Many medical service providers are turning to medical answering services to help take care of their patients. This can be a great option for healthcare providers who want to ensure they provide the best possible customer service. It’s important to understand the cost of medical answering service before deciding. This article will explore the costs associated with this service and help you determine whether it is the right choice for your business.
An answering service can help your medical practice save money and increase productivity. An answering service can provide you with a professional, live receptionist to answer your patients’ questions and schedule appointments. You can also get extra help when your office is closed.
Using a medical answering service can be a great way to manage your time on patient phone calls. There are many factors to consider when choosing a service. For example, you should consider how many hours a day you will use the service, the average cost per call, and how long the service will last. You should also consider the quality of the service. Some companies provide superior customer service, while others offer a lower cost of medical answering service.
Call Volume: A higher volume of calls will generally result in a lower cost per call, but an answering service fielding 100 calls will doubtless cost more than one fielding just 50 calls.
Call Duration: The cost of medical answering services is primarily determined by the length of each phone call. The receptionists are the largest expense for a call center. Because most answering service providers sensibly charge by the minute rather than by the call, receptionists are usually the largest expense.
Integration: When utilizing the call center, you can expect to pay anywhere from 5% to 15% more if you want the call center to integrate with your company’s online calendar (to set appointments) or a portal to process payments. These calls require additional training and go beyond the standard classroom procedures.
Holidays: Employees who work on weekends receive time and a half pay, as most companies do. Typically, this hourly rate is around $20.
24×7 Support: Your provider will usually answer calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The only exceptions are on certain holidays when a small fee is charged.
Bilingual Support: There is dedicated staff to support Spanish and English-speaking, or other language clients at most medical answering service companies.
Call Recording: Every call except two-party notification states will be recorded and stored in a secure environment for years.
SMS / Email Message Delivery: Your messages are live via SMS text message, email, or both, including a sound file of the entire conversation.
Toll-Free Number: You can set up a toll-free number to forward your incoming calls to a specified location or your clinic’s incoming calls to a specified location.
Choosing a medical answering service can be a crucial investment for any practice. A reliable answering service will help you get the right information for your patients and clients. It can also help your practice reduce overtime and capture after-hours calls. Whether your practice is a new start-up or a seasoned veteran, a medical answering service can help your practice grow and expand. They can also give the hearing impaired a TTY or IP Relay service.
Pay-per-minute billing is the most common type of billing for medical answering services. It works by counting the number of minutes your operators spend on calls. For instance, a 10-minute call is billed as one unit, while a 5-minute call is billed as three units. Understanding how these minutes are billed is important to ensure you are not overcharged.
Medical answering service pricing will vary depending on the service type and your plan’s cost. Some providers offer a flat rate, while others charge per minute. A flat rate can be a convenient way to get unlimited calls, but most providers lose money on this service.
Another billing method is billing by unit. This approach is similar to billing by call, but it includes non-call communications as well. For instance, a service might charge $0.50 per email or fax. These costs can add up quickly.
Choosing a medical answering service can take time and effort. Some providers offer HIPAA-compliant services that offer fair pricing. Some providers will charge a fee for overages and will round up minutes. It would help if you also looked for a provider that offers flexible call management services.
HIPAA regulates the medical industry and ensuring that your answering service is HIPAA-compliant is crucial. Not only is this important to protect patient’s privacy, but it can also help you avoid penalties and fines.
Choosing a medical answering service that offers HIPAA compliance can be difficult, especially since you may need to hire specialized agents. These agents must be well-trained and will need to be HIPAA compliant. Some companies also charge a one-time fee for setup.
Whether you’re looking to improve patient care or save hard-earned cash, there are several medical answering service options. Depending on your needs, you’ll need to decide between a per-minute, per-unit, or flat-rate plan. Choosing a program that makes the most sense for your practice will help you control your medical answering service cost.
Typically, the per-minute pricing plan is the cheapest. For example, you might pay $50 monthly for 45 to 75 calls. However, if you have a high call volume during non-business hours, consider a per-unit rate instead. You can get a price break if you need additional services like appointment scheduling.
Per-unit pricing is more transparent. A good provider will tell you exactly how many calls you’re getting and how long they take. For example, you can get a real-time report of how many calls you’ve received each month. You can also customize scripts for your account. You can even add additional funding to your account.
One of the most important aspects of a medical answering service is the quality of customer service you’ll receive. You may be surprised at how well your calls are handled. Especially if you’re dealing with after-hours calls or urgent matters, a good answering service can answer the phone promptly.
A medical answering service may seem like a luxury at first glance, but it can save you money in the long run. It can help you free up your staff’s time and eliminate the need to hire more in-house employees. It can also help you promote a professional image.
The best way to get a feel for the cost of a medical answering service is to take advantage of a free trial. Some providers offer free trials that last a few weeks. However, you should always read the fine print. Some providers charge a one-time fee of $100. Some will require a contract.
The most important part of any answering service is its staff. When choosing an answering service, you need to ensure they’re HIPAA-compliant. This legislation protects patient privacy and requires medical answering services to meet certain standards.
Monthly flat-rate pricing plans are straightforward—you will be charged a fixed-rate amount for each month your healthcare practice utilizes the service provider’s services. This plan allows for unlimited calls, but this pricing arrangement is seldom used because most service providers lose money on flat-rate offerings. A small number of firms in the U.S. utilize this strategy, and the quantity of telephone calls you may make per period is now limited.
Beyond taking live calls, answering services may provide additional services. These services may include:
- Live Transfer of Calls: Callers are connected directly to your employees using this service. The answering service’s inbound line remains active throughout the call after the connection is made, so the remainder of the call from the link to the disconnection is charged at a reduced per-minute rate.
- Pre-Recorded Messages: You can create a custom automated message/greeting that plays for every caller before they reach an agent. The recording lasts as long as you want, and billing is based on the length of the recording rather than on the length of time the caller was on the line.
- Software Integration and Custom Development: CMS and similar advanced answering services are capable of complex programming and system integration work. These services can construct custom software that connects your existing business procedures with their call center operation. These services may include database integration, SFTP, API, form-filling, automatic submissions, and other custom features specific to your requirements. These services are usually quoted by the hour or on a per-job basis.
Using a cheap medical answering service may seem smart, but there are hidden costs and downsides to consider before signing the dotted line. By partnering with a high-quality vendor, you can streamline your operations while positively impacting your patient’s health.
A good medical answering service can also provide other helpful services that make your practice’s life easier. Besides answering phone calls, consider a service that can provide information on educational classes or upcoming events. Contact us to learn about medical answering services and their usage.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you choose an answering service?
Choosing an answering service can be a difficult decision for many business owners. When selecting a phone answering solution for your organization, there are several factors to consider. You’ll need to ensure that their service meets the needs of your business. They should have a combination of features that includes interactive voice response, automated messaging, cloud storage capacity, and after-hours call forwarding.
What is the point of an answering service?
An answering service can be a powerful resource for small and medium-sized companies needing more resources to hire an in-house team to handle their calls. These services answer calls, make calls and provide important information about products or services on behalf of the company.
What is the difference between an answering service and an answering machine?
An answering machine is a device used to record audio messages. It typically consists of a microphone, speaker, and dial pad that connects to the telephone line. The user can record a message or play one back for callers who leave messages. Answering services offer customers the same basic service but with one important distinction: They are staffed by live agents who can customize their responses based on incoming calls.
What are the main reasons for using the answering service?
An answering service is a valuable tool for any business, as it helps to improve customer satisfaction and streamline operations. Answering services provide 24/7 customer support, which can help to minimize patient wait times.