With the aging baby boomer generation and advances in medicine that make it possible to live longer lives than ever, the demand for home healthcare services such as visiting nurses, companion care, monitoring equipment, durable medical equipment, and in-home hospice are sharply on the rise.
Many of these healthcare related services require 24-hour availability to answer patients’ calls, deliver oxygen tanks, or respond to an emergency. As a result, home healthcare agencies partner with answering services to make sure their clients’ needs are covered around the clock. But there are specific criteria that any healthcare business needs to consider when choosing an answering service, and knowing which questions to ask helps. Here are our top four questions to consider if you have a home healthcare business and are considering hiring an answering service:
You need to know that your patients’ health information is never put at risk, and that no one other than your designated staff members receives information regarding a patient and their condition. Make sure the service you choose not only educates their employees about why HIPAA regulations matter for you legally and financially, but that also requires the operators to pass an annual HIPAA compliance exam.
The aging baby boomer population is changing the face of health care. Their preference for independent in-home healthcare over assisted living centers is shifting long term healthcare away from medical facilities and into homes. As a result, the home healthcare industry is booming with agencies that provide services such as visiting nurses, companion care, monitoring equipment, durable medical equipment, and in-home hospice.
The demand for these services is unique in that the home healthcare nurses, aides, or medical equipment suppliers are on call 24/7, which is challenging to say the least. This is why many businesses in the industry are partnering with an answering service to manage customer service. Here are the three leading benefits of such alliances:
Around The Clock Attention
No matter the time of day or night, seniors prefer to speak with live receptionists, especially in the case of an emergency. A common complaint from these patients is being put on hold when they call a service agency, or getting an answering machine with a long list of options which may not even include the nature of their call. And in the case of a medical emergency, particularly after hours, patients need to know their call will be answered right away. A receptionist at an answering service will pick up calls promptly and can quickly connect a patient to the healthcare agency without delay. In addition, an answering service can sometimes also assist with scheduling appointments and other requests.
Streamlining business practices is essential for any company that wants to succeed in balancing enhanced productivity with excellent customer service. At Towne, we don’t believe that “streamlining” means doing things the same way everyone else does. In fact, we believe truly effective streamlining comes from customizing solutions to address the specific needs of each client.
Technology is an incredible asset in that realm, and is one of our specialties. We’ve seen over and over again how customizing technology to address a client’s desired outcomes helps their business, often in ways they hadn’t even thought about. Here are a few ways technology can help:
By utilizing a customer’s database, call center receptionists are able to determine exactly where a call is coming from and, as a result, be able to personalize as well as expedite services. This can be as simple as “How’s your weather today in Allentown, Mrs. Smith?” or as useful as sending the closest on-call technician to a caller in need.
I’m sorry for my lack of blogging…but we have been quite caught up in HIPAA compliance!
Most of us have been aware of HIPAA regulations for quite some time because they have affected us at our doctor’s office. New sign-in procedures and even how we are called into the exam room are the norm.
Those of us who work in the medical arena or have products or services that are used by the medical world are aware that there are many new regulations under the updated HIPAA policies. Most of the new stipulations are targeted at electronically protecting our PHI (Personal Health Information).
Here at Towne we have always protected any PHI that has been made available to us. You may be surprised…..but having the knowledge that someone has called their doctor, even for the ‘common cold’ is protected information and cannot be shared. That information must also be protected from the bad guys who may try to hack into a system to steal information.
One nice thing about a blog is that you can choose to discuss random topics whenever you feel like being random… so, today is my day!
I am sure that everyone has been affected by the HIPAA rules and regulations in multiple ways. If you work in or touch the medical world in any way, you are about to be much more affected than ever before. The new compliance begins September 23, 2013.
Our company has always been HIPAA compliant and we are committed to helping our clients be compliant also. A new area of compliance is in the arena of text messaging. The typical texting that we all do is not HIPAA compliant because it is not encrypted.
Doctors and medical technicians are no different than the rest of us…and have become very accustomed to the convenience of receiving and sending texts to aid them in their work. Being educated to understand that new compliance rules may change their lives in a big way was not very well received!!