Throughout the past several weeks, we’ve shared a series of blogs as a preface to the publication of our new white paper, Outsourced Medical Call Centers: Defining Success and Selecting the Best Partner. So far, we’ve explored various important subjects, including:
This time, we want to touch on some points the white paper makes about how to choose the best medical call center (for which some also use the terms healthcare call center, hospital call center and healthcare contact center).
Similar to how there is often no one-size-fits-all for how hospitals provide treatment for patients, there is no universal solution for a how a hospital can use or select a medical call center. This becomes all the more valid when evaluating the pros and cons of in-house vs. outsourced medical call centers, whether for part- or full-time service.
For example, when a hospital has a new patient with an uncertain medical condition, it will generally conduct a thorough examination to identify symptoms (problems) so that the proper treatment (solutions) can be prescribed. This is an excellent analogy for hospitals that are evaluating its healthcare call center needs and/or are exploring outsourced medical call center partners.
The process for selecting the best outsourced medical call center is not unlike partnering with most other vendors; it requires analysis of several considerations to determine goals and optimize priorities.
Define Your “Value” Beyond “Cost”
For virtually all hospitals, the cost for an outsourced medical call center service will be the key factor in their decisions. Therefore, having a budget may expedite the process for potential vendors to quickly gauge how well they can satisfy a hospital’s medical call center objectives.
However, efforts to define value beyond cost and budgets should not be taken lightly, as they not only help shape a hospital’s goals and expectations for its hospital contact center, but they also provide a framework for examining the quality of its potential vendor relationship. The following is a comprehensive series of crucial considerations.
• How thoroughly does the vendor describe its service’s capabilities and customer service?
• How well regarded is the vendor? Can it provide testimonials, third-party reviews, awards, etc.?
• How reliable is the vendor? Does it have a history of proven innovation and experience?
• How well does the vendor support its customers? What are its onboarding procedures?
Customization and Scalability
• Does the vendor’s service meet the hospital’s specific needs and objectives?
• Can the service be customized to meet current needs and objectives?
• Can the service be reduced or expanded to meet future needs and objectives?
HIPAA Compliance and Confidentiality
• Can the service demonstrate HIPAA compliance and patient confidentiality across all channels, including e-mail or text messages?
• Are its networks and data storage systems secure?
Analytics and Metrics
• Does the vendor provide analytics and metrics reports—and do they meet the hospital’s needs?
• Can the vendor demonstrate how it tracks accuracy and abandonment rates?
Identify Your Decision-makers and Delegate Responsibilities
Hospitals typically require buy-in from various departments and committees when choosing new vendors and suppliers, and an outsourced medical call center is no exception. Likewise, it is important to know which departments and staff will ensure success after a vendor is selected and the medical call center is activated.
Stakeholder and Decision-makers
• What departments or staff members should be consulted when determining needs and objectives for the medical call center?
• What departments or staff members will need to approve decisions to request proposals or finalize an agreement?
• Immediately after an outsourced medical call center is selected and a service is activated, what departments or staff members will need to be onboarded?
Detail Your Patient Demographics
Having a firm grasp on a hospital’s patient demographics may help it identify which potential outsourced medical call center partners can best serve its patients.
• Medical/Treatment Specialties: Will the medical call center handle general calls or will it work with specific departments, specialties or centers of excellence?
• Geography: What local, state or regional areas does the hospital serve?
• Multiculturalism: Are there significant numbers of patients whose first languages are not English?
• What percentage speak languages other than English?
Plan for Timing
Although more logistic matters should be addressed during onboarding after an outsourced medical call center is selected, it may be advantageous to be clear about logistical expectations prior to seeking potential partners.
• When would you expect to use your medical call center service?
• When would you want to launch your medical call center service?
Hopefully this blog series has given a better understanding of medical call centers, and we will continue to publish more blogs that provide our unique perspective on this invaluable service!
Sequence Health is a cloud-based technology and services company that improves profitability and patient outcomes for hospitals and practices through end-to-end patient engagement solutions backed by clinical and non-clinical teams. Its HIPAA-compliant, SaaS platform improves care team workflows, automates patient communication and tracks patient progress to optimize the patient journey. Since 2004, leading healthcare providers have trusted Sequence Health to help acquire, manage and engage patients through complex episodes of care.