If you take the time to do an online search for the term “medical answering service,” you’ll come up with hundreds of results offering every imaginable service at a huge array of prices. This can be overwhelming if you have no direction and aren’t sure of what you’ll need. Many businesses have made the mistake of going with the cheapest service, or the one that pops up on the top of the list. This doesn’t always work out the way that it should and can end up locking a medical practice into a contract with an answering service that just isn’t a good fit. There are many different factors that go into the decision to switch to an answering service in the first place. Many hospitals choose to do this because it saves time and money. They no longer have to employ secretarial staff that are trained and kept up on HIPAA regulations. They save money on office space, technology, benefits packages and other factors when they cut out their in-house phone staff.
Finding an answering service that’s a good fit is imperative to making the transition from in-house to outsourcing successful. A bad experience can do more than just cause a few hiccups. In the medical field, patients trust their medical professionals with one of their most important resources—their health. When a patient calls in with an emergency or an urgent question and it doesn’t make it to the doctor, that patient may be upset enough to find a new doctor. This can earn the practice a bad reputation and cause serious breakdowns in communication.
Finding the right med answering service out of such a huge pool of available ones on the internet requires a careful evaluation of what the medical practice needs. It’s also important to understand how efficiently the office is currently operating. Making the decision to switch over to an answering service should be professionally positive. Choose a company that offers services that will serve your patients and staff better than the current system. This saves money and improves service in one move—making it one that’s professionally smart. Use some of these guidelines to narrow down your search for the right answering service:
Some physicians are hesitant to let go of their office staff when they outsource. If an office plans on keeping a limited number of their original staff for secretarial purposes, then they need to figure out exactly what this staff will be responsible for. Communicating with the answering service can allow the office to designate service hours and to set up a working division of labor. The in-house staff might only be performing their duties on a part-time basis.
The Future of the Practice
It may be possible to find an extremely affordable medical answering service that will suit your practice for right now. If you have plans to expand the medical practice or to change the way that it will be running in the near future—then it’s important to make sure that the answering service can grow with you. Make sure that they have the staff and necessary skills to suit your plans as well as your present needs. This stops the practice from scrambling to find a new service at the last minute.
Some medical answering services will start you out at a promotional rate. This is something that many people can relate to. After a few months of paying this rate, it suddenly skyrockets. This can be worse if the practice signed a contract in order to take advantage of the “introductory” offer. Always read the fine print on pricing.