How to Choose the Best Mental Health Answering Service for Your Practice - A Courteous Communications - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
Want to know the insider tips for finding the best after-hours answering service for your mental health practice? Here are the top questions you need to ask to find the best and most qualified mental health answering service.
How to find the right mental health answering service:
Is Your Answering Service HIPAA Compliant?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires all healthcare providers to obey certain rules concerning their patient care. As you also know, any third parties or vendors working on behalf of your facility and handling patient health information (PHI) or the patients’ personal health records are also required to be HIPAA compliant.
Being a responsible and diligent mental health professional, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you’re outsourcing your calls to a qualified team. This question should be the most important qualifying question for all answering services you interview.
Learn more about the digital call center’s message encryption and password protection options. Choose the answering service that is able to provide detailed information as to how they protect your patients’ confidential information.
Do You Provide 24-Hour Telephone Coverage?
The next vital information needed is to determine if the answering service runs 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are currently:
- • 128,200 mental health counselors
- • 105,600 clinical, counseling and school psychologists
- • 12,400 licensed psychologists
- • 24,060 practicing psychiatrists
What is going to set your mental health practice apart from this very competitive industry? Being able to assist your patients 24-hours a day is going to give you that major advantage over your competitors. By giving your potential and existing patients direct access to you on their timetable, you’re showing them that you’re enthusiastic and willing to help them when they need you the most.
Make sure that any answering service you’re considering is able to answer your patients’ calls 24/7. Being in an industry where holidays bring an increasingly high call volume, hire a medical virtual receptionist that will be on standby 365 days out of the year.
How Much Does an After-Hours Answering Service Cost?
If you’re just starting a small mental health practice, chances are, you think that you’re not in a position to hire administrative support. But virtual receptionists are going to be a huge time and money saving investment; that is, when you choose the right answering service.
Be sure to find out how much the mental health answering service you’re vetting costs. Get to the bottom of the financial investment you’re looking to make by asking the following questions:
- • What is your standard monthly fee for mental health answering services?
- • Do you charge extra for after-hour call answering or weekend call answering?
- • How much do you charge per minute if I choose a time billing schedule?
- • How much do you charge per call if I choose a call billing schedule?
- • What are the fees associated with handling my appointment calendar?
- • Do you offer a 1(800) or local number I can use? If yes, how much is this feature?
- • Can I get free calls added to my plan as a valued customer?
- • How much are your message delivery services? Via text? Via email? Via facsimile?
- • Are there charges applied if I change or customize my account?
Ask these questions to determine what are potential hidden costs in the answering service prices. You don’t want to be blindsided with your first invoice. Being informed allows you to make the financial decision that is best for your unique needs and budget.
Do You Offer Monthly Services or Annual Contracts?
Find out if the answering service you’re interviewing requires that you sign a long-term contract. This important question is often overlooked and you don’t want to be stuck in a long-term commitment without being told beforehand.
Competitive answering service packages allow you to purchase services on a month-to-month basis that you can cancel at any time. Choose a digital call center that allows a short-term commitment in order to try out the virtual receptionist team. Don’t get stuck in an annual or long-term contract until you can test drive the services.
How Is Your Team Trained to Handle Medical Calls?
Dig a little deeper with very specific questions as to how the answering service trains their employees. Being a mental health professional, your callers are likely to be in a sensitive state when reaching out to your office. You want to hire a virtual receptionist team that is able to provide elite patient services with empathy, compassion and caller control.
It’s also helpful to inquire about the specific and customized training on your account and if the answering service offers on-going training for their telephone agents. A redundant call center will hold weekly, or even daily, training sessions to their agents as needed.
Am I Able to Fully Customize My Account With You?
You want to outsource your patient calls to a medical answering service that is able to offer 100% customization options for your account. There are a variety of service options that can be customized with the right call center:
- • Offering hours of operation and directions to your office;
- • Cross-checking of health insurance plans your practice accepts;
- • Quoting your hourly rates and therapy service packages;
- • Providing your educational and career information background;
- • Distinguishing what an emergency call is and when to forward calls after-hours;
- • Synchronization capabilities to connect with your patient appointment calendar;
- • And other answers to your patients’ FAQs.
Don’t hire an answering service that will simply take a message on your behalf. You want to employ a virtual receptionist team that tailors their services to meet your unique needs.
Go Ahead, Put Our Mental Health Answering Service Through This Test
Here at A Courteous Communications, we’ve been providing award winning patient services for medical facilities like yours for 30 years. Our mental health answering service answers millions of medical calls each year and we’re the experts you’re searching for.
Put us to the test by giving us a call at 1-800-785-6161 to get answers to these important questions. Our account specialist will guide you through how we handle your very important medical calls and will provide an affordable quote of custom services your practice needs.
Publish Date: April 28, 2016 5:00 AM
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