How Does a HIPAA-Compliant Medical Answering Service Work?

Anyone who has worked in a medical practice can attest that they are busy places where the phones are constantly ringing. Patients call to schedule appointments and get information about their health, other medical providers call regarding referrals, representatives from insurance companies call to verify claims, and the list goes on.

To keep up with the high volume of calls, many healthcare providers outsource to a medical answering service. Partnering with a medical answering service ensures that more of your calls are answered and that fewer callers are forced to leave a message. Although there are many answering service companies out there, it’s extremely important that medical practices work with one that is HIPAA-compliant. 

What is a HIPAA-Compliant Answering Service?

Unlike an ordinary telephone answering service, the live agents at a HIPAA-compliant medical answering service are proficient in how HIPAA applies to your practice’s patients and callers. Before ever answering a phone on your practice’s behalf, they receive specialized training on data security, the latest HIPAA requirements, and how to protect the confidential health information of your patients.

By law, if any business in the healthcare field chooses to outsource to a medical answering service, it must be one that is HIPAA-compliant. Partnering with one that isn’t HIPAA-compliant may be tempting, as it may be cheaper, but this could come back to haunt you. As a medical professional, you understand that the private health information of your patients is a top priority, but a live agent at a regular answering service may not. If confidential patient health information is accidentally leaked or mishandled, this can result in thousands of dollars in fines for your business to pay, as well as the loss of patient trust and confidence.

How Does a HIPAA-Compliant Medical Answering Service Work?

If you are running a medical office of any kind, you and the third-party vendors that you work with must be HIPAA-compliant. This ensures that everyone working for your practice in one way or another is adhering to the specific guidelines outlined by HIPAA, which protect the privacy of your patients and their personal health information.

In addition to making sure that more of your office’s phone calls are answered, a HIPAA-compliant medical answering service can add value to your medical practice in the following ways:

  • As a leading HIPAA-compliant medical answering service, the team at Answering Service Care developed a proprietary secure messaging software that keeps all patient information confidential while still providing our healthcare clients with easy, one-click ways to retrieve their phone messages. Our secure messaging software is a web-based application that transmits encrypted data between our answering service operators and our clients.
  • The live agents who answer your phones have all been trained on HIPAA requirements and privacy procedures, and are experienced in working with doctors, dentists, hospitals, and other healthcare businesses. 
  • Partnering with a HIPAA-compliant medical answering service shows your callers that you value their privacy. Additionally, the live agents of a HIPAA- compliant answering service will build your patients’ trust by always letting them know how their personal data will be used in the context of the phone call.