Learn what is an answering service for a doctor's office and how you can benefit.

Humanizing Customer Service

Thinking about hiring an answering service for your medical practice? If you are, you’re not alone. More and more medical practices are doing it.

But, what is an answering service for a doctor's office and how can you benefit?

Hiring a live answering service makes sense. Answering services provide benefits that can optimize your practice’s business operations, increase profitability, and boost patient care.

In addition to reducing the need for a receptionist, medical answering services:

  • Boost patient satisfaction
  • Reduce operating expenses
  • Protect physician privacy/personal time
  • Decrease time patients are on hold
  • Help meet Medicare/Government requirements
  • Keep irrefutable call records/protect patient privacy
  • Help you meet HIPAA requirements

Medical answering services can even serve as a lifeline during an emergency, keeping you connected to your patients during hurricanes and unexpected disasters.

Not Your Father’s Answering Services

Today's answering services aren't your father's answering services. They've evolved over the past decade thanks in large part to the Internet.

Many now offer services that go well beyond just answering phones and taking messages, such as contacting you in your preferred format.

These services can not only help you dispense better patient care but also build your practice and your brand in the marketplace. They could be just what you need to take your practice to the next level.

Here are some of the most critical new services that today’s answering services provide in addition to handling inbound calls:

  • Appointment Scheduling
  • Appointment Reminders
  • Patient Outreach
  • Patient Acquisition
  • Patient Registration
  • Confidential Messaging

Services like these can boost your practice’s productivity and efficiency. Plus, they can provide additional support when you and your staff need it the most.

Keeping Doctors, Staff and Patients Connected

The key to running successful practices is keeping you connected with your staff and your patients. When a patient is sick or needs medical care, they want to talk directly to a doctor.

Many of today’s answering services can help you stay connected with patients using a range of communication methods.

Email, text messaging, phone calls, fax, and/or paging are all ways that today’s medical answering services can help you keep in touch.

While most services provide standard plans for delivering services, many offer custom plans designed to fit your practice's specific needs.

Three Things to Look for in a Medical Answering Service

Not all answering services, however, are equal. Many offer a wide range of call center services to business but aren't tailored to meet the needs of busy medical practices. So, you need to do your homework.

Below are three key considerations when choosing a medical answering service:

Live call agents trained in healthcare software

HIPAA-compliant answering services continuously train their agents on the latest healthcare software available. That means two things for you.

One is that the call agents can work efficiently on your platform. And two, you don't have to buy or migrate to new software. You can still use yours, saving you time and money.

Key healthcare software that agents should have experience in include:

  • athenahealth
  • Practice Fusion
  • Kareo
  • Spectrasoft
  • NueMD

Having call agents experienced in the latest healthcare software saves you time and money while boosting patient care.

Reporting

Reports are critical to making informed decisions about your business. They’re the key to boosting efficiency, productivity, and patient care. Useful reports include call volume, categorize calls, recordings, and call notes.

Provides a variety of service plans

Every medical practice is different. Some see more patients on a daily basis than others. Others tend to do more out-patient treatments. And so on.

Look for an HIPAA compliant medical answering service that's flexible enough to adapt to your specific needs and allows you to select the right level of service for you. Some services to include in your plan include:

  • Filter Specific Calls
  • After Hours Support
  • Call Overflow Management
  • 24-hour Support

Also, look for a service that emphasizes the security of patient health information (PHI). That’s critical. Protecting a patient’s health information is a HIPPA requirement.

Hiring a HIPAA compliant medical answering service isn’t a panacea for all your practice’s issue. But it will help you optimize your practice’s business operations, increase profitability, and boost patient care.

If you’re looking to take your practice to the next level, hiring a medical answering services could be just what the doctor ordered.