When you’re running a medical practice, you know that being available to your patients is of the utmost importance. Not only is in-person customer service essential, but being available by phone is critical.
However, picking up the phone in a busy doctor’s office is not always possible. Neither is answering every call yourself around the clock. An answering service may provide the solution, but what perks should you look for when evaluating a potential doctor’s office answering service?
HIPAA-Compliant Answering Service
Anyone who works in the healthcare industry understands the crucial importance of HIPAA compliance. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is there to ensure your patients’ sensitive information is kept secure, stored correctly, and only disseminated to those authorized to know it.
Not only can a HIPAA breach result in legal action and financial loss to your doctor’s office, but it creates distrust between you and your patients.
The potential reputational damage alone is enough to ensure that any answering service you’re considering is a HIPAA-compliant medical answering service.
When considering an answering service, this is critical. Anyone answering the phone on behalf of your practice should understand how to speak with someone calling in an emergency situation.
When it comes to healthcare, everybody’s problems seem to be an emergency. And often, they really are. In true emergency situations, your medical answering service needs to know when to tell callers to hang up and dial 911.
For urgent, but non-emergency events, your doctor answering service should be able to follow your protocols for call escalation and notification of on-call staff. When personnel are alerted in the middle of the night who shouldn’t be, that’s just one more problem on top of a mounting issue. Accuracy in on-call notification is crucial.
Finally, if a call does not meet your criteria of an emergency or urgent matter, your healthcare answering service needs to be able to handle the call in your preferred manner. That may be by taking a message or scheduling an appointment.
Another aspect to emergency medical answering services is the timing. Emergencies rarely come at convenient times, but most medical practices are not open 24/7, even if an on-call doctor is. So, when the office door is locked and the lights are off, a 24 hour doctor’s answering service ensures you are still available to your patients at any time of the day or night.
Plus, many busy professionals, parents, and workers will greatly appreciate being able to phone your virtual receptionist to book an appointment at any time rather than having to catch your receptionist during office hours.
It’s a win for customer service, patient care, and the reputation of your practice.
No matter how advanced a patient’s level of English speaking might be, it can be very challenging to communicate when you are under duress. These days, 43 million people in the United States speak Spanish as a first language.
In an emergency situation, or even in the day-to-day action of calling up to book an appointment, patients greatly appreciate the opportunity to communicate with a medical professional in the language they are most comfortable with.
So, engaging a doctor’s office answering service that provides bilingual service is a great perk— one that your patients will truly appreciate.
Availability & Quality Service
For many businesses, their peak times and busy seasons are easy to predict. Retail locations know when holiday shopping happens and the times of day that people visit on their lunch breaks or after work.
For a medical practice, predicting when the office will be busy is a lot more tricky. Sure, you know you will probably be busier during flu season (or a pandemic). Yet most doctors and their staff will have those random days where the phone doesn’t stop and it feels like appointments will never end.
It can happen pretty unexpectedly. When it does, your office’s phone goes unanswered or calls are left on hold or not picked up. With a doctor’s office answering service, your remote receptionist can pick up the overflow calls and make sure that every patient is answered and no one is left waiting.
Streamlined Schedule Management
An answering service is only good for your practice if they’re able to follow through and help the patient then and there on the phone. That means being able to perform appointment scheduling for your patients and providing streamlined schedule management for your office.
By providing your answering service center with access to your existing scheduling tools, they can easily book or change appointments for your patients without making them wait. Plus, you and your staff will be kept constantly updated as to how your appointments are shaping up for the days and weeks ahead.
If you’re looking for a physicians answering service to provide 24/7 phone availability to your patients with affordable month-to-month pricing options for you, get in touch with AnswerMTI today at 844-798-1027.