Top 7 Factors to Consider When Choosing Medical Answering Services
Finding a reliable answering service for a medical office requires knowing your options. Here are 7 vital factors to consider when choosing medical answering services.
Choosing medical answering services is challenging! You might be afraid to take the plunge. After all, an answering service affects how well your business functions and how satisfied your patients are.
But you no longer have a choice. To stay competitive, you have to start offering automated solutions!
Start your research and consider all your options for answering services. It may seem like an overwhelming task at first, as there are thousands of companies around.
And to find the right answering service for your office, you first have to know what to look for. Keep reading this guide to learn the top seven things to consider when choosing a medical answering service.
1. 24 Hour Call Answering Service
We all know the medical profession does not run on bankers’ hours, so you need a 24 hour, 365 days a year availability. People have to be able to reach their doctor at 4 am for an urgent medical issue.
You need an answering service that can follow a set of steps and questions that can determine if the patient should go to the Emergency Room, go to the office the next day, or speak with the doctor immediately.
A good answering service can also help during the day by taking the overflow of calls when you’re too busy to answer.
2. Cost To Answer Calls
Answering services costs can vary depending on the types of services and amount of calls you have. But on average, you will pay 75 cents to $1.25 for each minute of calls.
Some medical answering services charge fees for setup, overages, and holidays so you’ll need to consider that in your overall cost too. It would help if you also looked at how they round up the minutes of your calls and how they record call times.
Many answering services will offer free trials for seven to ten days so you can test out their service. Use free trials to your advantage as much as possible. It’s a great way to test out the level of service given to the medical staff and the patients.
3. Experience in Handling Medical Calls
Find out what level of customer service they offer to both you and the patients that call in. How efficient are they at answering phone calls? Are they experienced in the medical industry and provide a high level of professional care to your patients?
Not all medical answering service companies are created equal, so take the time to read through online customer reviews. Especially at how well they direct callers to the right medical professional.
4. HIPAA Compliance
HIPAA compliance is essential and also required by law. As a medical office, you are responsible for how your patients’ confidential data is handled and stored by whoever accesses it.
So if you choose an answering service company that doesn’t handle confidential information correctly, you ultimately are held responsible for violating HIPAA. Penalties and fines can be hefty, so this is not something to skim past.
Ensure the answering service you choose works with hospitals and medical offices regularly and can guarantee you they follow HIPAA regulations.
5. Data Security
There are no taking shortcuts with data security. So make sure the medical answering service you choose is using the latest medical software.
Don’t be afraid to ask the questions you need to ask. Please find out about their computer software systems, encryption technology, and security training. Make sure they have their operating systems up to date, and anti-virus software is too.
Even if they follow all HIPAA compliance laws, they can still put you at risk by using outdated software and technology.
And if you want to use payment services, be sure the answering service company you choose is PCI DSS compliant. PCI stands for Payment Card Industry and the Data Security Standard.
Being PCI DSS compliant means a company that accepts credit card information must complete a self-assessment each year and pass a security scan every quarter.
6. The Types of Medical Related Services Offered
Medical answering services can be as basic as a live person answering the phone and passing along information. However, other answering services go a step further and offer much more like:
- Live call answering for 24-hours a day
- Message taking services
- After-hours answering with messages sent to staff
- Overflow call answering for when your call volumes are high
- Schedule appointments
- Call patients for appointment reminders
- Process payments
- Record and archive calls
Some answering services offer secure messaging services to send text messages to staff and patients.
Others can personalize the experience for your callers instead of using some generic call-template. A good answering service will take the time to work with you on customization.
Generic call handling services do not make your patients feel cared for and valued. Instead, make sure the call scripting they use can suit your needs.
7. Automated Solutions
Some medical answering services only offer email, fax, or text to communicate information without reading them in an online system.
Getting information this way makes communication more difficult because the data comes in bits and pieces. Bits and pieces that you have to put back together to make sense of the message.
If you receive a lot of calls, messages, and reports after hours, it’s best to be able to access this information through a web portal that:
- Logs your calls and messages
- Allows you to play call recordings
- It gives you access to reports
- Allows you to upload or change on-call schedules
Nowadays, automation is a massive benefit to any business, and waiting for fax messages to come only slows you down.
Choosing Medical Answering Services
Now you know what to look for when choosing medical answering services, you can start by talking with the professionals at 24×7 Doctors Answering Service.
We can help you free up your time, eliminate scheduling conflicts, and save money.
So make sure you contact us today for fewer headaches and more help.