It usually does not take long for a medical professional to realize that his or her patients are having a difficult time contacting them. When that epiphany arises, it is time to consider hiring a specialized medical answering service. A competent service designed specifically for medical practitioners will have the specialized training required to handle all the needs of the professional.
Medical answering service call centers are operated with a highly trained staff that are taught to professionally handle making appointments and replying to generic, everyday questions related to the medical professional’s business. Although they will never answer even the most basic medical question, they are trained to fully understand medical jargon and terminology to assist the patient in the best manner possible.
The staff that operates the medical answering service usually receives HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) training as a way to ensure full compliance with the laws concerning patient privacy. Their training usually involves procedures when handling the patient’s sensitive information, and all the proper ways of minimizing data misuse.
Reliable Backup Systems
Highly efficient medical answering services will operate with a reliable backup system. With the critical nature of every handled call and possible life-threatening outcomes, the professional call center will be well-equipped for any power outage or breakdown. The service will provide high-quality answering resources to provide services around the clock even through technical complications, or at times of man-made or natural disasters.
The medical professional that is eager to hire an answering call center service must strike a balance between desirable services and monthly costs. Usually the least costly service does not provide the expected results. Once the best company has been chosen, the call center service team will help the medical professional maximize their 24/7 communication efficiency, while holding down costs.
A physician answering service has become a must-have solution for medical offices around the country. Many dental clinics, physician practices, hospitals and urgent care centers use a medical call center as a way to remain in continuous contact with their patients. Many doctors recognize that using a physician call center is an easy way to maintain satisfaction levels, when patients realize the hospital or doctor remains genuinely concerned about the effectiveness of their treatments they are receiving along with the progress of their healing.
In busy medical practices the phone continually rings. However, most of the inbound calls are of low priority, and can instantly take up the time of the medical staff during busy business hours. As a result, productivity levels begin to drop, patients become unhappy waiting in the reception room, and profits begin to dip. Alternatively, using a physician answering service to receive all inbound calls can maximize productivity because it allows every member of the medical staff to do their job without being interrupted. An efficiently run physician answering service will be trained to prioritize calls and only redirect important or critical phone calls into the office.
Increasing Patient Satisfaction
One of the best advantages of utilizing the services of a doctor’s call center is a more efficient routine in patient scheduling. Highly trained medical answering service agents can coordinate and maintain the appointment planner by minimally communicating with front office staff each day. To increase efficiency, the physician call center will then provide a reminder call on the day prior to the appointment. Anytime a patient expresses difficulty in the ability to keep their appointment, the physician answering service operator can work to find a better appointment, minimizing “no shows” and possibly filling the spot with the patient that is eager to attend an earlier appointment.
A physician answering service can handle all the upfront duties of operating an efficiently run medical facility. By handling appointments, cancellations, reschedules and diverting low priority calls a medical call center is a valuable tool for any office.
The effectiveness of nurse telephone triage services remains high. Having the ability to assess the patient’s health concerns and symptoms is a quick way to evaluate the severity and urgency of the patient’s immediate needs.
Using the skilled service of a nurse telephone triage can be an indispensable component to any medical practice. When situations arise when the physician is unavailable, a triage nurse can fully evaluate and assess each patient’s condition to ensure he or she is receiving the care and treatment they require. Because of the skills of a professional nurse telephone triage service patients remain happy that their physician has their best interest in mind.
Providing Health Assessments
To be effective, triage nurses must continually rely on their ability to communicate effectively while using their full knowledge of various ailments and diseases to better comprehend the symptoms and signs of the patient’s condition. They typically receive calls from existing patients that are attempting to make urgent contact with their healthcare physician on weekends or after hours at times when the doctor is unavailable. Based on the care provided by the nurse telephone triage system, patients can receive a scheduled appointment with their own physician, while the nurse forwards all pertinent information and assessments of the patient’s condition to the appropriate doctor.
Providing Quality After-Hour Care
An effective nurse telephone triage system will immediately connect the patient to a triage nurse instead of a standard live receptionist/operator that would simply provide basic information or schedule appointments. The triage nurse instead analyzes the patient’s symptoms and records their evaluation in the system. Based on the services provided by the medical nurse telephone triage service, follow-up calls and appointment reminders can be initiated to help maximize patient satisfaction.
It is always the ultimate goal of every medical office to provide the best care for their patients. Using a nurse telephone triage system is the best way to run a business after hours.
Out of all the years it took to become proficient at their jobs, doctors and other medical professionals provide an invaluable service to society. However, to run a successful medical practice requires key services and technologies that help maximize the efficiency of his or her business. One of the key components of an effective practice should include a medical call center answering service.
Medical Call Center Benefits
Hiring the services of a medical call center provides the professional the ability to take calls 24 hours each day, seven days a week. The highly trained staff can set appointments and answer generic questions. The benefits include:
Doctors realize that their patients are not just sick during business hours. Because emergencies happen at all times of day or night using a competent medical answering service lets the medical professional’s patient know that their physician has their best interest in mind.
Because it is important that the medical professional assists his or her staff to do their jobs, much of the work load of making appointments and fielding calls from patients around the clock can be handed over to a medical call center. Outsourcing that portion of the medical practice provides a receptionist that has been highly trained for the job.
Physicians are always looking for ways to better utilize the services of their in-house staff during business hours. Using an effective medical call center seems to alleviate many of the problems that the doctor, nurse, and medical staff deal with every day. Allowing the call center to handle all inbound calls quickly frees up the in-house staff to perform their duties without being interrupted. An efficiently operating medical answering service will be able to prioritize calls, and only reroute important and critical calls into the office during business hours.
Consistent Patient Flow
Without the constant bother of the receptionist, nurse, doctor and other medical staff with low priority phone calls throughout the day, there is a more consistent patient flow during office hours. Allowing the staff to operate like a well-oiled machine keeps patients happy by reducing wait time, and increases the productivity levels of the staff and physician.
A More Efficient Payroll
Usually, the duties of every staff member in the office must be fulfilled before the end of the day. This means that every voicemail, email and contact from the pharmacy, patients and the home health and hospice center has to be answered. By outsourcing inbound calls to a medical call center, the staff can easily complete their daily tasks without staying after hours, generating a more efficient payroll.
There are many perks when using a medical call center service. Those perks include:
Without the need to use medical staff as a switchboard operator, the physician and medical staff will have lighter workloads, and the patients will remain much happier with reduced waiting time in the reception room. Using the benefits of a medical call center can quickly transform the office into a smoother operation.
Using the service of a medical call center is an efficient way to continue caring for medical patients on weekends, and anytime the office is closed. The upfront costs of hiring the services of a medical answering call center are negligible, especially when patients are in urgent need of care. However, before hiring the skills of a competent medical call center the physician must be certain that they have all completed HIPAA training and follow compliance regulations.
It is imperative that the medical call center service operate with skilled technicians that follow HIPAA compliance rules, regulations and protocol. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy rules provide full rights to every patient to ensure their confidentiality remains fully secure at all times. The only time any entity has permission to disclose the patient’s protected health information (PHI) is during the process of facilitating treatment, healthcare operations, or payment. Following the strict guidelines, every virtual receptionists and technician in a medical call center facility must have completed HIPAA training and adhere to strict compliance rules.
Value Added Services
It is important that any medical answering service not hinder the working efficiency of the physician’s medical practice but instead add valued service to enhance it. Training a staff to be HIPAA compliant requires the utilization of a rigorous system that maintains quality control. This is usually accomplished by the answering service center management that critiques calls, through grading and reviews, to ensure that each team member offers excellent service.
After completing HIPAA training, the virtual receptionists and technicians at a medical answering service can provide essential patient services including acquisition, setting appointments, information delivery, crisis management, interactive voice response (IVR) and the ability to take all inbound medical phone calls. When properly trained, the receptionists and agents will provide customized scripts to meet the expectations of the physician and his or her medical office.
Every healthcare office can be more productive by using tools to manage their time more efficiently through a medical answering service that has the training to perform mundane tasks such as taking inbound phone calls, setting appointments and answering generic questions.
Most of the calls coming into a doctor’s office are not of a high enough priority to warrant stopping what the physician, nurse, or others on the medical staff are doing to assist those on the phone. Priority calls often require a significant amount of time for the medical professional to refocus on the work they were performing before the phone call occurred. The easiest way to circumvent the problem is to use a medical answering service. The process will increase work productivity in the office allowing everyone to meet their goals and be better at performing their job.
Answering the Important Calls
Not every call that comes into the physician’s medical practice will be low priority, and will need to be answered quickly and effectively. One of the best uses of a medical answering service is to utilize their efficiency at answering and redirecting high-priority calls to the physician’s office, especially the ones that need immediate attention. Additionally, the same service that answers the calls during the day when the office is open uses the same professional staff to take calls after hours and on weekends, when the office is closed.
It is always best not to consider a medical answering service as just another outsourced component to running an efficient medical practice. It is not simply a cheap way to hire a receptionist or secretary. A professional medical call center can help every member of the medical staff increase their productivity, and reclaim the lost hours wasted on dealing with low priority calls.
A live answering service works the same as a virtual receptionist working in a medical practice office. Every medical business can reap the benefits of using a call center when the office is closed or open. The answering service can provide great assistance when used as an outsourced receptionist at taking calls, setting appointments, and rerouting high priority calls directly into the office during open hours. The call center service can take after hour urgent calls and make contact with the physician, or other pre-set physicians on call.
A live answering service center will be staffed with highly trained receptionists that will follow strict compliance regulations including HIPAA and others. They will be fully skilled at handling patient confidentiality during any situation, to ensure no rights of privacy have been violated.
Promptly answering calls for a medical office during and after business hours can at times be a life or death situation. Using the best technology, live answering service centers utilize efficient backup systems and backup software to ensure that every call is handled properly. The backup system will fully guarantee that no calls will be missed, due to any event, disaster or catastrophe.
24 Hours a Day
To be efficient at answering calls, the live answering service center must be able to take calls 24 hours each day with a skilled staff available at all hours. An effective medical call center can help maintain the medical practice’s presence continuously, without the need of higher payroll costs or overhead.
Hiring the services of a competent virtual receptionist through a line answering service is the best alternative for any medical practice dedicated to their patient’s needs. The virtual receptionist will have the skills and training to answer generic calls, make appointments, and redirect high priority calls day and night.
There are numerous solutions to preparing your medical practice for times of a disaster. Effective disaster recovery might include immediate access to offset electronic backup files as a way to garner patient information in times of man-made or natural disasters, or when creating a plan of how the medical staff would respond in a disaster. One of the most essential components to any medical center is an effective plan for meeting a disaster head on by using the services of a qualified medical call center. The ability to remain in constant contact allows each medical employee a simple way to do their jobs during a disaster.
Staying in Contact with Patients
Many times, disaster downs the mobile and landline telephone lines. Generally, it is during this time that patients require the most medical attention, and wonder if the office will be open and available for the pre-set appointments. By using a competent medical answering service the doctor’s patients will have immediate knowledge of whether the medical facility will be open or not.
An Extended Service
Many healthcare offices already incorporate the services of a medical call center to receive inbound calls during lunch hours and after hours. Many of these medical answering services offer extended features that include disaster recovery solutions. By turning over inbound calls 24 hours a day to a medical call center, the agents or operators can manage scheduling, set appointments, and make reminder calls the day before appointments along with other important front office services. In times of disaster, they already have access to all aspects of the medical facility and can attempt to reach patients to keep them updated on their appointments, and whether or not the office will be open.
More than just being there for disaster recovery, a medical answering service can provide 24 hour patient support, while remaining fully compliant with all HIPAA regulations, rules and protocol. Offering specific personal attention to every patient that calls in, a medical call center uses the best technology and backup systems to provide quality services to healthcare facilities, doctors and hospitals.
When choosing from the best medical call answering services available, there are specific factors to consider. Selecting the right medical call center can make an enormous difference in the satisfaction level of the physician’s patients. An efficiently run medical answering service will help minimize losing patience to other medical practices or hospitals, while helping to maintain a high level of professionalism in the doctor’s office.
Every operator working at the medical call answering service should be HIPAA trained to ensure they are fully compliant with all the rules and protocols in talking to patients about their medical conditions. Their skilled training will help eliminate legal repercussions, because the operators will handle every patient privacy issue correctly.
Well-Trained Call Operators
The training of the medical call answering service staff is the most critical aspect of the service they provide. They must be highly motivated and skilled at maintaining effective protocol to ensure the delivery of a consistent performance, during business hours, at night, and on weekends.
Because seconds count when dealing with medical office and hospital communications, the operations technology at the medical call answering service should be top-notch. The technology should provide optimal clarity when speaking on the phone. This helps eliminate any errors or misheard pronunciations which could create a disastrous result when pulling patient’s records or dealing with health conditions. The technology used should be maintained and up to date, with a complex backup system that records every call and stays active during blackouts, breakdowns or during a natural event.
When selecting the best medical call answering service, doctors can be assured that they can increase productivity in their offices, hospital or urgent care centers. Unlike a standard answering service, medical call centers provide much needed patient call support at a professional level, with the skills and training required to maintain patient privacy and assistance.