What to Look for in a Medical Answering Service

The primary goal of any hospital, clinic or private practice is to treat and care for patients in need. While this might seem like a straightforward mission, the patient experience can be complicated by wait times, expensive medications, and battles with the insurance companies. In order to streamline the customer service aspect of healthcare, many offices are turning to medical answering services for support. They’re an excellent resource for busy healthcare facilities hoping to keep in touch with their patients while still maintaining their focus on the daily operations.

medical answering service

If you’re considering partnering with a healthcare call center provider, you’re on the right track, because there are great advantages to using a medical answering service. However, not all of them are created equal. With the well-being of patients and sensitive data on the line, you can’t trust just anyone with your calls! Here’s what you should look for in medical answering services.

HIPAA Compliance: A Non-Negotiable

Your in-house administrative team knows the importance of following the regulations of HIPAA – the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. Passed in 1996, this legislation outlines patient privacy rights and procedures for protecting sensitive healthcare data. As you search for a medical answering service for your organization, make sure you prioritize HIPAA compliance.

Consider your organization’s existing policies and procedures for HIPAA compliance. You likely use a secure messaging system to communicate with patients via email and store data in a cloud database with extra layers of protection. Your medical answering service should do the same. Fail to meet HIPAA standards and your practice could be in serious legal trouble, so make this a priority when selecting your newest administrative partner.

Flexibility for Ebbs and Flows

Every industry sees its own ebbs and flows. Some are easy to predict: electronics companies sell a lot more televisions than average ahead of Super Bowl Sunday, for instance. Healthcare knows no particular busy or slow season, though, which is why it’s often difficult to predict exactly how much support you’ll need during a given month. You never know when the next bug is going to make its rounds in your community. By partnering with a medical answering service that offers flexible hours and availability, you can up your support during busy periods and scale back during slow months.

You’d also do well to select a company that offers 24-hour availability. Even if you’ve traditionally limited your calls to business hours, increasing your availability is never a bad idea. Shift workers, busy parents, and anyone with too much going on during the day will appreciate the chance to connect with your office after hours or over the weekend. This increased availability will even allow you to grow your medical business.

Collaboration and Customization Are Key

Selecting a medical answering service isn’t like choosing a box of cereal off the shelf – at least it shouldn’t be. Given the sensitive nature of the calls you’re hoping to get help with, you’ll want a partner who understands the nuances of healthcare customer service. A one-size-fits-all approach just won’t work for such important calls. As you hunt for the perfect medical answering service, investigate how collaborative the company is willing to be.

Your preferred partner needs to work with you to create a customized plan that is designed to meet your requirements. All healthcare organizations are different, so your medical call center provider shouldn’t treat your account like the unique situation that it is. The answering service you decide to work with should offer customizable call scripts that allow you control over the messaging. Such a tool will allow you to set the tone of each phone call and ensure the conversation matches your organization’s philosophies on customer service.

Bilingual Support for Callers

The American populace looks and sounds a lot different than it did 20 years ago. To reflect these changing demographics, it’s important to offer bilingual support for callers. It’s important to speak with prospective and existing patients in their preferred language when they call. Select a medical answering service that offers bilingual support – it’s a must for practices hoping to stay relevant and extend their care to all populations.

Try Our Medical Answering Service for Free

MAP Communications has become a leader in the medical answering service over the last three decades. Based right here in the United States, our call centers are staffed with experienced, highly-trained employees who are passionate about customer service. We offer all of the aforementioned must-haves for medical answering services – and so much more.

Explore your options for a thoughtful, collaborative medical answering service experience now. We’re offering a free, week-long trial of our live answering service so you can see just how much value MAP can bring to your organization. Start your free trial now.