A growing trend in the call center and answering service industry is tapping home-based agents and using remote personnel. Though this offers many benefits to the answering service, which in theory should trickle down to the client, the work-at-home solution is a nonstarter when it comes to healthcare.
One reason why call centers were initially centralized was to maximize management effectiveness. A distributed workforce is much harder to supervise. If your answering service has twenty people working in twenty locations, the manager can only manage one at a time. Who knows with the other nineteen are doing? Do you really want an under-managed workforce to handle calls from your patients?
Lack of Security
Leading medical answering services take significant measures to secure their facility, their equipment, and their operators’ workstations. No one gets in who shouldn’t get in. This includes both physical access, as well as online access. Secure means secure, while remote staff and work-at-home situations imply insecure. It’s extremely challenging, if not impossible, to fully lockdown a home-based work environment.
Too Many Distractions
Answering service staff that work from home deal with many more distractions than their workplace counterparts. Common distractions include crying children and noisy pets. And if they’re trying to balance elder care as they work, that’s another unpredictable distraction that can divert their attention from your clients’ needs.
No Way to Secure Protected Health Information
In the healthcare industry, covered entities (CEs) must always keep protected health information (PHI) secure. This is challenging enough, though doable, in a centralized call center environment. However, with a distributed workforce located in all manner of environments, securing PHI is next to impossible.
Not HIPAA Compliant
Since PHI is vulnerable in work-at-home and remote-employment scenarios, this results in a failure to comply with HIPAA regulations. HIPAA is of paramount importance in healthcare. An answering service that sends work outside their office will find it difficult to maintain an acceptable degree of HIPAA compliance.
Pursue the Ideal Solution
Because of these significant risks associated with using work-at-home and remote call center agents, leading medical answering services insist that they handle all client calls from a centralized, secure, and continuously supervised facility. This provides the best level of management, allows for a high degree of security, and removes unwarranted distractions. Centralizing answering service work is also the best way to secure PHI and maintain, even exceed, the highest standards of HIPAA compliance.
Make sure your answering service doesn’t risk your organization’s integrity and your patients’ protected health information. Only select a medical answering service that handles 100 percent of your calls in their call center and refuses to ship calls around the country or around the world.
Hire a professional medical call center that doesn’t take any shortcuts by using work-at-home staff.
Learn how medical answering service from MedConnectUSA can help your practice, clinic, or facility. Then get a free quote to discover how affordable their healthcare communication services are. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer and call center authority.