Medical offices are busy places where the phone can ring off the hook.

From appointment setting to answering basic health questions, doctors, nurses and their staffs have to be available around-the-clock. But unless you’ve got a cloning tank handy, there just isn’t enough of any single medical professional to go around – and that’s just one reason why every medical office needs a medical answering service.

Since you can’t clone yourself, it may be time to hire an answering service to provide the comfort you aren’t able to give all day and all night. Whether you’re a pediatrician, orthodontist, podiatrist or work in hospice care, your patients depend on you and need to be able to contact you after-hours when emergencies strike.

How A Medical Answering Service Works

When your patients call your office after-hours or during busy times, those calls that aren’t getting picked up can be rolled over to a bank of specially trained offsite virtual receptionists. These trained answering service operators will take the calls you can’t, provide your patients with instructions per your specifications and reroute those calls that need to be addressed immediately. Being on call has never been so low-pressure!

A HIPAA-compliant medical answering service gives you all the security and protection that you have in your own office. These entities are required to abide by the same rules that you are, including having secure emails and secure text-messaging capabilities. You don’t need to worry about patient information getting into the wrong hands when your medical answering services are on top of security and privacy issues.

When a patient who needs you immediately calls, your operators will contact you via email or text or connect the call to your cell phone, depending on your preference. You can even have the call rerouted to another doctor covering your calls that evening. Medical answering services are great ways to give your clients access to you when they really need it, but preserving your precious down time so you and your staff can recuperate from your demanding work.

Choosing a Medical Answering Service

Picking the right medical answering service partner can be more difficult than in other professions because of the level of data security and privacy required. Unlike a retailer who simply wants someone who can answer product questions or a property manager that needs callers to be directed to the proper service provider, a medical professional must also be concerned with what happens to the patient information that’s collected during the call.

While you can’t always monitor what happens at your answering service, you can learn about their HIPAA protocols and training and test the company’s knowledge on HIPAA laws. If the company services many other doctors, so much the better. When its business depends on it, it’s far more likely that the answering service company is maintaining rigorous HIPAA compliancy.

The question, then, isn’t “Who needs a medical answering service?” but “Who doesn’t?” From catching calls that might need immediate answers during busy times of the day to creating a whole new level of accessibility for your patients, a medical answering service can improve your patient relationships in ways you’ve never considered.