athenahealth Live Answering Service and Call Center

Patient Calling Athenahealth Answering Service

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 24th, 2017, and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

In this article, we examine three topics:

  • The importance of first-call resolution.
  • Use of athenahealth for managing medical practices and electronic health records.
  • Unicom works within athenahealth to help medical practices deliver a superior patient experience.

To get the most out of your relationship with your medical call center, make sure that the call center can support the Practice Management System used by your in-house staff.

Healthcare industry growth not slowing down

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is forecasting the healthcare industry will add 3,4 million jobs by 2028. The list of fastest-growing occupations identifies 18 out of 30 related to the healthcare industry.

Some of the highest projections in health care are home health aides and in personal care aides.

Health Care Employment Growth 2018-28- Decade

The importance of first-call resolution 

The concept defines itself, first-call resolution (FCR) is when call center agents solve the caller’s problem on the first call. Its importance covers employee performance and customer satisfaction. FCR metric helps your company in significant ways if done correctly. It will have a positive impact on the profitability and in the agents’ work by making them more efficient and improve customer support.

Besides, this metric will help your company finding lower FCR rates and look for possible solutions for these customers’ calls. First-Call Resolution will reduce operational costs and wait time since there will be no need for the client to repeat one. It will also change the customer experience and gain their loyalty and satisfaction.

Role of Support Specialists

These back-end support specialists in your medical call center must be knowledgeable and well trained if they are to act as an extension of internal operations.

  • Understands the practice’s portfolio of services
  • Trained on specific medical practice processes
  • Experienced using your practice management software

Practice’s portfolio of services

A key to integrating a medical call center into the practice is for the support specialists to have a clear understanding of how the practice helps your patients.

Specialists should be able to clearly communicate the needs of patients as well as provide accurate details when appropriate.

Patients should feel the support specialist is a cohesive extension of your practice.

Medical Practice Processes

Support specialists have the responsibility of delivering a positive patient experience on each call.

Patients want to feel well-assured they will get the information they need or will be put in contact with the right person every call.

With proper planning and training, support specialists can implement a practice’s processes to ensure a superior level of service.

Practice Management Software

Using a call center for medical offices that have the expertise to use the same software your in-house staff uses will maximize the efficiency of the call agents. It helps ensure that patients won’t experience a gap in service when they interact with the call center.

There are many options for practice management software. Your contact center must support it.

We’re going to explore the use of athenahealth Practice Management software. The concepts extend to any medical practice management provider.

athenahealth Software: Easy to Deploy, Use, and Support

The athenahealth software is highly customizable to fit the needs of medical organizations of all sizes and specialties. The software is easy to configure, allowing medical call centers to get up and running with the software quickly and easily.

The solution is cloud-based, which eliminates the need for software installations on-premise.

athenahealth’s fully staffed support department stands ready to train and support all aspects of the software platform. If your IT or support staff is unable to assist with applicable networking and integration activities, technicians from Athena Software can help. This will help assistance getting the deployment up and running, and training the user base to provide the lowest learning curve possible.

athenahealth’s solution is broken into four distinct areas:

  • Electronic Health Records – using athenaClinicals. This system provides the confidence to secure all of the applicable Medicare Meaningful Use payments from Electronic Medical Records (EMR) that are processed by the practice.
  • Practice Management – using athenaCollector. This system provides the means to bill all portions of any medical practice that ensures that bills get paid the first time.
  • Patient Communications – using the athenaCommunicator. This system provides patient scheduling and empowers the patients to take their care into their own hands with the practice-branded patient web portal.
  • Care Coordination – using athenaCoordinator. This system provides order transmission, insurance pre-certification, and patient registration processes among physicians and hospitals, surgical centers and imaging centers.

The athenahealth platform is portable. It is a Software as a Service (SaaS) and is cloud-based, access to all the components of athenahealth easily transferable. It can be accessed by multiple offices or healthcare call centers.

Patient data integrity is protected by maintaining regular backups. Data security is enhanced by automatically logging off agents to prevent unauthorized access.

athenahealth In Action With a Medical Call Center

Agents trained on the use of practice management software, such as athenahealth, allows them to be more effective in appointment scheduling, and other key practice functions.

4 Common Activities of Support Specialists

Most common tasks of support specialist when working inside of athenahealth:

  • Patient Registration
  • Insurance Intake
  • Athena Scheduling
  • Billing Inquiries

They stay in sync with actions taken by internal staff.

A properly trained call center agent can potentially handle a whole gamut of different patient management functions.

Patient Registration

Support specialists can help register new patients.

The screen below can be customized to collect data points relevant to the practice. Specific fields can be required to collect vital information.

Medical Center using Athenahelath Answering Services

Insurance Intake

During the registration process, majority practices require new patients to provide their insurance details.

Support specialists can walk patients through this process.

Call Center Services using Athenahealth

Athena Scheduling

During the appointment setting process, the patient will likely give a little background as to the reason for it. 

This information will allow the practitioners to begin familiarizing themselves with the patient and the request. Practitioner assignments can be made at the time the appointment is taken, by the needs of the patient.

Appointment Scheduling Services for Athenahealth

Billing Inquiries

An agent trained in the use of athenahealth software, or another practice management system, can more effectively handle billing inquiries, they will have access to the full case history.

Having both your internal and your external team using the same software increases efficiency.


As a medical business owner or manager, you want all the information that can help you efficiently manage patients and thus maximize revenue.

The combination of a robust practice management system, such as athenahealth, and a medical call center can be an essential component of improving your practice’s level of service and efficiency.

Unicom is a 24-hour answering service company located in Chicago, Illinois. Our professional athenahealth customer service agents are available  24 / 7 / 365 to help your patients. We never close.

With Unicom, simply request an answering service quote. Together we can determine if there is a good fit to manage patient phone calls.

Disclaimer: Unicom Teleservices is in no way affiliated with athenahealth, Inc., nor do we receive compensation from athenahealth, Inc. The intent of this article is to solely showcase Unicom Teleservices’ ability to work in EMR platforms.

Devin Bailey
Devin Bailey
I've been in the call center industry for over a decade. A big part of my job is educating businesses on the role telecommunications and outsourced task procedures can play for their business. Understanding their processes is critical to verify and implement the right services. When I am not in front of clients I manage the technological infrastructure in the call center.