Medical centers usually receive two kinds of phone calls in most cases- urgent and not-so-urgent. As the names suggest, the urgent calls need to get connected to the doctor within a short time frame of 3 seconds, while the other type can be rescheduled the next day, or at a suitable time. In case the doctors already have a lot of pending cases on that day, it may be helpful if they can take such calls on the following day. It is very helpful for a medical clinic to have an answering machine to record messages from customers.
Now if it has been ascertained that you need an answering service, the question is where to get it from. While looking for medical answering services, you will find that many of these are available over the Internet. Spend some time doing research on the Internet to locate a reputed manufacturer of medical answering machines, and then place the order online with him. Ensure that you find someone who is known for providing high quality products, and at affordable prices. Once the order has been placed, you will be free to do regular medical work.
Qualities of an efficient medical answering service
You must have thought of a number of important features of a medical answering device before getting it installed in your clinic. You may want to consider the following features, if you haven’t already thought about them:
- Complete confidence that only the most relevant and urgent issues are being escalated
- Quality of patient care delivered through the answering service must always be exceptional
- Not having to worry about being unable to attend urgent calls
- The answering service must maintain patient-clinic confidentiality at all times
- Physicians should be able to set their schedules on calls
- The answering service should be save the doctors’ money and time
- Patients will find it convenient to speak using the multi-language option
- Several backup numbers have to be available if there is no response to an emergency call
- Notification of the emergency situation must be sent to the correct provider
Doctors will find it most economical if the answering service is charged at a flat rate every month. Different days of the month are likely to face different call volumes, and tracking the length of each call can be a little cumbersome. The flat rate will prevent you from unnecessarily worrying about calls from customers every day, over which you will never be able to exercise control.
Answering services will ensure customer satisfaction
Any medical answering service can easily be programmed to follow clinic protocols. The main job of this service is to prevent you from unnecessarily spending too much time over every call. When you learn to correctly prioritize one call over another, it will naturally help you focus your skills in the right direction, and thereby managing the flow of customers. A customer always needs to see that a clinic’s doctor cares for him or her, and this is only possible when the answering service handles the call volume.
The doctor answering service which you choose should be legally compliant to HIPAA, or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This Act was set up in 1996 by former President Bill Clinton and created regulations with the aim of protecting patient privacy, and also looked to provide health insurance portability. HIPAA regards the following problems as issues of concern:
- Privacy rule
- Maintaining focus on portability, health care access, and renewability
- Recognition of the Transactions and Code Sets rule
- Unique Identifiers Rule
- Security rule
- Prevention of healthcare abuse and fraud, along with Medical Liability Reform and Administrative Simplification
Several agents can now help run your clinic
For most patients, running into an answering machine can lead to further stress. Instead, a medical answering service from a reputed professional has an entire team of knowledgeable agents who call handle calls for doctors. These agents have a calming way of speaking, which would make even the most worries customer relax. At the same time, your clinic’s patients and their family members will know that they are not speaking to robots. Instead, they will be handled by compassionate and professional operators.
The best medical answering service makes operators available round the clock. This helps reassure callers that they will be given medical attention, no matter which time they call at. After all, medicine is a 24/7 profession; no illness in the world has a fixed time of revealing itself. Just like the doctors at top hospitals who are available for 24 hours, these operators will also be able to provide you services.
A rapid response can sometimes be the difference between life and death. The operators always pick up calls in three rings or less, ensuring that no patient with an urgent need goes unattended.