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A Better Answer Blog

Medical Answering Services: What Your Practice Should Consider

Health care reform has allowed millions of Americans to gain access to health care through affordable insurance for the first time and that's great news for medical offices. The increase in patients making appointments at doctor's offices across the country is great for business but forces those health care providers to consider round-the-clock availability. While staffing a medical office 24/7 may not be a possibility, the doctor is only a call away with an answering service.

When hiring the perfect medical answering service, medical offices should consider these qualities:

Dependability In A Medical Answering Service

A professional medical answering service can bridge that gap between office hours and round-the-clock patient needs but it requires a service that is dependable, day and night. Whether it's for an hour lunch break or a long holiday weekend, ensuring that your answering service consistently answers calls and accurately relaying messages is imperative. Asking for references from medical offices currently using an answering service can help medical office managers gauge whether a service is dependable.

Professionalism In An Answering Service

When it comes to patient satisfaction, you not only want to ensure your patients receive exceptional care in the office but also receive great service by those contracted to interact with patients when you're not available. A medical answering service that asks the wrong questions or doesn't understand the medical field will only cause more confusion in your office. You need to ensure that not only will the answering service representatives act professional but interact appropriately with your patients. Calling potential answering services and speaking with their representatives is a great way to determine whether the person answering the phone will provide professional service for your patients.

Fluency and Multilingualism Answering Services

With more businesses finding a customer demand for off-hour interaction, the answering service business is booming. To meet demand, many answering services are outsourcing to foreign countries. Ensuring that the representatives answering the phone are fluent and understandable is essential, especially for elderly patients and those with hearing loss. Speaking to a few of the medical answering service representatives can help allay any fears of patients having difficulty interacting with your answering service.

Beyond being fluent in English, medical offices should also consider their non-English speaking patients when hiring a medical answering service. For those with a large Spanish-speaking patient population, catering to those patients is essential. Contracting the services of an answering service that employs bilingual employees is a must.

HIPAA Compliance

Patient confidentiality is essential in health care. Even more damaging than the fines levied for breaking HIPAA is the lost trust that can result between a health care provider and a patient. Medical offices want to ensure that their patients are dealt with not only professionally but with full confidentiality. For medical office managers looking for an answering service, ensuring that the staff of the service are trained to maintain patient confidentiality and comply with HIPAA is imperative. Ask potential medical answering services about what steps they take to train their staff in HIPAA and how messages and medical information is stored or destroyed after the message is sent to your office.

Medical offices often spend more time vetting a suitable medical answering service than determining whether an answering service would benefit their business. Ensuring that your patients not only speak to a professional, understandable representative but that messages are transmitted accurately and prioritized appropriately is essential for excellent patient care. Take the time to consider these characteristics when hiring a medical answering service.

Medical Answering Services for Your Practice

Looking for the best in medical answering services for your practice? Contact A Better Answer today to talk about a custom solution for your business.

what to look for in an answering service

Topics: Better Service