If you are managing a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility and require assistance in managing messages, scheduling appointments, and answering patient’s questions, a medical answering service will be able to help you out, in addition to patients. Not every answering service is the same, however, some are proven to do a better job than others. Here are five things to consider that one of the answering services you find is acceptable across the board before you hire them.
Answering services are known to be great at multitasking. Their tasks involve receiving patients’ calls, setting appointments, giving reminds, among other tasks. They are great for when your staff is too busy.
A medical office answering service needs to be compliant with the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act of 1996).
This law has been enabled to keep privacy of patients discreet, so it is necessary for services to be HIPAA compliant before they interact with a clinic or hospital’s patients. Not only do responsible companies get compliant with the HIPAA, but will have their own team dedicated to it to train each of its representatives. This law will separate amateur services from professional ones.
A great answering service will be able to set appointments for you. If you already have software for scheduling appointments, be sure that the files you export can be compatible with their software; otherwise, there is a compromise that must be made. You will have to purchase and learn their software, or they will have to purchase and learn yours. If they are great at multitasking, however, chances are that they know how to do this job for you.
Ask them if it is possible to give you a software license to use their application.
The answering service you hire will need customized calling scripts that are tailored for patients of your practice. Scripts give call representatives questions and answers to say to callers with concerns they might have. Without scripts, many representatives would be lost, and they would be useless to your patients. Having a script with a lot of scenarios will be helpful to the representatives to give specific and appropriate instructions to patients with questions or concerns, and can direct their calls to the appropriate doctors or physicians if need be.
The levels of professionalism and friendliness differ from service to service. If you pick a medical office answering service that is rude and unfriendly to customers, speaks unclearly to customers, and puts your patients on hold for super long wait times, your business as a whole is put at risk. It should be obvious to medical answering service representatives to be courteous and quick to respond at all times to address the needs of patients, but you would be surprised to know how many that are not. If your doctors need to be friendly and helpful to patients, so should your service.
An answering service that is courteous will also call active patients to remind them of appointments. They can make these calls for you so that you can focus on the appointment you have currently with a patient. If there are services that don’t do this, then think twice about hiring them, because that would mean more work you and your doctors would have to do, which also means it would take you longer to tend to your patients every day. A good medical answering service would understand that helping you is also helping your patients. They are part of the team, so it’s important that they do the jobs you want them to.