A physician answering service manages incoming phone calls to the doctor’s office providing call screening, general information, appointment scheduling, remote triage, critical call forwarding to on-call staff, and more. Support can be for overflow, after-hours, or 24/7. 

Medical answering services can help all types of healthcare providers, specialty doctors, dentists, nursing homes, hospitals, and wellness professionals. Services are designed to ensure HIPAA compliance for protecting patient privacy and securing sensitive data.   

Are their cancellation fees?

There is no cancellation if you provide PatientCalls with the 30-day notice required.

What if we don’t know our call volume to choose a plan?

Don’t worry, happens all the time! During your first 2 months of service with PatientCalls, we’ll discuss with the client and provide you with cheapest plan for your usage.

Is there a setup fee?

There is a ONE TIME set up fee of $75 that will be charged to the clients first month invoice.

Do we have to sign a contract?

A service agreement and a business associate agreement must signed in order to start service with PatientCalls

How quick can you start an account?

We move as fast as our client returns the data needed to us. 

Are there live agents?

PatientCalls provides live agents 24/7 365 days a year.

Are your agents located outside the US?

PatientCalls does not outsourse any of our calls to other countries, our service is US based right here in King Of Prussia, PA.

How many clients do you have?

PatientCalls prides in organic growth offering service nationwide.  We have small practices to large networks. 

How many employees do you have?

PatientCalls calls has 60 plus employees working hard to provide superior service.

How many years in business?

PatientCalls has been serving the Medical Industry for over 20 years.

Are you a medical only / HIPAA compliant medical answering service?

PatientCalls is the only 100% HIPAA Compliant and Medical only service available.

How long are the contracts with PatientCalls?

PatientCalls typical contract is 30 day month to month.  If a client prefers a longer commitment or it is determined between both parties a longer term is required PatientCalls will work with our client to meet their needs.

Do you have English and Spanish speaking agents?

Patientcalls is a bilingual call center for English and Spanish convenience.

Is there a dedicated manager to the account?

PatientCalls assigns an Account Manager upon beginning service that will help you along the way.  At all times 24/7 all account have access to a Shift Supervisor.

Do you have multiple locations?

PatientCalls is located in king of Prussia pa, right outside of Philadelphia.

How do you bill, is it on a per call or per minute basis?

PatientCalls provides both options depending on the type of service we are providing for you and/or the scope of work outlined.

How do I know if my current answering service is HIPAA compliant?

This answer is simple, just call your current answering service and ask them. But first, please make sure that you educate yourself about a few simple HIPAA requirements, shown below, that every answering service should understand. 

– Who is your HIPAA Compliance Officer?
– Have your agents been trained in HIPAA / HITECH / OMNIBUS?
– When was the last documented training and how often is the training refreshed?
– Is your e-mail and text solution secure with encryption and/or password protection?
– Does your office use Windows XP or any earlier version of Windows?
– Auditing logins – Does your answering service software have the ability to audit logins in real-time and prevent unauthorized users which would result in PHI breaches?
– What prevents one of your employees from stealing a PC that stores PHI information on it?
– Are you willing to sign our Business Associate Agreement?
– Are you properly storing, transmitting, and destroying all messages within the system which – contain PHI as required by HIPAA guidelines?

If your current answering service does not have an immediate answer to the questions above then we suggest looking for a new HIPAA-compliant medical answering service. 

The requirements of HIPAA are incredibly more detailed than the above eight questions. If your current answering service does not have clear or immediate answers, then there is a high probability that they are currently not HIPAA compliant. 

As the covered entity, you must ask yourself if you are prepared to give your answering service more time to become HIPAA compliant and risk violations, fines, and possible criminal charges. 

Are their consequences if a covered entity does not use a HIPAA-compliant answering service?

Based upon HHS requirements and documented fines from PHI breaches, you are exposing your business and personal wellbeing to hefty fines and/or criminal charges due to the severity of the breach and if those violations are deemed the result of willful neglect. 

Is alpha paging and/or numeric paging HIPAA compliant?

No. Any traditional transmitting method like alphanumeric paging is not considered secure, therefore NOT HIPAA compliant. This is due to the absence of encryption and password protection of PHI being electronically transported.

Some answering services and medical offices in fear of losing this antiquated technology have revised their policies to only allow for the transmitting patient name and telephone number. The argument is that a patient’s name and telephone number are not considered PHI since that information can be found in public listings.

Initially, we agree with the assessment that information obtained in public locations would not be deemed PHI. HOWEVER, once a name and phone number can be linked with any medical relevance, then any information obtained publicly being transmitted in its simplest form would be considered PHI and would require proper security and protection as defined by HIPAA. 

Does an answering service have to be HIPAA compliant?

Yes. Your organization, defined as the covered entity, hires the answering service to capture PHI verbally and to store and transmit PHI in an electronic form, defined as ePHI. The Final Omnibus Ruling provides specific requirements for handling and transmitting ePHI. 

Therefore, all medical answering services that store and transmit protected health information (PHI/ePHI) must maintain HIPAA compliance at all times. 

It is also the responsibility of your organization, defined as the covered entity, to perform a risk analysis of your current answering service in order to determine possible PHI breach points of storing and transmitting PHI. 

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