patients’ needs even after the office hours.
With the 24/7 call answering services, you’ll reduce no-shows, appointment issues, and improve customer experience.
The provider you pick should help you meet your future needs, not just your current needs.
For this reason, make sure you know what your future needs and ambitions are before you select an answering service.
Medical answering services can help you propel your practice to new heights. Try them!
If you decide to hire the service, ensure you follow the tips we’ve highlighted above; they’ll help you make the right choice and avoid making mistakes.
If you are in need of our answering services, you can request a free quote here.