Why Using an Offshore Answering Service is a Risky Idea

Offshore Answering Service

Some people shop for a medical answering service based on its price. But when they do, they forget that quality, or the lack thereof, carries its own price tag. Though going offshore to find a medical answering service may seem like a cost-effective approach, the reality is that more serious problems could offset any potential savings.

Consider these essential requirements that an offshore answering service may struggle to meet:

English As a Primary Language

Offshore answering services often use the phrase “English proficiency.” Yes, their operators do have a basic level of English ability, but English is a secondary language for most of them. If you want to provide effective communication with your patients, English proficiency isn’t enough. You want your answering service operators to have mastered English, and this usually means that they grew up speaking English as their primary language.

Comprehend Cultural Nuances

Operators in offshore answering services often struggle to understand American culture. Some strive to make up for this by watching US-produced television and movies. This may help, but do those sources accurately convey life in the United States? They don’t. So, overseas telephone answering service operators who try to learn US culture from popular media could very well learn the wrong lesson.

Understand Slang, Jargon, Idioms, and Figures of Speech

A related issue to culture is the societal appropriations of the English language. Someone who is proficient in English but hasn’t grown up in the United States will likely attempt to take things literally when they shouldn’t. Native speakers understand the meaning of these strange phrases, which often leaves non-native speakers in a quandary. This is especially pronounced when dealing with medical terminology and healthcare slang.

Have a First World Perspective

A final consideration rests in having a First World perspective. This isn’t to imply that a First World perspective is the correct one. However, it does acknowledge that people from a Third World, or even Second World, environment often fail to understand the priorities and viewpoints of a caller from a First World country.


While none of these elements is a deal breaker for an offshore medical answering service, each one of these concerns will cause problems. They serve to thwart the exchange of information when your patients call your offshore answering service. These issues will also slow, or even impede, effective communication between your callers and your offshore answering service operators.

This means that what should be a one-minute call could expand to take two or even three minutes. This serves to greatly increase the frustration of your callers and make them not want to talk to your answering service. And their negative experience with your offshore answering service will influence their attitude toward your organization.

Additionally, these communication challenges will affect the fees charged by your offshore answering service. If they charge by the minute, the connection between call length and invoice amount is clear. However, even if they have another billing plan, such as by the call or even by the month, the basis for these charges ultimately hinges on the amount of time required to do the work. This means that longer calls, hampered by miscommunication, will eventually push rates up. The result is a loss of the expected cost savings, which still comes at the expense of effective communication.

You hire a medical answering service to better serve your patients. And since service is your focus, you should choose the best answering service. This starts when you select a US-based provider.


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.