Why Most Medical Answering Services Suck
A quick Google search of “medical answering services” shows that most medical answering services leave a lot to be desired. From poor customer service to non-compliance with privacy laws and service interruptions, it’s easy to see why some health care practitioners are wary about outsourcing this vital service.
Poor Customer Service
With all businesses, customer service is a vital area, and for medical answering services, it’s one of the most critical aspects of their jobs. Often callers report negative experiences with medical answering services, such as rude and uncaring operators. These adverse events can cause patients Speaking with patients requires patience and empathy.
People are calling because of emergencies, sharing private and sometimes embarrassing information. They need to be met with customer service representatives that can stay calm, help soothe them, and direct them to the information they need quickly and respectfully.
Non-Compliance with HIPAA Laws
Compliance with HIPAA Laws is a huge issue. Violations of these health care regulations are confidentiality breaches between the doctor and patient and open the medical practice and answering service up to extensive fines from federal agencies. It can also lead to civil action against both parties and even problems with licensing agencies and oversight boards.
Federal agencies take these complaints very seriously, and penalties alone can range between $100 to $50,000 per patient depending on the severity of the situation. Even an “innocent” violation can cause a $100 fine.
Problems happen. Storms, tech difficulties, and other unexpected situations can cause medical answer businesses to have service interruptions. While these events may be rare, a responsible company has a backup plan that limits the downtime to a few minutes. Lives often depend on reliable medical answering services, and when patients can’t reach their doctor during an emergency, it can have catastrophic results.
This is different from pre-planned downtime, where the agency may be completing repairs and upgrades. However, even when they notify you of planned outages, these should be short, and medical practices should always have a backup option offered by the outsourcing agency.
They Only Offer Inbound Services
Although not as severe as non-compliance, poor customer service, and physical service interruptions, its vital for outsourcing agencies to offer more than one function. For example, many small medical practices don’t have the funds for a full time receptionists, leaving phone calls to go to voicemail during appointments and after hours.
An answering service can pick up the calls during appointments, and other times, practitioners can’t be near the phone. This frees up time for nurses to return calls and check-up with patients without missing important calls or having to place one call on hold to answer the other. The extra layer of customer service the small business can offer can increase patient happiness and increase word-of-mouth referrals.
There are medical answering services that provide excellent service and adhere strictly to all privacy guidelines. Contact CallNet Receptionists today to learn how we can help you better meet your patient’s needs and improve your ROI.