Top 3 Mistakes Healthcare Providers Make When Choosing a Live Answering Service

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Running a healthcare or medical practice is a 24/7 exercise in being vigilant with your patients’ needs and concerns. Your patients are your customers, and their calls to your practice—whether for scheduling, advice, or in the case of an emergency—are their first indication of whether you’re there for them no matter the time of day or night, or you’re not. For that reason, more and more practitioners are turning to live answering services to ensure patients’ calls are never missed or mishandled.

But not all answering services are created equal. At Voice Link of Columbus, Inc., we developed our answering service based on our medical practice needs and have served other practices for more than 26 years. Here are three common mistakes we’ve seen when healthcare practitioners choose the wrong answering service.

1. Choosing automated services over live receptionists

Automated services often advertise their easy-to-use, lower cost call management as the most streamlined means to efficient patient care. However, the absence of human interaction—particularly when it comes to calls of a medical nature—invariably leads to inadequate if not improper responses.

When patients are forced to speak into voicemail or follow an automated prompt list, they not only lose the reassurance that a live person is hearing their concerns, but they also aren’t afforded the opportunity to ask follow-up questions or know  when their call will be returned. In any healthcare practice, this is a top cause of patient stress.

2. Failing to verify the service is medically HIPAA trained and tested, annually.

To protect your practice and your patients, It’s your responsibility to be sure the answering service agents are fully HIPPA trained and tested to avoid data breaches. Failure to do so can not only lead to HIPPA violations and fines, it can also potentially lead to malpractice complaints. Ask for verification that the answering service provides the proper training and testing of its agents for securely transmitting PHI via email, voice mail and text messaging. Putting your patients’ PHI at risk is a liability you cannot be willing to risk.

3. Choosing quantity over quality.

Many low-cost medical answering service providers claim they can handle the highest call volume in the shortest time. Ask carefully what this means. Are agents required to handle a certain amount of calls per a specified time period to be considered productive?

The call demands of any healthcare practice vary from day to day, night to night, and weekend to weekend. Your patients deserve to know that their call will be answered professionally, politely, and they will not be rushed. Handling and billing calls based on quantity versus quality is a recipe for inattention and inaccuracy—in which case both your patients and your practice suffer.

Read: Why Quality Beats Quantity Every Time When Answering Medical Calls

Day or night, outsourcing your practice’s calls will ensure that your patients are attended to with care and compassion, 24/7, 365 days a year. Voice link offers 26 years of experience in medical answering services and provides live answering services that exceed your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.

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