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The benefits of a healthcare call center
Learn the benefits of a healthcare call center and how outsourcing positively affects appointment scheduling, record retrieval, and more.
Medical centers invest millions of dollars in modern facilities, equipment, supplies, and staff every year. As healthcare systems take steps to boost the quality and outcomes of their care, improving patient satisfaction and patient experience require a different, unique approach.
Outpatient healthcare centers need a team of patient support staff to handle appointment scheduling and rescheduling, patient queries, appointment follow-ups, insurance verification, and more to boost patient relationships.
Representatives in a call center can prioritize information on issues like patients with prescription requests or emergencies. Ultimately, a healthcare call center reduces patients' grievances and boosts productivity in medical centers.
But before we get any further, let’s explore some of the key benefits a healthcare call center offers for medical systems and centers looking to scale their programs.
Why turn to a healthcare call center?
Outsourcing to a healthcare call center gives medical providers a team dedicated to manage their inbound and outbound patient communications needed to maintain smooth operations at medical systems.
Patient call centers can support all kinds of medical providers, from outpatient imaging and radiology modalities to pediatrics and obstetricians. With each unique vertical of medical care, there are differences in demand, support and follow-up that can make hiring and training an in-house team costly, time-consuming, and ineffective for the big picture.
Additionally, outsourcing to a medical call center can ease the burden placed on many medical center front desk staff by managing all incoming patient calls from patients. Unlike the traditional setting where a hospital has to employ a dedicated officer to patient scheduling and care, an outsourced service provider uses their in-house agents to provide a more convenient and impactful patient care solution with round-the-clock service, all at a fraction of the cost.
Below are some of the benefits medical providers can gain from using the services of a healthcare call center.
1. Lowered Overhead Costs
Staff costs contribute a considerable portion to the total expenses in a business. Besides salaries, companies provide onboarding and continuing education, medical benefits, office space, and other perks environments for their workforce. On the other hand, outsourcing reduces the overhead costs like office expenses, lighting, and heating costs associated with in-house staff.
There are two additional ways outsourcing your patient scheduling to a call center can lower your operating costs:
- Infrastructure: Managing calls internally requires an elaborate internal network and equipment to handle constant inbound and outbound calls. Outsourcing to call centers minimizes strain on existing infrastructure, resulting in savings.
- Utility Bills and Maintenance: Outsourcing to healthcare call centers reduces phone bills and regular maintenance associated with an in-house call center.
2. Improved Patient Engagement and Satisfaction
You cannot guarantee high-quality patient service by simply providing open communication lines. Rather, increased patient satisfaction is a product of a personal touch and quality feedback to make your patients feel validated and comforted. The management team at healthcare call centers equip their staff with personalized customer relations skills, a knowledge base specific to your practice, and the right technology to guarantee top-level service from its agents.
Healthcare call centers monitor both positive and negative key performance indicators (KPIs) like:
- Average speed to answer (ASA)
- Average handle time (AHT)
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Missed or declined calls
Using these metrics, agents and their managers can pinpoint challenging areas and work to improve the service, better train staff, and perform quality assurance on behalf of your medical center. In addition, the professionalism and personalities of healthcare call center agents often boost patient interactions, another essential part of collecting impactful feedback.
3. Enhanced Workforce and Project Management
Medical centers know too well that demand fluctuates according to unique medical offerings, current events (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), and other interpersonal and external circumstances. This poses challenges around scaling your workforce and promoting the efficiency of your in-house staff.
Communication is an essential ingredient in the provision of quality healthcare. To improve your workforce utilization and better manage resources, medical offices should direct patients' calls to doctors, insurance officers, and management in a coordinated and scalable approach.
Well-coordinated patient communication can be achieved by using healthcare call centers that minimize the need to put patients on hold. On the other hand, a call center can assist in the achievement of organizational projects like transforming the customer experience.
4. Streamlined Insurance Verification
A fraction of your patients' calls relates to medical insurance inquiries like insurance payments, changes in legislation, the scope of the insurance cover, and so on. Healthcare call centers have access to insurance portals to help them verify insurance covers and answer related queries in a succinct, yet personable way.
When a patient has an insurance-related call, it’s often frustrating for them when they don’t get a straightforward response to their questions. Representatives in your healthcare call center can provide comprehensive solutions on insurance matters, boosting confidence and trust with patients at your health centers.
5. Reduced Patients No-show Rate
Every year, the healthcare industry loses billions of dollars to the direct and indirect cost of patient no-shows. The role of a call center is diverse and includes enhanced patient management at scale.
During a conversation between a patient and a representative, a need may arise to book a doctor's appointment. However, without proper follow-up, a patient may show up on the wrong date, forget about their appointment entirely, missing the doctor’s availability. This not only leads to decreased revenue for medical centers but also to underutilized staff, equipment and space.
To combat this, a healthcare call center keeps a record of all patients' interactions and appointments to ensure that each patient is reminded and confirms their upcoming appointment. Your care agents can send manual or automated reminders, such as appointment notifications, to healthcare recipients to help lower your patient no-show rates and improve overall operations.
6. Increased Brand Awareness and Referrals
Call centers minimize patient complaints by addressing each patient’s concerns with utmost care. As a result, patients share their positive experiences at your healthcare center with the public, increasing your brand reach and awareness.
Patients who experience negative or dissatisfactory care at your healthcare center are more likely to vocalize their complaints within their social groups and online. Because of this, it’s critical that you provide accessible, personalized care to patients from the very beginning. Ultimately, a patient who has encountered first-class services from your medical center freely refers other people to your facility. This helps grow your current medical practice and patient base without any direct effort on your end.
7. Increased Return on Investment (ROI)
Brand loyalty and returning patients are often attributed to the level of service quality they perceive. When a medical facility invests in modern facilities, they’re striving to maximize returns and offer world-class services.
Good customer service ensures your patients return when in need of assistance, resulting in the proper utilization of available resources. As such, revenue in medical facilities increases, which results in a high ROI.
8. Better Patient Care
Your patients dial phone numbers to contact the hospital in emergencies, for clarification, to schedule or reschedule appointments, and beyond. A dedicated team of agents for your healthcare center allows you to provide the right (calm) environment to handle distressed patients.
Representatives in call centers are trained to display empathy and care towards patients, and they’re constantly being monitored by their managers to ensure quality. This level of expertise helps to provide sound and knowledgeable advice, exactly when it’s needed. That said, healthcare call centers improve the level of care to patients using prompt interventions when need be.
9. Scalable and Flexible to Demand
An in-house phone operator must always be present during low and high-volume seasons. High-demand seasons overwhelm your staff due to multiple questions and patient needs and often require reinforcement from other staff.
Yet when demand falls, management must often lay off employees, impacting staff morale and contributing to insecurity at work. A healthcare call center, on the other hand, is flexible and scalable to patient demand and call volumes.
They can enhance your current support if need be, and you can easily reduce your workforce size in the slower seasons to handle spikes in demand and call volume. Staying flexible and lean is an essential part of long-term business continuity, and can provide better peace of mind for both management and your in-house teams alike.
10. Optimized Scheduling and Follow-up Processes
Creating a doctor's schedule involves slotting all patients who have booked appointments in a strategic, efficient manner. Yet without automation, patient scheduling and follow-ups can be chaotic (and sometimes dropped entirely). This will certainly be felt by your patients and can contribute to increased patient no-show rates.
Representatives in healthcare call centers provide a record of all incoming and outbound calls, appointments, follow-ups, and emergency interventions. These records are a master source that can help your medical center streamline processes such as dispatching emergency vehicles and allocating specialist doctors.
11. Business Intelligence and Analytics
Some healthcare call centers can provide analytical insight and business intelligence critical to improving your overall patient scheduling operations.
At CCD Health, our clients can take advantage of strategic scheduling optimization, such as pinpointing patients more likely to miss their scheduled appointments to schedule other appointments during those times in the case of a patient no-show. Just like airlines over-sell seats for flights, your historical data can drastically improve your long-term processes and operations.
Let Us Help You Transform Your Out-Patient Facility
Out-patient medical centers receive hundreds of calls from patients seeking appointments, general inquiries, and insurance-related calls. Healthcare call centers have improved patient care by minimizing complaints, streamlining appointments, and optimizing resources.
Learn about how you can improve patient scheduling and lower no-show rates with CCD Health’s business intelligence department with our research report.