PatientCalls Is a Specialized HIPAA-Compliant Medical Answering Service

Built from the ground up, specific for the medical industry, and with over 15 years of experience, was created to receive, process, and protect all personal health information (PHI) obtained 24/7/365 while maintaining the highest level of quality and accuracy within the confines of your requirements. Custom call processing, advanced message scripting, and our unique real-time on-call scheduling and tracking provides the ability to determine how each call is processed, what PHI should be obtained, and the method of transmitting all information to and from your staff whether during the day with our secure emails and/or after hours with our encrypted SMS portal to view and respond in 2-way chats with our staff. Either way, our transmittal methods are all HIPAA Compliant.

PatientCalls wants to help your organization drastically REDUCE your RISK and EXPOSURE to HIPAA VIOLATIONS. Therefore, you can make a choice to start the risk assessment and auditing process of your current answering service or you can choose to start with PatientCalls today and have confidence in knowing your path to HIPAA compliancy is on the right track.


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 that 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, 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 were seen in the mid-1980s 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 started to compete with various technological advancements.

The 1980s 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 alphanumerical paging was employed to transmit messages and PHI (Personal Health Information) containing texts and numbers via computers. The use of computers certainly revolutionized the medical answering service industry while also decreasing the costs of answering services. During the 1990s 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, service providers 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 that allow telephone answering services to be customized to the specific needs of doctors offices, and physician practices, in addition to hospitals and other various medical professionals and organizations such as home care and hospice service providers.

The most recent evolution of Medical Answering Services is their requirement for HIPAA compliance. When vetting any new medical answering service or call center, HIPAA compliance must be taken into consideration as a high priority for your organization.

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

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Why Use A Medical Answering Service

When your medical office requires an efficient solution for answering and processing inbound calls, it may be time to look into hiring a medical answering service to help.

But, understand that not all medical answering services are like PatientCalls, which 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.

If you or your staff can’t get to the phone on time, require call answering at night and on weekends, a medical answering service is 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:

September 2013 was your organization’s deadline to meet and full­fill HIPAA requirements 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). These requirements place a tremendous amount of liability on your shoulders and the medical answering service. HIPAA compliance is the most important reason why your organization must properly vet any medical answering service.

The biggest benefit of hiring a medical answering service is no more missed calls. Your patients are calling to ask questions, request prescriptions, make appointments and more. When their call isn’t answered by an office staff member for long periods of time, it can be a problem. Whether caused by an overage of incoming calls or lack of staff training for handling multiple calls at once, it could result in losing patients to another medical practice. Patients expect their doctors and staff to provide the best patient care and to handle their requests in a timely manner.

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. Using a medical answering service helps increase appointment setting rates, while also increasing efficiency, facilitating workflow, and containing costs.

Utilizing a medical answering service allows your patients to leave questions for their doctors or health care providers. Facilitating communication with medical providers and getting a timely response to important concerns improves overall patient care.

Having employees around the clock isn’t cheap and can be pricey for your medical office. Our medical answering service is a cost-effective solution. It enables someone to answer calls after hours and on the weekends for a fraction of the cost of employing around-the-clock staff. Monthly costs start at just $1 per hour for 24-hour coverage, which is a significant savings when compared to $12­-$15 per hour staffing requirements that usually cover from 8 am­ – 5 pm, Monday through Friday and no holidays. A medical answering service works 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

You surely have high standards when it comes to your staff and employees. PatientCalls medical answering service provides your patients with the utmost care and offers seamless oversight of your staff to ensure patients are attended to in a timely manner.

Because every practice is different, our medical answering service provides customizable options that meet the needs of your patients, office, and on-call staff. Agents with the medical answering service have the ability to ask patients specific questions and accurately record responses, providing on-call medical professionals valuable information.

How PHI Flows Through a Call Center

PatientCalls hopes the above guidelines will aid in your pursuit of the proper medical answering service. You don’t need to look any further. 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 at assisting your practice or health­care network.

Below is an infographic created to display the flow of PHI through a call center or medical answering service such as PatientCalls. You are free to use this infographic on your website by following the instructions below the graphic.

Infographic showing how PHI flows through a Medical Call Center

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