Is It Time to Start
a Medical Answering Service?
Begin Your Investigation with a Little
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.
When I worked as a call center
consultant (before moving full-time into publishing and writing) I advised
hospital communication centers, healthcare call centers, and medical answering
services. One hospital asked me to investigate the feasibility of them starting
a medical answering service. Their doctors begged them to do so, and there was
only one local provider that no one seemed to like.
I talked with some of the advocates
of a hospital-based answering service and did a bit of investigation into the
local provider. The initiative looked promising, and I ran the numbers. The
hospital decided to move forward. But before they scheduled me to help them
start their answering service, my contact abruptly retired and a change in
management decided to pause the project. Next quarter they assured me, which
became next year. They never did have me return.
I don’t know if they started their
answering service or not, but I do know that what I would’ve charged them thousands
of dollars for is now condensed in my new book How to Start a Telephone Answering Service, which came out in
If your hospital or healthcare
organization is considering starting a medical answering service, you can hire
an industry consultant to guide you or you can save a lot of money and buy my
And even if hiring a consultant is
the way you want to go, start with my book as a primer. It’s available in
paperback and Kindle and carries a 4.8-star rating.
Learn more at www.startanansweringservice.com.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is the publisher and editor of Medical Call Center News and AnswerStat.
Featured Sponsor: Answering Service One
Answering Service One offers a new approach
to medical answering service and healthcare call center services. Answering
Service One doesn’t sell services or tout features. They offer solutions that
provide tangible benefits and sought-after outcomes to the healthcare industry.
Let Answering Service One become your
number one resource for communicating with patients and callers. With Answering
Service One, you can reduce expenses, provide excellence to patients, enhance
communications, and realize increased focus.
The motto of Answering Service One says it
all: “Number one in quality, number one in customer service, and number one in
To learn more about Answering Service One’s
24-hour medical answering service and healthcare call center service for your
practice, clinic, facility, or hospital, contact them at 800-901-7776 or email@example.com.
The Goal of the Telephone Triage Process
By Rose Moon, RN, BSN
Telephone triage processes are proven to improve access to
care professionals, lower patient anxiety, save on ER costs, and prevent
unnecessary health complications. The
primary goal of the telephone triage process is to deliver safe,
quality-oriented telephone triage partnered with outstanding customer service.
The health, safety, and wellbeing of the patient is at the forefront of every
The purpose of the telephone triage process is to assess the patient’s
current signs and symptoms, concurrently evaluating their past medical history
and current medications. It performs the patient assessment in accordance with
protocols that guide the nurse to determine the proper triage disposition to
direct care to the safest, most cost-effective solution available at that time.
To accomplish the goals of the telephone triage process, an
organization needs to recruit, hire, train, and retain experienced telephone
triage nurses. Two valued components that will result in quality patient
outcomes are providing comprehensive, detailed orientation, as well as
equipping the nursing staff with needed tools: gold-standard telephone triage
However, the final determining factor of quality phone triage lies in
the training of nurses to utilize the protocol tool properly. Anyone can read a
protocol. It is the knowledgeable triage nurse who applies enhanced assessment
skills, superior judgment, prior nursing experience, and exceptional
decision-making abilities to the protocol tool that results in safe, quality
outcomes and cost-effective patient care.
Performing hands-on patient assessment allows the healthcare provider
to visualize cyanosis, smell foul drainage, palpate an abdomen, and use a
stethoscope to assess patients’ lung sounds. Telephone triage nurses don’t have
such luxuries to assess patient needs. They’re limited to their ability to query
and listen intently to the caller to obtain the necessary details of the
patient’s medical symptoms and then direct medical care accordingly.
Triage nurses don’t always have to be right; they just can’t afford to
be wrong. Always err on the side of caution.
Learn more about telephone nurse triage and how to implement successful triage nurse centers by downloading the free e-book: Telephone Nurse Triage Handbook.
Healthcare Call Center News
1Call Introduces Intelligent Series
Version 5.3: The 1Call Division of Amtelco announced the release of version 5.3 of their Intelligent
Series (IS) software. It contains several updates and additions including:
- the transfer of voicemail from Infinity to IS for use with the Genesis system,
- ACD answer call setting to reassign parked calls to another
- auto-answer announcement greetings,
- the addition of conference join call recording to
conference join and patch call states so that both conferences and patches can be recorded, and
- an IS supervisor dashboard allowing users to configure
multiple dashboard layouts that can be filled with a choice of widgets.
vice president of research and development, Kevin Beale stated, “We are
thrilled to be able to release this impressive
software update. Countless hours have been spent researching, developing, and
refining each feature, ensuring they will meet the needs of our customers and
helping them improve communications with their patients and physicians.”
For more information: 800-225-6035, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.1call.com.
New Book Explains How to
Start an Answering Service: Longtime industry veteran Peter Lyle
DeHaan released his insider’s guide to starting an answering service on January
29, 2019. Titled How to Start a Telephone Answering Service, the book
concisely shares the essential information needed to start an answering
service. Based on decades of industry experience and years of consulting, Peter
DeHaan, PhD, released this book as a service to the industry.
answering service is hard work, and I don’t sugarcoat it, but for those who
want to move forward, I provide practical advice to help them succeed,” said
DeHaan. “It’s a must read for anyone thinking about getting into the answering
Learn more at StartAnAnsweringService.com.
1Call’s Genesis Intelligent Series Receives Unify Certification: The 1Call Division of
Amtelco received interoperability certification for the Genesis Intelligent
Series call center console solution with the version 8.x Unify OpenScape 4000
PBX (private branch exchange) by the Unify Technology
Partner Program, based in Munich, Germany, on December 3, 2018. Amtelco is a
Unify Technology Partner, with Advanced Level status.
Testing the interoperability between 1Call’s Genesis Intelligent Series solution and Unify’s open
SIP interface for the OpenScape 4000 PBX was conducted remotely in October by
1Call’s PBX Integration Lab
staff in McFarland, Wisconsin, and the Unify Communications Development Lab in
1Call received interoperability certification from Unify in 2016 for the Infinity Intelligent Series call
center console solution with the version 7.x Unify OpenScape 4000 PBX.
According to Amtelco president Tom Curtin, “Amtelco is extremely excited to
have this certification to bring to our wonderful partner-customers
that are looking forward to getting the best of Unify and Genesis in one tight
For more information: 800-225-6035, email@example.com, or www.1call.com.
A Thought for Today
Every man is guilty of all the good he didn’t do. -Voltaire