Signs That You Should Replace Your Medical Answering Service
December 11, 2020
When you hired a medical answering service, your goal was probably to improve your patients’ access to high quality care. You may have also hoped to capture referrals, field after-hours calls, and even dispense helpful medical advice as needed.
However, mainstream answering services may not have what it takes to improve your practice; in fact, they may actually be harming your reputation or missing calls. How do you know if it’s time to make a change? Today, we’ll explore eight key signs that it’s time to replace your medical answering service.
1. You Have Received Complaints from Patients
It’s not easy to provide excellent care through a medical answering service. To succeed, you’ll need to treat the patient experience like an exercise in customer service. Rigorous training, boundless compassion, and a wealth of knowledge are all required to help patients to receive the help they need.
The best way to determine the quality of your existing answering service is to listen to patient feedback. If the people coming into your practice are complaining, it’s time to consider going with another organization.
2. Calls Are Handled Poorly
Unfortunately, many medical answering services don’t have what it takes to get patients the help they need. It’s not uncommon for calls to be missed, dropped, incorrectly routed, or answered in a loud call center. To put your best foot forward for patients, be sure that you have hired a service that prioritizes the highest quality of care blended with an outstanding customer experience.
3. The Medical Answering Service Doesn’t Integrate with Your Team
When you hire an external service, you expect them to work as an extension of your team. This involves learning your office protocols, becoming familiar with your policies, and providing medically sound advice to patients. If your answering service isn’t able to seamlessly integrate with your practice, it can adversely affect patient experience.
4. Inaccurate Information
If you’re working with a nurse advice line or after-hours nurse triage service, it is vital that your patients receive medically accurate information. Many call centers do not take the extra step of hiring registered nurses or credentialed professionals – instead, the people taking calls may not have the level of expertise required to advise patients. In the event of an emergency, this can be a matter of life and death. If your medical answering service doesn’t provide helpful, correct information, it’s time to replace them with one that can.
5. A Medical Answering Service Doesn’t Offer All the Services You Need
Many medical answering services seem to be glorified message-takers. They may be available after hours, but they just tell callers to try again in the morning. Additionally, your staff likely uses a specific EMR for record keeping. If your answering service can’t integrate with your platforms, you’re missing out on an opportunity to make your practice more efficient. Services like IntellaTriage fill all of these gaps, ensuring that patient encounters are well-documented in your EMR and that after-hours care is comprehensive and medically sound.
6. Errors in Patient Information
Misspellings and typos can be annoying at the best of times, but when they keep popping up in your call center’s notes, they become unacceptable. Accurate patient records and encounter documentation are vital aspects of any reliable practice. If you notice continued errors in patient information from your medical answering service, it’s a sure sign that they are not a good fit for your needs.
7. Your Medical Answering Service Has Inflexible Hours
One of the most important aspects of hiring a medical answering service is improved availability. Ideally, this business relationship will allow your practice to field patient calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, holidays included. If you’ve hired a service that does not provide this level of accessibility for your patients, it may be time to consider replacing them with one that does.
8. HIPAA Compliance Issues
HIPAA compliance is a topic of great concern for doctors, nurses, medical staff, and patients. It should also be a major priority for your answering service. If they are sending sensitive information via insecure methods, like unencrypted text messages or emails, your practice and patients could be vulnerable. Ensure that your medical answering service is HIPAA compliant to avoid any potential legal ramifications.
Save Money and Improve Your Patient Experience
When used correctly, a medical answering service pays for itself. IntellaTriage, for example, improves patient satisfaction, reduces nurse burnout and staff turnover, and even saves you money. Our clients save on the cost of staffing their own nurses for an internal call center, as well as the time and effort needed to recruit, hire, manage, and operate that service. We also capture all referrals quickly, increasing your topline revenue.
To learn more about IntellaTriage’s revolutionary approach to replacing your after-hours medical answering service, contact us today.