3 Important Questions To Ask When Choosing A Medical Answering Service

Posted on: 18 February 2015

Having an answering service set up at your medical office can be a great way to provide your patients with the 24-hour service they expect without necessarily having to staff employees on-site 24 hours a day. After all, answering services can be operated remotely to handle patient calls and are significantly less expensive than keeping up with in-house staffing.

Still, before you choose just any medical answering services, there are some important questions you'll want to ask:

Are You HIPAA Compliant?

Perhaps the most important question you should be asking is whether or not the answering service is 100% compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). There are multiple facets to this act, but one of its main purposes is to ensure privacy when it comes to a patient's medical information.

Unfortunately, not all answering services out there are in compliance with this act, which could lead to major liability issues for your practice down the road. Make sure that the answering service you end up going with doesn't just claim to be compliant, but that their associates are actually familiar with HIPAA and its importance.

What Type of Phone System Do You Use?

Another important question to ask when searching for an answering service is what type of phone system the company uses. Ideally, you'll want to choose a company that has on-site phone systems with 24/7 support. Otherwise, an outsourced phone system could mean a greater chance of downtime and a slower response time in the event that there is a technical problem or glitch. There's simply no overstating the importance of a phone system and technology that's reliable--especially when it comes to your patients and their ability to reach you.

What Type of Pricing is Available?

Finally, be sure to inquire about what's included in the answering service's pricing and what type of payment options or scales they offer. For example, some answering services may offer you a low monthly price, but may require you to enter into a one- or two-year contract. On the other hand, some phone answering services may charge based on your call volume.

Make sure you can find a plan that works for you and, if at all possible, avoid being sucked into any long-term contracts; you want to make sure you're happy with a service before you decide to stick with them for the long run, after all.

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