Answering services can fill a variety of important needs in your growing business.

They can free up your office staff to focus on the work of growing your business. They can help you extend your business hours to 24/7 without having an onsite secretarial staff work around the clock. They can even help you manage lead generation and order taking tasks.

But what if your industry requires secure messaging? Standard answering service packages may not always provide all of the features that you need in your business. Medical- and healthcare-related businesses have extra measures of security that they need in order to stay compliant. When it comes to maintaining patient privacy, you’ll need a phone answering service that provides live voice services as well as secure messaging.

HIPAA Compliance and Secure Messaging

If your business is in the medical field, you’re familiar with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This series of laws was established to protect the confidentiality and security of your patients’ healthcare information. It regulates how medical information about your patients is obtained, stored and transferred to other sources.

It also dictates how messages about that information are saved and relayed to you. This is an area in which your answering service – considered to be an HIPAA “business associate” – needs to be just as concerned about your compliance as you are.

What to Look for in Secure Messaging Services

As a company in the healthcare or medical field, you should only be considering using answering services that have a secure messaging option. This way you can receive and retrieve messages securely and in compliance with the law.

Here’s what to look for in a secure messaging service:

  • Proprietary technology that encrypts messages and streamlines their delivery – Truly secure messaging isn’t available from third-party or that is simply off-the-shelf. Any answering service that offers secure messaging should have invested time and money into the proper infrastructure.
  • Real-time response to incoming calls – The secure message-recording portion of your answering service should be seamless. Incoming callers who need to leave a message, rather than speak to a live receptionist, should be transferred easily and in real time not put into a system where they have to wait.
  • Mobile and online retrieval – Retrieving your messages from the secure messaging system should be easy. Your answering service with secure messaging should offer you the opportunity to retrieve and listen to your secure and encrypted messages – ideally from your computer or your mobile device. This way you and your staff can respond quickly to any patient needs.

Secure messaging is a must-have for any medical or healthcare company that uses a professional answering service. Don’t settle (or risk breaking the law) for a service that doesn’t offer both. HIPAA compliant secure messaging and call answering services are available from Answering Service Care.