5 Signs You Need to Switch Your Physicians Answering Service
How Is Your Answering Service Working For You?
Running a successful medical practice involves much more than just practicing good medicine. Of course, delivering the best care possible to your patients is essential, but it all starts with making an excellent first impression, and you cannot make it twice. So when patients call your office for any reason, they should always have a positive experience. Unfortunately, it might not be possible if all your staff is assisting the clients and nobody has the time to answer the phone, so you find an answering service that can help them lighten the load. All seems fine now, but how do you know that you hired the right company to represent you? After all, your answering service is an extension of your business. Here are five signs you might need to find a different physician’s answering service.
Not Compliant with HIPAA
If a physician’s answering service isn’t 100% HIPAA-compliant, it could put your practice in legal jeopardy. On the other hand, a reputable healthcare answering service will have systems and procedures that protect patient data and privacy at all levels.
Patients Placed on Hold
If patients calling your existing answering service are on hold “forever,” what are you paying for? You can probably provide that same service yourself or use voice mail. People don’t like being left on hold just as much as they don’t like being sick and having to go to the doctor. The best physician’s answering service will promptly pick up the phone and answer a patient’s questions. Whether a patient wants to schedule an appointment or just needs directions to the office, they should not have to wait for service.
Untrained Call Operators
Do you get complaints about rude, unknowledgeable, or unprofessional call operators? This kind of feedback would be unacceptable for a reputable medical answering service. The company you hire should have a specific medical division that provides clients with highly-trained call operators. They should be friendly and compassionate and understand commonly used medical terminology.
Emergencies know no schedule. As a matter of fact, they always happen at the worst possible moment, and your answering service needs to be available to take calls from your patients if they need urgent help. And it can be something other than an emergency: a business owner, a busy mom, or a student might not have the time to schedule an appointment during your operating hours. That’s when your answering service needs to step in. A top physician’s answering service will be available 24/7 to meet your patient’s needs at all hours of the day, and if it’s not, you need to switch.
Emergencies are Mishandled
Not all calls coming to live answering services for physicians are urgent, but the ones that are should receive top priority. If your current answering service isn’t skilled at handling medical emergencies or other pressing matters, you should find someone who is. You need to look for a service that provides emergency medical dispatch and can design it according to your set protocols. They should also be able to have urgent calls forwarded to you or your on-call via phone, SMS, or any other method of your choosing.
Patient Data is Incorrect
If your answering service continually makes mistakes with patient data, it might cost you the loss of your entire business. It’s unacceptable to misspell a patient’s name, get an appointment date incorrect, or forget to pass along an urgent callback request. Occasional errors happen in any business, but if such mistakes occur daily, they will frustrate your staff and your patients and can cause irreparable damage to your reputation.
If you are experiencing any of these issues with your current medical answering service, it’s time to make a change. Finding a company that suits your needs takes work, so contact us for a free consultation with any questions you might have.