Choosing an excellent answering service is a genuine concern in the medical industry. Many business owners need help selecting the right company. They need help in settling with a local or non-specialized service.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a healthcare answering service. Your needs might vary from others. Finding what fits your circumstances can be challenging for you. You must take your time and choose a company that offers all the features you need to succeed along with the much-needed HIPAA compliance.
As a healthcare practitioner, you will realize that all answering services differ. Choosing or switching an answering service can help streamline your operations if you are running an urgent care near me center. It can enhance your bottom line. It can also help with your demand as your practice grows.
Below are the top five tips for choosing a state-of-the-art healthcare answering service.
1. Consider the Experience and Professionalism of the Provider
You will encounter many companies as you look for answering services. Some of them are new and have no experience in the industry. Others have been around for some time, although their services may not be as reliable as you would like them to be.
Healthcare answering service allows doctors to focus on providing care for their patients. It has a dedicated team of professionals. Healthcare professionals will answer the phone with competence and speed.
- Patients want to feel like they are being cared for by professionals. They want someone to greet them warmly, and be knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. They want someone who will answer their questions. And they prefer someone who will make them feel comfortable.
- Quality customer service is important. Experienced professionals know how to handle difficult situations. They can handle angry patients or cases with urgency.
- Working with professional answering services that have experience gives you the time and peace of mind to focus on your practice and other duties.
- Outsourcing your medical answering service can help your patients receive help faster. Let’s say your patients call for an appointment or prescription refill. It decreases their wait time to receive your answer.
Consider their professionalism when deciding which healthcare answering service you want to have. Make sure that they will act and treat your patients with respect. Ask them about the provider’s history in the business. Research if they offer you great value for your money.
2. Check for HIPAA Compliance
HIPAA is a set of federal laws that aim to protect the privacy of medical records and other patient data. Healthcare answering companies need to follow HIPAA guidelines.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule protects confidentiality and integrity. It also relates to the availability of protected health information (ePHI). It regulates how covered entities should manage ePHI. It also safeguards ePHI to reduce unauthorized access and risks.
HIPAA privacy rules are very strict. It is the foundation of healthcare IT security. They mandate that all electronic medical records be private and secure.
The answering service you choose must provide you with an audit trail. You must be able to know who accessed your information. And you must know when they accessed your medical records.
3. Choose a service with 24/7/365 functionality.
Are you trying to get more physicians to respond to urgent messages in the late evening or on weekends? Then a healthcare answering service with this feature is critical. Here’s why you need to have 24/7/365 functionality.
- Patient satisfaction.You’ll be able to guarantee that your patients will always have someone available. Someone who can take care of their needs. It can help build trust between you and your patients. You need this for providing quality care and retaining clients for years to come.
- Personalized services.Make sure the healthcare answering service can handle both inbound and outbound calls and live chat requests, all the while protecting PHI as per HIPAA compliance. This way, your patients will always be able to get in touch with someone reliable and knowledgeable.
- Maintain continuity with patients.Imagine that after-hours calls come to your office at all times of the day and night. If you do not employ an answering service that works non-stop, it could be hours before you can get back to them. But what if they are in pain or need to see the doctor as soon as possible? They could wait for hours, or worse—no one will answer. A dedicated answering service gives your patients peace of mind knowing that someone will always be there to help them.
- Facilitating urgent care.A healthcare answering service staffed with trained professionals can answer calls even when the doctor isn’t available. They can direct you to the appropriate resource or clinic. You never have to worry about not reaching a doctor when you need one—even if it’s 3 AM on Sunday!
- Ease of communication.All healthcare answering services provide some level of 24/7 coverage. But some offer more than others do. Some companies also offer live chat and email support throughout the day. So the customers can get help whenever they need it—even if they’re not calling in themselves!
Choose one with round-the-clock functionality. You never know when a client will walk into your hospital lobby needing help. Will the front office staff be able to handle them? What if they’re on lunch break? It can ruin your office’s image and credibility. So make sure you choose an answering service available at night and on weekends.
4. Consider the Cost To Answer Calls
A third-party call center solution can help the business handle its workload better. When you’re choosing an answering service for your business, there are a few factors you need to consider. The first is whether you want a per-minute, per-call, or per-unit billing.
- Per Minute Billing.The bill is according to the length of the call (number of minutes). The more time spent on the phone with a consumer, the higher the expense. Most live answering services offer basic minute plans. It costs more if you exceed the plan’s specified minutes. Select an appropriate package. Estimate how many minutes your company will use each month.
- Per Call Billing.You are billed by the total number of calls received and handled. The disadvantage is you get billed for accidental inbound calls. For example, a client dials the wrong number or hangs up after a few seconds.
- Per Unit Billing.The basis of your bill is a call, text message, transferred call, or “unit” of any other call activity. This strategy could be confusing. It relies on how much each action costs the answering service provider. It also depends on how much revenue they want to make from each unit fee.
The cost also includes setup or account activation fees and special holiday fees. As cost is a crucial factor for the business, look for a service provider who can get you the best value for your money.
Compare different service providers before making a choice. Request a trial run to know if you are making the right choice. Make the best use of the promotional offers they could provide.
Make sure you choose the right package that can effectively accommodate the volume of inbound calls. And do not hesitate to upscale or downscale your plan when needed. Choosing a service provider that offers flexibility in pricing can be beneficial to your business.
5. Services and Packages
Healthcare answering services offer different plans, packages, and features. Don’t hesitate to ask questions so that you can understand what is available and will work for you.
The first question to ask is how many calls they answer per day. This number will give you a good idea of how busy they may be on any given day. This will also give you an idea of how this will affect your ability to get through in an emergency.
Another critical factor is the cost of their services. Some companies charge per call, while others charge a monthly fee for unlimited calls. The monthly fee option can be less expensive than paying by the ring. There may be better choices for you too!
Another thing to consider is whether they offer live chat and phone support. Chat and phone support that answer during business hours (and after hours too). Both options can give people more flexibility when they need help most!
There are hundreds of different healthcare answering services out there. So it can be a daunting task to select the right one. It must suit you whether you’re a new practice, a hospital, or a clinic.
Choose the appropriate one to deliver the best treatment to patients. It also includes business systems that simplify everything.
In summary, doing your homework before choosing a medical answering service is essential. Make sure you ask your prospective service provider many questions. Ask them about their rates, services, and capabilities.
Finally, choose an answering service that is HIPAA compliant.