Healthcare call centers have been used for decades by practices in order to save on staffing costs and improve efficiency. Unfortunately, hospital call centers haven’t always been the best at handling patient needs. A healthcare management consulting firm found that when 20 hospital call centers were called, 90% of them were completely unhelpful.
These call centers serve an important purpose, as they help triage calls to the right department or provider and can also help with insurance verification, billing, and collections. But should hospital call center investment be cut, or is there a better way to use them? Let’s find out.
Improving Patient Experience with Call Centers
Train your call centers to be compassionate with callers.
Some healthcare call centers may insist that their staff needs minimal training, however in order to get the results you want, you’ll need to use your understanding of your patients to help them serve your patients right.
When patients call about a medical matter, they’re in a vulnerable position and need to be treated with basic human dignity and compassion. Call centers aren’t exactly known for this, and although the reasons for this are complex, staff can be trained to provide a compassionate experience for patients who call your phone.
In your call center training, whether you use a manual or not, you need to make sure that callers are treated with respect and compassion. Otherwise, you risk ruining the chance of getting a patient before they’ve even set foot in your hospital or practice.
Simplify and unify your processes.
This seems more like a technical or business consideration, but overly complex processes can bleed into the patient experience and cause serious problems down the line. If you’re using multiple call centers to handle the load, then you want to make sure that all software suites used are compatible with each other and that a patient’s data can be accessed the same way no matter which call center they were directed to.
Several healthcare companies have formed as a result of mergers and acquisitions, and this can cause unneeded complexity that would otherwise not exist. Making sure that all processes are streamlined throughout the organization will make the patient’s experience much smoother as it can cut down on wait times and reduce the risk of errors.
Invest in multi-channel communications.
Although the call center is still the backbone of patient-hospital communications, it doesn’t mean that patients are always able to call. A Harris Poll found that 64% of consumers would choose texting instead of voice for customer service.
By investing in multi-channel communications, you’re able to connect with patients in the way that they prefer. You also give them the ability to connect with you any time they want. Use a call center that is willing and able to connect with patients through multiple channels.
Sequence Health provides multi-channel patient engagement solutions such as transitional care management turnkey services, medical patient portals, and healthcare call center services in order to improve both patient experience and your bottom line.