Providing the most reliable patient care is every healthcare BPO service provider’s goal. One of the most important aspects of a healthcare institution’s work life is being available for patients 24X7. This is an improbable task considering the frantic schedules healthcare providers have to deal with. That’s where efficient healthcare answering services come into play. A resourceful healthcare answering service company takes care of this aspect by acting as a virtual front office assistant for people who need to get in touch with the healthcare institution and those whom the healthcare institution needs to call. Now, you can rush to the rest of the article that is a comprehensive guide to outsourcing healthcare answering services. Let’s delve.
What is a medical answering service company and what does it do?
Geared towards safeguarding the interests of the healthcare industry, medical answering services offer secure management of a medical center’s phone lines in alliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Medical answering services handle all the incoming calls of a healthcare firm with a focus on enhanced customer service and attention to detail. A healthcare answering services company also ensures that the healthcare firm is meeting HIPAA standards for protecting client information. It helps free up the time of the healthcare firm’s in-house staff, thus saving the firm money on hiring a full-time on-site receptionist. Moreover, a healthcare answering services company makes the patients feel valued and cared for.
Why outsource healthcare answering services?
A healthcare answering services company can work wonders in streamlining the practices of a healthcare institution. It does so by taking away the stress of managing calls and patients at the same time. It can help improve the reputation of the healthcare firm’s practice –a major advantage of healthcare answering services. The best part about a healthcare answering services company is that it is relevant to and appropriate for all kinds of medical centers.
Usually, when a healthcare institution receives a call, it is routed to a remote receptionist. This receptionist speaks on behalf of the healthcare institution. So a healthcare answering services company in a way conveys to the patients that it is an in-house receptionist of the healthcare institution who is answering their phone call. The experts who work in healthcare answering services companies are trained to be able to answer basic questions like the location and timings of the healthcare institution and its practices.
All in all, the main reason behind outsourcing healthcare answering services is to help the healthcare firm’s employees take the load off as the healthcare answering services company takes care of tedious but important tasks like making appointments, helping route the patient information to the designated healthcare staff, and helping in case of emergencies. For instance, the appointed receptionist can quickly transfer an emergency call to the concerned authority so that swift action can be taken. If people who are making incoming calls need to speak with someone in the healthcare institution, then the healthcare phone answering service can transfer the call to the concerned professional directly. Else, these medical receptionists can send the message via email or text.
There’s another reason for outsourcing healthcare answering services. When a healthcare firm outsources its healthcare answering services to an external company, it can enable the answering of calls outside of business hours. This is crucial in case of emergencies. Emergencies can occur anytime. Outsourcing to a healthcare answering services company keeps the healthcare firm prepared by providing a 24/7 helpline number which enables the callers to get help even when they are calling at three in the morning.
So, outsourcing to a medical answering service company can prove to be a boon for the healthcare firm. It enables the firm to serve its patients better and be able to handle and manage calls without any hassle. Besides, the firm can save time as someone else is taking all incoming calls for them; this also saves a lot of money.
To understand how the mechanism works, refer to the steps below:
- Incoming calls to the medical firm are routed to remote, live receptionists who greet callers on behalf of the medical firm’s name.
- Trained virtual healthcare answering services professionals handle basic customer service inquiries that healthcare firms receive.
- Trained receptionists take care of tasks like making appointments for incoming patients as well as delivering new patient information and forwarding emergency calls to suitable personnel.
- When callers need to reach someone in your office, the virtual healthcare answering professional forwards the important call or message to the main office line, a practitioner’s mobile number, or email address.
- Virtual healthcare answering professionals answer calls 24/7 on behalf of the healthcare institution – which is important as medical emergencies don’t always occur during normal business hours.
So outsourcing healthcare answering services makes total sense because a medical answering service can do so much for a healthcare institution. A medical facility that cares about its patients, reputation, and bottom line cannot afford not to have a professional healthcare answering service.
Now, let’s look at a few things to keep in mind when selecting a successful healthcare answering service:
- The healthcare institution needs to ensure that their employees are aware of how they will be affected by the healthcare answering services.For example, doctors of a healthcare firm should be made aware of the way the healthcare call center will contact during after-hours in case of emergency so that they know whether any changes need to be made to the procedures.
- It should function under the requirements of the healthcare institution.For instance, when someone associates with a healthcare answering service, chances are they have a standard script they are operating with. But this script might not fit the needs of a particular healthcare institution. This is why it’s important to make sure the healthcare answering service is working with instructions that are best for the healthcare firm.
- Looking at the recorded calls, one can find out how effective the healthcare answering service company is. It will also give one an idea of the things that need improvement so that both the parties can collaborate and make changes accordingly.The data coming from the healthcare answering services company is vital and one should make sure whether there is room for improvements so that optimum benefits can be enjoyed by all parties involved including the patients. For instance, when it comes to non-emergency calls, the patients can be asked to contact during official working hours.
- After selecting a medical call center, the healthcare firm must keep them updated regarding crucial information.For instance, let the call center know if any doctors have left the practice is critical. Making the call center a part of the everyday functions of a healthcare practice means they will be aware of everything and can handle calls in a better and more informed manner. So any change in procedures should be informed to the healthcare answering service center.
Choosing the right healthcare answering service
Healthcare answering services can indeed prove to be an asset for any healthcare company. But this happens only when the right healthcare answering service has been chosen. Association with an inappropriate healthcare answering service can lead to a deluge of unsatisfied callers, which can create a negative impact on the practice. So, it’s important to be clear of what to expect from a healthcare answering service.
For ensuring the right selection, make sure to consider the following factors:
First things first, one should ensure whether the healthcare answering service is transparent or not with regards to their prices, services, terms, and conditions. If there’s even a slight hint that they are not, then it is best to look elsewhere. Instead of talking it out, it is best to record one’s requirements in writing and present them to the healthcare answering service. This makes it clear for both parties what is to be expected. It also sets a safe path of resolution for both parties in case any problems occur down the line.
Asking the right questions
One should have information about the infrastructure of the healthcare answering services company, which is only possible when relevant questions are asked. This is important to know how well the call center company can manage things in case things go awry. For instance, does it have an infrastructure that supports a high uptime? Does the healthcare answering service provide backup during natural disasters or other such problems so that service quality is not hampered? Does the healthcare answering service provide a range of services that helps the healthcare institution to run a busy office smoothly? Does it enable the healthcare firm to run more efficiently? Will the services of the healthcare answering company help the medical firm to save money?
How much does a healthcare answering service cost?
The price of healthcare answering services varies significantly. The rates largely depend on call volume as well as the kinds of services one expects. Usually, one can expect the cost to be between 80 cents and $1.30 per minute. One can get a better (cheaper) per-minute deal by buying a package of a certain number of minutes per month. Some healthcare answering service companies charge extra for setup, overages, and holiday work which drives up the price. One should research how a particular healthcare answering services company calculates call time. An ideal healthcare answering service company is the one that calculates call time from second to second.
Be cautious while choosing your pricing plan
Although many healthcare answering services companies round to the nearest sixth second. In other words, for a one-minute and seven-second call, the healthcare answering service company would charge for one minute and twelve seconds. Some healthcare answering services round up prices even more. This means one may end up paying much more. Hence, it’s important to inquire about a particular healthcare answering service company records and charges a call time, and what increments the company factors in to determine final costs. Ideally, one should look for a healthcare answering service that calculates the cost of call time in one-second increments.
Some healthcare answering services offer free trials. But one should be cautious enough to test the quality of their service before settling for their services. Having said that, one should take advantage of the free limited trials because, apart from saving quick bucks, it will also help the healthcare institution to know the level of service they and their customers will get from the healthcare answering service company.
Healthcare answering services aren’t a necessity for every medical center, but they can help busy offices run more efficiently. Medical centers can rely on a good medical answering service to cut costs or enable investment elsewhere, or these services can serve as a backup for after-hours or when overflow calls need to be taken.
Flatworld Solutions’ Superior Healthcare Answering Services
Flatworld Solutions can help you to overcome such a dilemma. We contact the patients after business hours and also email them so that whenever they open their account, they get our message. Our medical answering and physician answering service makes life comfortable for you and your staff and is planned around the definite needs of your medical place of work.
We offer services for all medical fields like – single and multiple physician performance, healthcare providers for homes, pharmaceutical groups, doctors answering services, and even infirmaries – all of them on a 24/7 basis.
What is covered under Flatworld’s medical answering services?
Sending out messages to patients and others associated with you, handling emergency and non-emergency calls, Flatworld Solutions’ trained team can carry out all this and more with ease and efficiency. We create customized answering scripts based on the nature of your requirement and follow it to the book in all calls and communications.
The following features are covered in our medical answering services –
- Inbound customer service calls
- Customer/patient helpdesk services
- Appointment reminders and confirmation calls
- Call answering, processing, screening, and dispatching
- Paging doctors and nurses in case of emergencies
- Receptionist services
- Scheduling appointments
In addition to the above, we also provide our customers with the following facilities:
- Call reports and other documentation as and when you need them
- A message center to record and dispatch messages
- A web access to update the information of your patients
- A message access for medical professionals via mobile phones, PDAs, e-mail, fax, or voicemail.
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