9 Reasons Every Physician Needs a Medical Answering Service

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9 Reasons Every Physician Needs a Medical Answering Service

You give countless hours of care to your patients during the week, but your work doesn’t stop when your doors close.

After business hours and during the weekend, your patients turn to the phone for their medical emergencies and questions. You take the calls you can and the rest go to voicemail, waiting until a staff member can respond during your busy operating hours.

When you are able to address incoming calls, you then face the difficulties of weeding through them to find the most urgent needs. For every call that could be answered with a quick visit to your website, there’s another, potentially urgent call on hold, wasting precious minutes waiting for your help.

You want to offer adequate time and a personal touch to all of your patients, but sometimes it’s too much for you and your staff to handle.

Thankfully, you no longer have to choose between the number of patients you can help and the level of quality you can offer. By hiring an outsourced answering service, you can manage your calls and offer call options that are specifically tailored to your medical practice. Your patients can get the personalized help they need, when they need it, without long hold times or unreliable after-hours communication.

To see how medical answering services can aid and improve your practice, see the benefits we’ve included below.

1. Save Money

Time is money and every minute your staff spends on the phone is a minute that could have been devoted to more important tasks. While you can hire additional staff to ease the strain of your call volume, this would quickly become a costly expense. Instead, when you hire a medical answering service, you have access to several cost-saving options. These options include:

  • After-hours calls: Your call center can offer 24/7 care and service while you only pay for the time spent taking and making calls, not the idle time between.
  • One point of contact: Rather than hiring a receptionist to take calls at each of your locations, your answering service can serve as the sole point of contact for your practice.
  • Reduced employee costs: Fewer employees means less spent on salaries, training, insurance, paid leave, and other costly expenses.
  • Decreased liability: With 100% irrefutable records and compliance with HIPAA and medicare/government requirements, your medical answering service can reduce potential liability and help you save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

2. Protect Physician Privacy and Personal Time

For physicians, after-hours is time to relax, connect with family, and recover. Unfortunately, no one can control the timing of a medical emergency or issue, which means physicians often have to handle these problems during their time off. With a medical answering service, patients can speak with trained health professionals after-hours, at any time of day or night. These live operators evaluate each call, transferring urgent calls to physicians and offering support for the issues they can address. Your physicians can protect their private numbers and enjoy their time off without neglecting patients in their time of need.

3. Decrease Hold Time

Your patients have busy lives, but your practice is busy, too. As much as you’d like to answer each call immediately, your patients are often placed on hold. With an answering service, your patients’ calls are carefully filtered and redirected to a call center instead of being placed on hold. Live call operators use customized scripts to act as an extension of your office and use advanced software to upload all data to your system. This overflow answering service allows you to address your patients’ needs in a reasonable time, increasing their satisfaction and encouraging future referrals.

4. Meet HIPAA Requirements

Patient privacy is vitally important and closely regulated by the government. According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), all patient health information should be closely guarded and monitored. If your answering service violates any of HIPAA’s requirements, you are responsible for the breach of privacy. Avoid these violations by choosing a HIPAA-compliant medical answering service that you can trust with your patient records.

5. Prepare for Emergency Situations

When disaster strikes, being prepared is key to maintaining your medical practice’s operations. Hurricanes, snowstorms, power outages, flooding, regional pandemics, and other unexpected disasters can quickly and easily cause major issues if you aren’t prepared. Though you may not be able to open your doors during a disaster, an outsourced answering service can keep your phone line open for both patient and employee needs. For additional emergency communication, you can use an emergency alert system to update your employees and patients through mass, pre-recorded voice or text messages.

6. Meet Medicare/Government Requirements

When conducting Medicare outbound education and verification (OEV) calls, the government requires strict adherence to its guidelines. Unfortunately, setting up a system to handle these calls can be expensive and time-consuming. Using a medical answering service, you can use an OEV call center provider to cut costs, meet legal requirements, and keep your customers happy. Your answering service will contact new enrollees, use pre-approved scripts, answer enrollee questions, and thoroughly document responses, progress, response rate, and other important metrics.

7. Keep Irrefutable Records

When dealing with information as sensitive as medical records, it’s important to keep your health practice safe. All calls made through your outsourced answering service are recorded and time-stamped, providing accurate, irrefutable records when needed.

8. Increase Profitability

With a medical answering service handling your phone calls, your staff has more time to do the tasks necessary to your practice’s smooth operations. Every minute saved by your call center is time that can be used more productively, increasing your profitability and efficiency. Your patients can reach your answering service 24/7, ensuring you never miss a call. You can give your patients the attention they need when they need it, which will help decrease the number of no-shows and appointments for issues that can handled over the phone.

9. Increase Patient Satisfaction

All of these benefits will help you create a more satisfying patient experience. More efficient operations will help you decrease the time your patients spend waiting during appointments and phone calls. They will be able to reach your practice at any time and during any circumstances to get the answers and help they need. Your physicians will only have to address important calls, allowing them to respond in a timely manner. Less wait time, a staff who isn’t overworked, and increased availability will create a patient experience your clients want to recommend.

For more information on how a medical answering service can benefit your practice, contact us online or at (800) 369-8908

About the Author:

Richard Titus is the Director of Business and Service Development at CMS. He has over 17 years of experience in the call center outsourcing industry. He has developed numerous Human Resource based call center solutions including Attendance Hotline, Ethics & Compliance Hotline, Shift Fill, and Mass Notification services. All HR services will save organizations significant money, maximize production, and protect from liability.

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