If you own your own practice, you probably already know the importance of taking calls and scheduling importance. It’s the bread and butter of your business and the only way to get more patients in the door to your practice. But what many don’t realize is that sometimes the call volume is too large for their regular employees to handle and that they can lose missed calls and patients if they are not answered in a timely manner. Because of this, many practices prefer to have a third-party answer service help with the office’s calls so that every patient’s calls get answered, thus improving efficiency and increasing the bottom line as more patients come in to get checked.
But it’s important to note that the medical answering service industry has changed over time and evolved because of new HIPPA rules and regulations as they deal with personal health information (PHI). Many services offer cancellations and appointment taking in portal system because it saves time and is cost beneficial, but only when done right given there are some concerns and liabilities involved with the new portal system feature. In order to meet the new standards of HIPPA, there must be a few things in place.
First, each operator will need their own login and password. No matter what, each employee working for the company must have their own login credentials and if someone quiets, their login information must be changed or deleted so that no one else can access the account with their previous password. So many practices needs to be sure that they feel comfortable enough with the third-party answering service to provide them with access to their appointment and message portal.
Second, employees must be trained on how to use the system and input information. Someone will need to provide the third-party answering service company with adequate training on how a practice’s portal works so that they can in turn train their employees on how to properly use the system. To make it easier on everyone, it’s best that a practice choose a portal system that requires minimal time for training and then how long it will physically take for an operator to input all the necessary patient information into the portal system.
And third, is the software that is being used owned by the answering service company or is it owned by a third party? Software that’s owned and customized for the practice the route many practices choose so that they can tailor it to fit their needs. However, a third party system might be cheaper and could be easily taught to operators who might already be familiar with the program.
The medical answering service will also be charged by a per minute basis, running anywhere from $.60 to $1 per minute. Taking this cost into consideration is key since practice’s will have to pay this fee out of pocket, regardless if the operator is new and getting used to the system (thus taking longer than usual) or is just a slow operator who often forgets their login and password information. So making sure that a third-party service and their employees are competent are important factors when considering hiring them to optimize a practice’s appointment scheduling and cancellation features.
If your practice is looking to optimize its calls and appointment scheduling functions, hiring a third-party answering service can be key, but only if the service is HIPPA compliant and knows how to train its employees on a portal system, whether it’s been customized for your practice or not.
PatientCalls has been a leader in the medical answering service field for over 15 years providing answering services with top rated quality and expertise to those in need of optimizing their organizations’ time and communications. Call PatientCalls today and ask for more information regarding our 14-day risk free trial and custom flat rate monthly price plans.