Often, doctors refer to medical answering services by calling it a necessary evil. It is utmost important to handle after-hours calls from the patients during emergency situations. However, if you fail to respond in time and with accuracy, you have all the probabilities to face a legal suite.
Medical call centers are recognized as the representatives of a doctor’s office or a medical facility. In this regard, any glitch on their part can compound your problems in near future.
However, there are many ways to mitigate such problems. But you must understand the probable malpractice risks before moving on.
Patient Information and Satisfaction:
In this industry, patient satisfaction overrules all other aspects of service. Hence, if your answering service can’t respond amiably to your patients and not assist them in crisis situations, it is considered a malpractice. In this regard, you should prefer a company having staff comprising of well-trained medical professionals to handle urgent calls and relay them immediately. Secondly, patient information should never be leaked under any circumstances. Hence, if your provider is not 100% HIPAA Compliant, you must find a new service partner.
Stay Available Always:
Having telephone answering services means that you must be available round the clock to answer the calls relayed to you. You can’t deny your responsibility in such cases. In case you aren’t available, there must be some backup numbers that can be contacted for emergencies.
To mitigate harmful aftermaths of these malpractices, ensure the following:
Handling Proximate Causes:
In any legal suit involving medical call centers, it is often asked if there was a relation between the patient injuries and standard of services offered by doctor answering services. Hence, be prepared to face such litigations with written documentation and recorded messages. In cases of severe emergencies, calls must be preferably picked on the first ring and transferred to concerned physician within few seconds. If you have received any such call, ask the patient to do the needful whether it means to contact 911 or meet up at ED.
In every scenario, you must have a written proof. Hence, prefer the companies that send transcribed messages, precisely as they are, to your email id immediately after receiving the call. Also, keep the data management system updated with patient’s complaint, advice given, time and date of call, etc.
With these considerations and selection of reliable medical call centers, you can easily avoid legal hassles in your telephone answering service.