As a medical professional you know the importance of being available to take calls when your patients have questions. While an answering service can’t provide all the answers for your patients, we can screen calls, answer frequently ask questions, and dispatch caller information directly to you via text message and e-mail. There is a lot to consider, so make sure you’re making the most out of your decision to outsource phone support to an answering service by checking out these must-haves for medical offices below!
HIPPA compliance: This is mandated anytime personal health information is exchanged.
Emergency Calls: When time is of the essence, a quick response and call dispatch matters.
Frequently Asked Questions: We can screen calls for simple questions like location and hours.
Over-flow & After-hours: Medical emergencies don’t stop just because the office closes.
Customized Call Scripting: This helps callers know what to expect when they call your office.
Any sort of medical practice or office where protected health information is changing hands absolutely must have a HIPPA compliant answering service. What does this look like? Let us break it down for you:
- While text messages and e-mails are not considered HIPPA compliant when handling protected health information, they can be used to relay generic information.
- Fax is another option available through Answer Anytime that remains HIPPA compliant.
Another call type that you can be sure you’ll receive is emergencies, and in those instances, patients just want to speak with their doctors as soon as possible. The last thing they want is to be sent to the abyss of voicemail message.
- You can provide operators with a script specifically to help identify which calls are true emergencies and which calls can wait until normal clinic hours – by asking questions such as “Is this an emergency” or “Do you need to speak with an on call-physician tonight or are you able to wait until clinic hours?”.
- Your answering service can help direct callers to follow a predetermined protocol for calls that warrant immediate attention.
Frequently Asked Questions
While operators are not allowed to answer care specific questions, we can help patients get the general information they need by answering questions with scripted answers provided by your clinic. These kinds of questions might include:
- Where is your clinic located?
- What is the cancellation policy?
- Who are the doctors in this practice?
- What is the office phone number and/or fax number?
- What insurance plans are accepted at this clinic?
- Is there a website?
- What services do you provide? Do you see children, do you specialize in anything, etc.?
Over-flow & After-hours
No matter how well-staffed your clinic is, there will be times where your receptionists simply can’t handle the flow of calls, such as during peak cold and flu seasons. And you’re pretty much guaranteed to have someone who needs to reach you after hours. Here are some perks of having an after-hours answering service:
- During your open hours, your answering service can utilize one customized script, while having another script available for after-hours. This also allows your patients to know what to expect when they know the office is closed.
- When there is an overflow of calls, an answering service can take a message giving your patients peace of mind that their call has been received and their message heard. That way they aren’t waiting on the phone or calling back – which can only cause further call congestion.
Customized Call Scripting
Using simple and to-the-point scripts are the best way to limit confusion for the caller and ensure the operation can handle each call successfully. While our virtual receptionists can answer frequently asked questions and operate as an extension of your office, it is important to remember that they are not allowed to provide medical advice. You may want to consider having several basic scripts for your answering service to follow such as:
- A friendly transfer script for transferring calls between operators and office staff
- A welcome message or greeting script let the callers know we are ready to take their call
- Scripts for customer service-related concerns or a protocol for the caller to follow
- After-hours scripts and scripts that are related to emergency calls