There are many moving parts to a successful medical practice. The doctors and nurses must possess the knowledge and skills to keep patients healthy, while the office managers must have processes in place to make the business run seamlessly. 

Things can get hectic in a busy medical office, so many practices partner with an answering service to help with tasks like answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, and answering basic questions regarding office hours, directions, and parking. If your practice is receiving more phone calls than it can keep up with, it could be time to consider outsourcing to a medical answering service.

Choosing a HIPAA-compliant answering service

When comparing medical answering services, one the most important things you must do is confirm that they are HIPAA-compliant. While it might be tempting to save some money by going with a company that isn’t, it can cost you lots of money and stress in the long run.

If you’re unsure about why your practice needs a HIPAA-compliant answering service, here are some questions to ask yourself and things to consider:

  • Is my business in the healthcare industry? If the answer to this question is yes, that you are a medical professional of any kind, the answering service that you outsource to must be HIPAA-compliant. Everyone who works in the healthcare industry, as well as any third-party vendors that they partner with, must adhere to specific guidelines outlined by HIPAA. These guidelines help to ensure that the privacy of their patients and their personal health information is protected.
  • Do I value the privacy and trust of my patients? Patients trust doctors with their health, and often share private information about their lives and bodies with them. When we think about the patient-doctor relationship in this light, we realize just how important it is for the relationship to be a healthy one.

Partnering with a HIPAA-compliant answering service shows patients that you value the privacy and protection of their health information. A basic answering service may not be accustomed to handling sensitive data, so outsourcing to a medical answering service with trained, knowledgeable virtual receptionists can make a big difference.

  • Do I have thousands of extra dollars to spend on fines? Because they lack the proper training of HIPAA requirements, a regular answering service may make mistakes like transmitting patient information via non-secure mobile devices, email, and voicemail, or failing to let callers know how their personal data will be used in the context of a call. Mistakes like this can lead to your medical practice being hit with hefty fines ranging from $100 to $50,000 per violation. 

A HIPAA-compliant answering service prioritizes data security to maintain the privacy of your patients. The live agents that your callers speak with receive ongoing training to ensure that they are up to date on all HIPAA requirements, and they fully understand the procedures that are in place in the event of a data breach.

Do I really want to take the risk? As a healthcare professional, you likely spent years in college and training. You’ve worked hard to build your business and your reputation. Do you really want to risk tarnishing it with HIPAA violations? In addition to the costly fines associated with violating HIPAA’s