With the increasing demand for health care services, the medical community and its allied services are being pushed to their maximum to meet the demands of the public. A medical answering service becomes an imperative need in delivering patient care in this situation.
Because medical crises can happen at any time, including after office hours, your patients should be able to contact you at any time. It does not imply that you must work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You could simply use the medical answering services that offer after-hours services on behalf of you and your team. Also, medical answering services keep you and your staff well connected.
Table of Contents
- Key Features Of A Medical Answering Service
- Why Opt For A Medical Answering Service?
- How To Choose The Best Medical Answering Service?
Key Features Of A Medical Answering Service
Medical answering services provide excellent customer service and pay close attention to detail when taking incoming calls for your medical practice. A medical answering service can also help you comply with HIPAA privacy regulations. They can free up time for your in-office personnel, save you money on a full-time on-site receptionist, and give your patients a sense of importance.
Medical answering services offer the following:
- Live Answering: A live receptionist is usually available 24/7. If you give the service a list of FAQs and scripted replies, they may be able to answer patient queries.
- Message Taking: The answering service collects information and forwards it to the appropriate parties in the facility.
- After-Hours Answering: When the office is closed, incoming calls can be answered and messages sent to providers and staff by a live receptionist.
- Overflow Call Answering: Instead of getting a busy signal when patients try to reach your office, the answering service will have a real receptionist accessible to interact with callers whenever your medical practice encounters surges in call volume.
- Schedule Appointments: Answering service receptionists can use a medical practice calendar to schedule appointments for callers. Some services also verify insurance eligibility.
- Appointment Reminders: Many services also send reminders to patients of their upcoming appointments, thus bringing down cancellations and no-shows.
- Payment Processing: Patients can pay their copayments or outstanding amounts through medical answering services, which take payments via debit and credit card over the phone.
- Call Recording: Calls can be recorded and archived by medical answering services for subsequent access and review.
- Secure Messenger: A HIPAA-compliant messenger service is available from several medical answering providers, allowing receptionists or medical practice workers to text patients securely. Typically, these messengers are accessed via a smartphone application.
Why Opt For A Medical Answering Service?
When your medical facility is closed/or the medical personnel are on leave, medical answering services can provide your patients with the ability to contact their physician or nurse without experiencing any difficulty.
If you’re not sure whether to handle incoming calls in-house or hire a medical answering service, take a step back and assess your circumstances. You can make a smart move to afford medical answering service in the case of the following situation:
- Missing calls: One of the most obvious reasons to route your phone lines to medical answering service is to avoid missing calls. A live receptionist can ensure that your callers are taken care of and that messages are passed on to you swiftly and properly if your team is occupied with other work and unable to reach the phone.
- Canceled appointments or no-shows: Appointment cancellations and no-shows are common problems for medical practices. Medical answering services are an additional layer to ensure your patients receive a reminder about their upcoming visit. Medical answering services are an additional layer to guarantee your patients receive a reminder about their impending visit.
- Receive many after-hours calls: Although most medical offices aren’t open 24 hours a day, patients can still call to inquire or schedule appointments. After-hours calls can be handled by medical answering services, which can boost your practice’s client engagement.
- Call volume increases unexpectedly: If there are any unexpected spikes in call volume, some of your patients may have trouble reaching through your front desk. All calls to your office are returned promptly when you hire a medical answering service to manage overflow calls – even during the busiest times.
How To Choose The Best Medical Answering Service?
Trying to figure out which medical answering service is best for you and your medical practice can be challenging. Quality care and patient retention should be a primary goal for all physicians and, as a result, the service provider you choose. The attributes listed below should be considered when selecting a medical answering service to assist you in determining which professionals are most suited to represent you and your practice.
- 24-Hour Services: Choose a medical answering service that may extend its appointment to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Patients will be able to access them while scheduling appointments as a result of this. It will help you stay productive by keeping your schedule packed.
- Medical Devices and Software: It is critical to understand that technology plays an important role in the medical field. You must have your medical device, software, and hardware on hand at all times when you engage a medical answering service. All of these items should be handled by a good program.
- Task Managing Abilities: You should inquire about the billing procedures used by your medical answering service. Medical billing is an important aspect of any medical service and a necessity for medical practices.
If the answering service does not correctly handle your invoices, you may suddenly find yourself with many medical bills to pay. Working with a professional agency that can help you pay your medical costs without worrying about money is far preferable.
- Training and Skills: You should inquire about the medical answering service’s experience and training in dealing with medical calls. The answering service should have a lot of expertise working with local medical facilities. Examine the answering service’s abilities in addition to its experience and pay attention to how they respond to medical questions. Some services merely take calls, while others handle both call taking and billing.
- Professionalism: In most organizations, including healthcare, professionalism plays an important part in customer service. Medical answering services, unlike other forms of answering services, connect you directly to a medical practitioner.
To ensure a smooth transfer to the medical professional, you should engage a professional answering service. Remember that the answering service is the client’s first impression of your organization, and the answering service should make connecting clients to their doctors as simple as possible.
- Teleconferencing: You should inquire about the types of teleconferencing and video conferencing services that the service provides. In today’s medical world, video conferencing is a necessary tool. The majority of doctors and specialists today practice in other states or countries. As a result, a patient may have to travel long distances to see their doctor. Even if you don’t have all medical specialists on staff, teleconferencing allows them to attend to the clients.
- Customer Service: See how the answering service handles the medical call. Gather information about how fast and efficient phone lines are installed and maintained. As you can see from reading many internet reviews, some organizations are more efficient than others when answering calls and connecting customers with the right medical personnel. Top companies provide excellent customer service, and medical staff take pleasure in their work and treat all patients with dignity.
- HIPAA Compliance: Make sure you hire a HIPAA-compliant healthcare service provider. HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and it is a set of rules that govern how health information is protected. Medical answering services handle much sensitive health information, and a HIPAA-compliant customer service provider must understand the importance of protecting clients’ health information privacy.
- Referrals: Ask your medical insurance agents for recommendations if you can’t decide which medical answering service to choose. Many agents recommend a company based on the recommendations of their current clientele. Independent agents are also available to aid you in making this selection.
The Way Forward
It is critical to select a flexible medical answering service. When the need arises, look for a provider that provides coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The staff will be more productive if an appropriate answering service is provided throughout the facility, as they will be able to redirect their duty calls to such services.