Medical answering services can help you in more than one way, with accuracy and efficiency. But for this, you should know how the medical after-hours answering service can help and how you can make the most out of their services.
Treat Them As A Part Of Your Practice
Once you hire a medical after-hours answering service, make sure that you treat it as a part of your practice. If not, then the services will fall behind, will not be updated properly, and hence, will not be as useful as they would. Also, make it a point that you update and check in on your answering service on a weekly or monthly basis to help you remember to make changes if you are updating things on your end.
Guarantee HIPAA Compliance
As a medical facility, you need to guarantee to your patients and clients that you follow HIPAA compliance, and the same goes for your answering service as well. As HIPAA requires the compliance of all institutions, your service provider should be legally bound to this law. Make sure your contract with them clearly outlines this before you start working with the answering service. Also, when looking for a service agency, ensure that you have a conversation about HIPAA compliance. This will help you ensure that your practice is in the right hands. In case of a breach of patient confidentiality, there can be a hefty fine on your part, leading to more legal issues.
Make It 24/7
Since medical issues can arise anytime, you should have an around-the-clock answering service. If you hire them to work 24/7, your patients will get answers through their services while they wait to visit you in person to get the actual care. If your facility is closed, and a patient comes up with an emergency, the medical answering service can fill the gap hours. They can also help with providing proper support, answering questions, and determining the next steps for the patient.
A 24/7 medical answering service can help with after-hour patients, help with filtering calls for patients, and make extra calls on days when you are too busy. This can help the patients get answers and receive help while waiting for your care. The services may also provide the support they need so that your time is free for people who truly need to discuss their urgent medical issues with you.
Ensure Automated Solutions
There is no point in working with a medical answering service if they do not do anything other than answer calls. Make sure that they log the calls and organize and document them. You should know if there is any follow-up right at the practice itself. If not, patient follow-up and patient care will fall through the cracks, which will, thus, negatively affect your practice as well as the patients. Hence, ensure that your answering service logs all calls and messages, offers access to medical reports, offers call recordings for you to listen back, and helps change schedules and appointments. This will make your practice run much more efficiently.
Use The Service To Make Improvements
As the calls from the answering service should be recorded, they can be used to improve the overall operation of your medical facility. If you notice a lot of people calling after hours about things that could wait till your practice reopens, you could send out emails and messages to the current patients. This will create more room and lines open for urgent calls. With the information that you receive from the recorded calls and operations, you can make them more efficient.
Focus On Data Security
This is important due to the laws around HIPAA. Hence, when looking for a medical answering service, understand the security measures that are in place at their service and which medical software they use to ensure security. Also, ensure that their software and programs are not outdated or risky. All the programs should be up-to-date and use newer technologies to ensure that data security. Make it a point you check if they also have antivirus software for added security.
Consider Their Professionalism
Since the service will be an extension of your practice, you need to make sure that it comes as a professional and has the same standards as you and upholds them as well. This way, you will maintain your facility’s reputation and ensure that your patients are cared for. Without this, your current or potential patients could easily be turned off by the lack of professionalism, which can cause a reduction in your business.
Hiring answering services can drastically improve the experience that you provide your patients. You can also customize the services as per your requirements for the utmost customer experience.