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Medical Answering Service Information

The History Of Answering Services

Answering services trace back their origin to the period after the invention of the telephone, as this is when switchboards came into being; therefore enabling operators to manually transmit incoming calls to a specific outgoing number. In the past, when phone lines were busy they would route to the switchboard i.e. call director.

These services emerged as the perfect innovative solution for efficiently answering an increasing number of calls and reducing labor costs. Initially, answering services boasted centralized message hubs that were installed within a company and were managed by a handful of operators. Hence, outsourcing was born.

After recognizing the rising need and demand for answering services, several companies came into existence providing a flexible and economical solution for any business or corporation whom could not afford their own switchboards, call answering staff, or any of the required equipment to maintain a central answering hub. These third party companies came to be known as answering services.

Many believe that answering services began with Bell System’s tone dialing method in 1941 and which advanced in 1962 with area code dialing capabilities. However, opinion is divided, since according to many others said services actually began with the very first Automatic Call Distribution system or ACD that was launched in 1973 by Rockwell.

Major advancements however, were experienced in mid 1980’s when innovations were made in Predictive Dialing and IVR. In fact, in 1985 Rockwell saw the rise of major competitors all of whom wanted to capture their own share of the call center industry. This evolutionary process also gave rise to the Private Branch Exchange (PBX) in which vendors now started to compete with various technological advancements.

The 1980’s saw the extensive use of pagers which efficiently transmitted information without a phone. Using this device, specific to the medical answering service solution, doctors could be informed of room numbers and other numerical details of patients which started to lower labor costs of communications while increasing patient care efficiencies. Later, when computers garnered popularity, a ground­breaking message delivery service called alpha numerical paging was employed to transmit messages and PHI (Personal Health Information) containing texts and numbers via computers. The use of computers certainly revolutionized medical answering service industry while also bring the costs of answering services lower than the past. During the 90’s however, the use of pagers declined and text messaging via cell phones, SMS, and emails gained prominence.

At present within the HIPAA Compliant Medical Answering Service industry, medical answering services cater to an exceptionally wide variety of medical professionals. Real time communications not only reduces labor costs but also maximizes doctor patient care due to easily customizable features which allows medical answering services to cater differently to various medical professionals and organizations.

The most recent evolution of Medical Answering Services is their requirement for HIPAA Compliancy. Therefore, when vetting any new medical answering service or call center, HIPAA compliancy must taken into consideration for your organization at the highest priority.

PatientCalls is the industry's leader in quality, cost, and security.

 

Why Use A Medical Answering Service

When your medical office requires the need for an efficient solution in answering and processing inbound calls, it maybe time to look into hiring a medical answering service to help!

But understand that not all medical answering services are like PatientCalls who is a trusted HIPAA Business Associate. Other medical answering services may place your office at risk of violating HIPAA/Omnibus Regulations by not having the proper protocol in place for delivering or storing Personal Health Information.

So if you and staff can’t get to the phone on time, requires call answering at nights and weekends, a medical answering service can be beneficial for your patients and organization. If you’re not truly convinced that your office needs a medical answering service, here are a few reasons why you should look into one:

1. HIPAA Compliancy

September 2013 was your organizations deadline to meet and full­fill HIPAA Regulations within the Omnibus Regulation. Legally, Omnibus was a game changer for all Covered Entities and Business Associates because of security requirements to protect Personal Health Information (PHI). This is why these requirements are adding a tremendous amount of liability on your shoulders and the medical answering service. HIPAA Compliancy is the top single reason why your organization must properly vet any Medical Answering Service.

2. No More Missed Calls

The biggest benefit of hiring a medical answering service is no more missed calls. Your patients are calling to ask questions, make appointments and more, so when their call isn’t answered or put on hold by an office staff member for long periods of time from an overage of incoming calls are because the office staff may not be trained properly in handling multiple calls at once could result in the possibly of losing patients to another medical practice. Patients expect their doctors and their staff to provide the best patient care available and when they have to call several times before their call is answered, they’ll get fed up and look for another medical professional to handle their needs.

3. Increased appointment setting rates

Those missed calls usually mean missed appointments and missed revenue for your business. If the patient doesn’t make an appointment to see the doctor, then the office can’t bill the medical insurance company and get paid. When you use a medical answering service, you'll increase your appointment setting rates keeping your organization efficient as possible from a work flow and cost perspective.

4. Better patient/doctor communication

When you utilize a medical answering service, your patients may leave questions for their doctors or health care providers in a timely manner and get responses back much faster than the past, which will increase the overall patient care.

5. In­house secretary cost savings vs. 24­hour employees

Having employees around the clock isn’t cheap and can be pricey for your medical office. But that doesn’t have to be the case when you use a medical answering service. You’ll be able to have someone answer your calls after hours and on the weekends for a fraction of the cost of having 24­hour employees. Monthly costs start at $1 per hour for 24 hour coverage which is a significant cost reduction when compared to $12­$15 per hour staffing requirements that are usually from 8am­ 5pm Monday thru Friday and no Holidays. A medical answering service works 365 days a year 24 hours a day.

6. Staff Accountability

You probably have high standards when it comes to your staff and employees, therefore, a medical answering service, especially PatientCalls, not only will provide your patients with the utmost care, but also provide accurate oversight of your staff to ensure patients are being attended to in a timely manner.

7. Customizable Scripts

Because every practice is different, the medical answering service can provide you with customizable options that meet the needs of your patients, office, and oncall staff. Agents with the medical answering service now have the ability to ask the patients specific questions and reasons with more accuracy of when and how to contact the oncall medical professionals in an error free manner.

PatientCalls hopes the above guidelines will aid in your pursuit for the proper medical answering service. We feel you do not need to look any further when understanding that PatientCalls has built the most secure and efficient communication network available today within the entire answering service industry. There is a reason why you are looking at our website; now let us prove how good we really are in assisting your practice or health­care network.

 


 

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