Why A Medical Answering Service is Necessary

A busy practice with a team of one of more medical professionals is a great way to make money and offer patients a number of different specialists under one roof, but what about after hours? How can you and your fellow physicians ensure that your patients are getting their questions answered and the services that they need, without anyone having to work all night?

One option that many busy medical professionals have chosen to help their office run smoothly even when they are at home with their families is a physician answering service. This type of call center answering service specializes in serving the specific needs of medical professionals. What’s different about your needs versus other, non medical companies?

Medical Emergencies

First of all, one of the key differences between the after-hours needs of a medical office and the needs of a sales office for example, is that medical offices will receive urgent patient phone calls that could be life threatening. Many times, patients will call their doctor first before going to the emergency room. They may think that their medical issue is not that serious, or that they need clearance from their doctor before they spend the money on a pricey emergency room visit.

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A skilled medical answering service will have live operators with medical knowledge. They can help to determine whether the patient has an actual medical emergency, or whether simply a message should be passed on to their physician. This prevents physicians from getting calls all hours of the night, while patients still get the care and attention they need.

The operators can also advise patients as to whether they should get to an emergency room as soon as possible. This is very important and can save a life. Imagine if your practice did not have an answering service. If a patient called in serious distress after hours and no one was there to answer the phone, they might not seek the medical help that they need and end up in serious trouble. Having a team of operators in a call center with medical knowledge truly can help your patients.

Private Information

Another reason why medical offices require specialized medical answering services is because there are specific laws that operators must abide by. Specifically, HIPAA laws must be complied with in order to protect a patient’s private information. Under HIPAA all medical information must be kept in the strictest confidence. Operators must know to be as discreet as possible and to keep all of this information to themselves. They must also know how to transmit the medical messages they get to the doctors and nurses that they work for in the most secure manner.

Live operators that work in a call center answering calls for other types of businesses may not have had the necessary HIPAA training. This training helps to teach the operators what information should be guarded and what is safe to share. They will also learn how to handle situations where they feel like a patient’s information may be breached.

Patients in Need of Compassion and Understanding

Many of the calls that come in to a medical answering service will be from patients that truly just need someone to be compassionate and understanding. Unlike someone who is trying to reach their local paper salesman or wants to schedule a hair appointment, a medical caller will have a lot on their mind and possibly be worried about their health. Medical answering services will employ operators who are able to treat patients kindly and with compassion.

Make sure that if you are a physician, you utilize a specialized medical answering service to give your patients top quality care.

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.

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