Today many large medical centers and hospitals are choosing to outsource their off-hour calls to an answering service rather than hiring staff to handle calls or simply relying on answering machines and similar technology. An answering service can answer incoming calls, take and relay messages, and can even schedule appointments for you. However, before you decide to employ a medical call center to answer your calls for you there are a few things you should look out for and keep in mind.
Overseas Call Centers Won’t Always Meet Your Standards
By now most business owners have heard how much cheaper it can be to outsource to other countries such as China or India. These countries provide cheaper rates which lure many business owners into thinking they will save even more money. However, you should be aware that there are some companies that are positioned overseas which do not meet the standards which your own business keeps. If your customers are not happy it won’t matter how much money you are saving, you will lose out in the long run by not being able to meet your patient’s expectations. Try to always make sure that you are not only receiving monetary value, but also that the call center’s customer service skills are up to par.
HIPAA Training Should Apply to Third Party Service Providers
Your employees are not the only ones that should be up-to-date with HIPAA training and compliancy. Third party providers such as live answering services should also be aware of HIPAA Privacy Policies because they will be directly dealing with patient information. A call center will not only talk with patients who may give them details regarding their illnesses, but will also oftentimes have direct access to a patient’s records and medical history. Since HIPAA complaints regarding an answering service will likely come back to your medical center you want to make sure that the call center employees are aware of and practicing HIPAA laws and have signed non-disclosure contracts. Safeguarding your patient’s personal information should always be of vital importance to your medical center, and all call centers should be screened prior to their employment.
A Medical Answering Service Can Offer Better Support
There are answering services that serve a wide variety of industries. For your medical center using a specific medical answering service will give you the best assistance available. A medical answering service will be able to offer more specialized customer service and can give you the confidence that your patients have been left with operators who have the most medical expertise. Operators are often trained vigorously and certified to deal with medical patients exclusively. If you are going to employ an answering service it is always better to make sure they have a specialized knowledge of the medical industry.
Is Your Call Center Ready for a Disaster?
Nobody wants to think of a disaster happening in their local area and affecting their home and business. Unfortunately, many companies have been sideswiped when a disaster strikes due to lack of proper planning. In addition, to making sure your own business is ready should a disaster happen you should also ask whether your call center will be ready should a disaster happen in their area. If you are employing a call center it is important to think of them almost as another employee. Will they be able to assist you in case of a disaster? Do they have more than one call center location where they can transfer your calls should one center go down? Try to make sure that their disaster recovery plan is as seamless as your own and you will have little to worry about, even if you are not in the office.
Kurt Duncan is the Director of Operations of MedConnectUSA.com. MedConnectUSA is a leading medical answering service and has been serving the healthcare industry since 1991.