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How Much Does a Medical Answering Service Cost in 2020?

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How much does a medical answering service cost? Should you outsource to a medical answering service? Here’s the latest pricing data for doctors, physicians, and hospitals in 2020.

What are the Factors that Drive the Cost of a Medical Answering Service?

  1. Call Volume: To be expected, an answering service fielding 100 calls will cost more than a provider fielding just 50 calls. However, the cost per call typically goes down on higher volume call levels.
  2. Time: The average duration of each call is the number one factor that drives the cost of a medical answering service. The largest expense a call center has is its receptionists. For this reason, most answering service providers wisely bill by the minute, and not the call.
  3. Integration: If you need the call center to integrate with your company’s online calendar (to set appointments) or to access a portal to process payments, you can expect an increase in cost ranging between 5% – 15%. Theses type of calls require additional training and goes beyond the standard classroom procedures.
  4. Holidays: Like most companies, employees who work on holidays receive time and a half pay. This fee is typically billed at a flat rate of around $20 per holiday.

What Standard Features are Included in a Medical Answering Service?

  1. 24×7 Support: Your provider will typically answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only exception is a small fee on holidays.
  2. Bilingual Support: Most medical answering service companies have a dedicated staff to support Spanish and English speaking clients.
  3. Call Recording: With the exception of 2 party notification states, expect all of your calls to be recorded and generally stored in a secure environment for up to 3 years.
  4. SMS / Email Message Delivery: Your messages are sent in live time via SMS text message, email, or both. This can include a sound file of the full conversation.
  5. Toll Free Number: A toll-free number can be provided to forward your calls to or to be used to forward your company’s inbound calls to.

Most Common Types of Medical Answering Services:

  • Doctors Answering Service: This is to support most physicians and doctors.
  • Healthcare Answering Service: Live call support for Chiropractors, dentists, and more.
  • Hospital Answering Service: Typically for very high call volumes ranging from 1,000 – 10,000 calls per month.

An Overview of Medical Answering Service Pricing

If you’re considering hiring an answering service, you probably want to know “How much does a medical answering service cost?”

Depending on your plan, a physician answering service can cost between $0.65 and $1.19 per call. If you task the answering service with additional work, such as setting appointments, it may cost more.

On average, an answering service may charge between $60 – $100 for 45 to 75 calls every month. Accordingly, you should consider your call volume when selecting a service and a plan.

You can hire a medical answering service to gain access to a full off-site team. For example, you can find an answering service that fulfills additional functions, such as appointment reminders, inbound calls, outbound calls and reception.

Whether you operate a small practice or supervise a large medical facility, there’s an answering service that can meet your needs. More importantly, the service can manage your calls for less than it will cost for you to do it in-house.

Depending on your plan, the service provider may charge you by call volume or the minutes they use when answering your calls.

What Kind of Services Do Medical Answering Services Provide?

A medical answering service can allow you to operate a 24-hour contact center. They may also perform functions such as appointment setting. If needed, the answering service can also provide you with bilingual operators.

Typically, doctors hire answering services to answer calls when the office is closed. However, you can take advantage of an answering service for so much more.

If there is a task that doesn’t require medical expertise, and operators can do it over the phone, you can hire an answering service to do it. The important thing is to hire a company that’s experienced in working with medical facilities. A medical answering service knows how to help your practice remain in HIPAA compliance.

A medical answering service can also prove beneficial during operating hours. You can hire the service to take calls that your staff members field regularly.

By hiring an answering service, you’ll free staff members to focus on patients, for instance, in the waiting area. Alternatively, they can start collecting information from patients in exam rooms.

Usually, a patient enters a doctor’s office, fills out a form and waits. Once it’s the patient’s turn to see the doctor, the appointment typically takes some time.

By outsourcing to a call answering service, you can free staff members to start part of the exam process. Because your staff members have more time, they can increase their productivity and work on improving patient satisfaction.

What Kind of Medical Offices Do Answering Service Providers Support?

One of the most important features of a medical answering service is that they can help your organization remain HIPAA compliant when communicating with patients. HIPAA compliance is crucial in the healthcare setting.

Safe and effective communication is one of the most important assets of your practice. Patients rely on it for their health and, in some cases, emergencies.

Your daytime call volume may prove excessive. Alternatively, you may want to save the cost of hiring in-house staff members to answer off-hours calls. If so, a medical answering service may serve as a solution.

A capable answering service will integrate with your staff seamlessly. The service should understand how the meet the needs of different kinds of facilities. A qualified medical answering service can manage a call center for a range of specialties, including:

  • Cardiac specialists
  • Internal medicine practitioners
  • OB/GYNs
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Pediatricians
  • PCP’s
  • Dentists
  • Chiropractors
  • Urologists

Despite the specialty or the medium – email, phone or text – a qualified medical answering service will keep patient information safe and secure.

How Much Do Medical Answering Services Cost Per Minute?

The national average cost per minute of a medical answering service is $0.90 – $1.19.

The cost of an answering service varies depending on your call volume. For example, if your practice receives around 50 calls a month that last less than a minute, the medical answering service may charge you $1.00 to $1.70 per minute.

Depending on the type of questions you need fielded, if you receive around 100 to 200 calls per month, the service may charge you anywhere from $0.89 to $1.24 per minute. If you receive an even higher volume of calls, for instance, up to 500 calls a month, answering service rates may cost between $0.87 and $1.16 per minute.

Alternatively, your inbound calls may take a little longer. For instance, each call may average a minute and a half long.

If you receive 500 one and a half minute calls a month, you may pay around $1.25 per minute. If the service accepts calls for your practice on holidays, however, the company may add a flat rate of $10 per day for answering calls.

How Much Do Answering Services Cost Per Call?

The national average cost per call of a medical answering service is $0.78 – $1.31.

A medical answering service may charge you by the call. If so, the cost per call will vary based on your call volume.

For instance, if your office receives around 50 thirty-second calls per month, the service may charge you $0.74 to $1.10 per call. One hundred two-minute calls may cost you between $1.65 and $2.09 per call, whereas 50 two-minute calls may cost you $1.57 to $1.95 per call. 

How Much Does a Medical Answering Service Cost Per Month?

The national average monthly cost of a medical answering service is $275 – $380.

If you hire a medical answering service to forward calls to a nurse or doctor when necessary, the call could last anywhere from two minutes to an hour. The call service must estimate this time and then bill your practice.

The company may charge you a fixed monthly rate, or for each call that they transfer. Also, you may hire operators to make appointments using your in-house scheduling system. If so, you’ll have to train the operators on how to use the system.

Some medical answering services may charge a one-time fee of $100 for this service. If you use a complex scheduling system, however, the service fee could reach as high as $125 per month.

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing to a Medical Answering Service

If you hire a medical answering service, you’ll benefit in several ways. For instance, you can significantly reduce the cost of answering patient calls. By hiring a call service, you’ll avoid the expenses associated with call center infrastructure, labor and other overhead. Together, the savings are significant.

You’ll no longer have to hire, train and staff phones. Also, you can give patients 24-hour access to your office for a fraction of what it will cost to hire staff members to answer phones overnight.

At the same time, you give up some control when hiring an answering service. You may find that some patients prefer speaking to staff members rather than answering service personnel.

The call center that you hire represents your office. When you partner with a medical answering service, you’re also relinquishing control over a part of your practice. Accordingly, you must trust call center managers to supervise operators appropriately.

Finally, call center operators aren’t as familiar with your office as your in-house staff. Additionally, the office culture of the answering service may prove completely different from the culture of your practice.

Does a Doctor Answering Service Save My Practice Money?

Bottom line, in most cases, a medical answering service will save you both time and money. If you operate a successful practice, you probably field a lot of calls. This task is a resource and time-consuming activity.

At times, your staff can become overwhelmed with phone calls. If this happens too often, you may have been considering hiring more staff to answer calls.

You can save money and resources by hiring an answering service to perform the same duties for a fraction of the cost. If you choose the right service, they can provide a superior patient experience and help your practice thrive.

Comparing Answering Service Providers

Now, you have a better understanding of medical answering service pricing. You can make an informed decision when choosing a provider.

Outsourcing work is not a new phenomenon for doctors’ offices. Already, many physicians outsource essential tasks such as medical transcription.

If you operate a medical practice, you must ensure that your office remains accessible. Patients feel more comfortable when they know that they can get in touch with their physician. By hiring an answering service, you can keep existing patients happy and attract new ones.

It’s vital to choose the right medical answering service to ensure that your office remains profitable. For more up-to-date info about answering service rates for your office, visit the call center service guide today.

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