Sometimes, as a healthcare professional, you may be experiencing the relentless 24 -hour per day operation. Your patients trust you to support their continuing medical needs, expecting you to receive and answer their phone calls quickly in case of medical attention. Hiring an answering service for medical offices can save you time, money and struggle, as they handle all of your incoming calls from your patients.
Medical answering services allow you business to focus on the issues which affect your practice. One big concern that many healthcare professionals have is not being able to communicate with their patients accurately. Information is essential for well-being. And that is where medical answering services take a lot of the burden of communication off your backs so that you can deal with the patient who is in front of you.
Below are three significant areas to use as a guide during your new medical answering service search
HIPAA is improving efficiency in the healthcare industry, it is protecting the privacy of patients and their health plans. Ignoring to find a HIPAA compliant answering service for medical offices could be one of the most catastrophic mistakes you will make.
Secured Texts & Emails
Simple patient information, such as patient name and telephone number, is considered PHI irrespective of whether the data is in public locations like a phone book or internet directory.
HIPAA sets the standard for sensitive patient data protection. It provides federal protections for PHI held by covered entities, giving patients an array of rights concerning that information. Privacy Rule balances the disclosure of personal health information needed for patient care.
Most answering services do not adequately incorporate the use of encryption or password protection when delivering essential messages containing PHI to your office.
HIPAA guidelines state that all electronic transmission of PHI must be secure which typically means securing PHI by encryption and password protection. Therefore, traditional SMS and text messaging and emailing are not reliable. They lack encryption and password protection.
Unsecured SMS, texts, and email are considered a violation of HIPAA and can result in massive fines. Unfortunately, continuous usage of such unprotected communication methods can land you in jail.
If your medical answering service does not utilize encryption or password protected emails, texts, and SMS, then do not provide a secure web portal to view message information, you will be at risk, and I’ll recommend you to consider a new medical answering service.
Please immediately re-evaluate your current medical answering service for your protection.
These services are affordable, and they overcome the mistakes of the traditional answering service industry. Some people might claim this be to be false and invalid because all automated systems lack human interaction which is imperative in the quality of patient care.
But remember, an automated system is only as accurate as of the information set up within the system itself, therefore, if your office forgets to update the automatic on-call rotation, your patients quality of care will suffer in the end increasing your liability.
You need an automated service in your business to store your daily auditing logs and voicemails that are required by HIPAA.