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Specialty Answering Services Review: Best Answering Service for Doctors

Specialty Answering Services Review: Best Answering Service for Doctors
Credit: Specialty Answering Service

After conducting considerable research and analysis of call center services, we recommend Specialty Answering Service as the best call center service for medical practices.

Ready to choose a call center service? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Medical practices have unique needs to consider when selecting an answering service. For example, any service a medical practice employs must be HIPAA-compliant to ensure patients' privacy is protected. Finding a solution that covers specific health care needs isn't always easy, so Business News Daily reviewed myriad call center services to determine which service is the best for a medical practice. We recommend Specialty Answering Service, a Better Business Bureau-accredited company, as the best service to handle your medical practice's call center needs.

Editor's note: If you're looking for information to help you choose the call center that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site BuyerZone provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free.

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Specialty Answering Service offers a bevy of different plans depending on your call volume. The company offers eight different price plans:

  • Economy (includes zero minutes): $29 per month, $1.19 per minute
  • 100 minute: $109 per month, $1.09 per each additional minute
  • 220 minute: $189 per month, $1.09 per each additional minute
  • 500 minute: $469 per month, $0.99 per each additional minute
  • 1,000 minute: $890 per month, $0.95 per each additional minute
  • 2,500 minute: $2,125 per month, $0.89 per each additional minute
  • 5,000 minute: $3,999 per month, $0.85 per each additional minute
  • 10,000 minute: $7,499 per month, $0.79 per each additional minute

The economy package is a nice option for small-volume practices, because it is a pay-as-you-go plan. Many call center services require a minimum amount of call volume and will actually charge you if you fail to meet the minimum. Specialty distinguishes itself in that regard. The service also offers a free two-week trial, so you can determine if Specialty meets your standards before paying.

If your practice requires a different solution, Specialty is open to working with you to customize a plan that will work best.

Specialty Answering Service is fully HIPAA-compliant, an important feature for a medical practice. Under HIPAA, health care providers are required to provide a minimum level of security to their communications in order to better protect patient data. Otherwise, your practice might incur penalties or forego incentive payments from Medicare. Specialty Answering Service meets the requirements and maintains quality-assurance checks to ensure its system is continuously operating up to the standards.

Another useful aspect of Specialty Answering Service for a medical practice is the appointment-scheduling feature. Using your practice-management software, Specialty Answering Services will schedule or change patient appointments. Not only does this take some of the burden off of your practice's front office, but the call center also offers an appointment-reminder service to help reduce no-shows and increase efficiency in the scheduling process.

Specialty Answering Service is available 24/7/365, so your patients can always be in touch with the call center for immediate information, to provide information of their own or to alter their scheduled appointments at any time that's convenient for them. The center can also field questions about insurance or referrals at any time.

Our customer service experiences with Specialty Answering Service were simple, friendly, informative and helpful every time. Specialty's employees are knowledgeable and patient, and they were ready and willing to answer all of our questions without hesitation. You can be sure your patients will be treated with respect and courtesy.

Emergency calls can be directed to you and your staff by phone, text, pager or email. Agents are trained for emergency situations and will be able to gather the necessary information to refer to your practice. In cases of extreme urgency, Specialty Answering Service will directly transfer the call to your practice, immediately connecting your patients with the help they need.

Editor's note: If you're looking for information to help you choose the call center that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site BuyerZone provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free.

buyerzone widget

 

Unfortunately, Specialty Answering Service doesn't engage in lead generation or cold-calling. For a practice with an established clientele, this isn't much of a problem; Specialty Answering Service will still contact patients for follow-ups and automated appointment reminders. The service will also conduct surveys and solicit customer feedback. Unless you're looking to expand your base of patients, the center's outbound services should be sufficient.

Specialty Answering Services supports only fluent English and Spanish speakers. The center's staff will not be able to communicate with speakers of any other language, so if you serve patients who primarily speak a different language, either your staff will need to have somebody who can translate or you might consider going with another service.

NotifyMD is a medical practice call center owned by Stericycle Communications Solutions. NotifyMD offers many of the same features as Specialty Answering Service, including HIPAA compliance, automated reminders, scheduling and even prescription refills. Our customer service experience with NotifyMD was satisfactory. Though not quite as impeccable as Specialty's, NotifyMD's operators were helpful and engaged. NotifyMD also maintains trained, bilingual "Care Coordinators" who understand the health care industry. While the 30-day free trial is double the length of Specialty Answering Service's, you'll need to request a demo in order to obtain an accurate price quote. Moreover, NotifyMD offers only inbound services, which is why it was chosen as a runner-up to Specialty Answering Services.

We chose Specialty Answering Service from a pool of the dozens of call center services we considered. To read our full methodology and for a more comprehensive list of call center services, visit Business News Daily's best picks page.

Adam C. Uzialko

Adam received his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. He worked for a local newspaper and freelanced for several publications after graduating college. He can be reached by email, or follow him on Twitter.