6 Technology Tools Your Medical Answering Service Should Provide
Are you confident your medical answering service provider is equipped with the right technology to handle your patient calls? If not, it’s probably time to take a closer look at the call center you’re doing business with.
The telephone is the most popular way for patients to contact their medical practice. Whether they are a current patient wanting to schedule an appointment, a potential patient looking for information, or someone with an emergency, your practice needs to be equipped to handle calls during and after business hours. The key? Up to date technology.
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While your medical answering service may not be the number one thing on your priority list, it is too important to overlook. These tools can set your practice apart and ensure that your patients feel taken care of, listened to, and supported. If you’re not 100% satisfied with your current medical answering service provider or if you’re looking to hire a call center for the first time, here’s what to look for.
1. Secure Text Messaging App
Secure text messaging is a great option as pagers are being phased-out and medical offices want to streamline customer service efforts. Look for services that offer messages sent via text, encrypted text message, email, phone, and fax. As always, verify that they offer Patient Health Information (PHI) and HIPAA compliant methods.
Your staff should be able to send secure text messages simply and efficiently to any member of your team from a web browser. An enhanced service will also offer the ability to message multiple staff members at the same time.
In today’s fast-paced world, secure text messaging is an excellent way to keep everyone in touch, on the same page, and on schedule!
2. Secure Client Web Portal
The two most essential elements of a medical answering service web portal are that it’s secure, and you have access to update and manage information about your practice. Make sure the website portal has an Extended Validation Certificate that verifies it is controlled by a legal entity. This extra level of encryption makes sure you keep sensitive PHI data safe and secure.
The risk of not having a secure website is significant. Any messages containing PHI puts your practice at risk for a HIPAA data breach violations. Not only can those violations add up to some serious coin, but also your reputation and credibility as a practice will likely be hindered.
You also want your portal to be easy to access and update. Any time you get a new patient, need to change the schedule, or update phone numbers, you want to be able to do so efficiently. The information you put in this portal is what your medical answering service team will go off of. You want to make sure the information they have is correct!
3. Real-time Access to Patient Messages and Information
Thorough, well-organized, and easy to understand records are every medical practice’s dream. Having real-time access to patient messages and information is an essential part of providing premier care.
Look for a medical answering service that offers a record of which physician was reached and their response time to the patient. Professional call centers should offer to import this data into patient electronic health records (EHRs) to streamline the process and avoid data re-entry.
4. Online Access to Patient Call Audio
Patient experience is more important than ever. In fact, their experience influences the level of reimbursement practices are receiving from insurers. That’s why it is a huge benefit to be able to listen to recordings of how your patient calls were handled.
Don’t leave this to chance – verify that your patient’s experience is optimal. When hiring a call center, take the time to train them on how calls should be handled and then follow up to make sure your instructions are being followed.
Side note: If you notice repeated problems with your call center’s professionalism, it’s probably time to switch medical answering service providers.
5. Web On-Call Software
As a medical practice, you have a lot of different team members and their schedules change often. Make sure your medical answering service provider offers a way to update your on-call schedule on the go. Avoid having the wrong person notified when they aren’t on-call and say goodbye to mismanaged emergencies.
The best web on-call tools are mobile optimized, allow schedule sharing, and have a secure text messaging capability. An efficient on-call system will also keep your call-center informed so they can do their job as professionally as possible!
6. Appointment Reminder Service
If you’re like many medical practices, one of your biggest losses of revenue comes from patient no-shows. Given the busyness of life, most of us need a reminder to ensure we are where we need to be when we need to be there.
A tech-savvy call center should offer the ability to upload appointments or even integrate reminders with EHR appointment software. This capability provides a way for patients to confirm or cancel their appointment. By getting this information ahead of time, you can effectively fill vacated appointment times. These automated reminders will no longer burden your staff, and can save you money by eliminating the mailed appointment reminder.
About Aaron Boatin
Aaron Boatin is President of Ambs Call Center, a virtual receptionist and telephone answering service provider. His passion is helping clients' businesses succeed. Melding high tech with high touch to provide the best customer service experience for clients is his core focus.