In order 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.
In this blog we examine the use of athenahealth for managing medical practices and electronic health records as well as providing on-going communication with patients.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is forecasting that all aspects of the medical field are going to be increasing staffing over the next few years. This includes nursing specialties, home care specialties, and even back-end support specialties residing in medical call centers. These back-end support specialists in the medical call center must be knowledgeable and well trained if they are to act as an extension of your internal operations. This includes having the necessary training to interact with your practice management system. Using a call center for medical offices that has the expertise to use the same software your in-house staff uses will maximize the efficiency of the call agents and 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, and whichever one you use, it’s important that your call center supports it.
Read more about medical labor statistics.
In this blog, we’re going to explore the use of athenahealth Practice Management solution, but the concepts extend to any medical practice management provider.
The athenahealth software is highly customizable to fit the needs of medical organizations of all sizes and specialties. Even with this extreme customizability, the software is easy to deploy and configure, allowing medical call centers to get up and running with the software quickly and easily. In addition, 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. This means that if your IT or support staff is unable to assist with any applicable networking and integration activities, technicians from Athena Software are there to help where applicable. This will provide 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. These include the following:
The athenahealth platform is also portable. Since it is a Software as a Service (SaaS) and is cloud based, access to all the components of athenahealth is easily transferable, which means it can be accessed by multiple offices, or healthcare call centers in separate locations. Patient data integrity is protected by maintaining regular backups and data security is enhanced by automatically logging off agents to prevent unauthorized access.
When medical call center agents are trained on the use of practice management software, such as athenahealth, it allows them to be more effective in appointment scheduling, and it opens the possibility of outsourcing a variety of other patient management activities. Whenever a patient’s information is looked up and located, all of the data regarding that client is readily available to the agent. New appointments can be booked and old or upcoming appointments can either be changed or canceled. Any notes pertinent to the contact with the patient can also be appended to patient’s contact log. All of these call center activities stay in sync with actions taken by internal staff because the external agents are using the same system as internal staff. A properly trained call center agent can potentially handle a whole gamut of different patient management functions, from intake, through billing and follow-up using the athenahealth software.
As an example of how the use of athenahealth, in concert with your answering service, can help improve patient management, consider the initial phone call a patient makes to schedule the first appointment. During the appointment setting process, which is very possibly handled by the outsourced call center, the patient will likely give a little background as to why the appointment is being requested. The patient’s records can be enriched with this information, allowing the practitioners that will be involved in their care to begin the process of familiarizing themselves with the patient and the request. Practitioner assignments can be made at the time the appointment is taken, in accordance with the needs of the patient.
Likewise, an agent trained in the use of athenahealth software, or another practice management system, can more effectively handle billing inquires because they will have access to the full case history. If any adjustments need to be made, or if an issue needs to be escalated to internal staff, having both your internal and your external team using the same software increases efficiency.
As a medical business owner or manager, you want every bit of 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 which is versed in how to use the practice management system can be an important component of improving your practice’s level of service and overall efficiency.
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