Reducing your medical center's average handle times is challenging as you scale. Learn how to improve average handle time and calculate your AHT.
Your Guide to Radiology Call Centers (And How They Can Help)
Why should you invest in a radiology call center? The top reason is to help with appointment scheduling. Read how this impacts patient satisfaction.
What’s the number one driving force behind getting new patients? Outside of insurance providers, it’s word of mouth. In fact, a study by the Technical Assistant Research Programs (TARPs) revealed that, if you make one customer happy, that information reaches three others. However, on the flip side, if you alienate or leave a customer dissatisfied, that information reaches ten people or more.
Knowing this, it’s critical to set up a helpful environment for your imaging center before your patients enter your doors. One of the best ways to positively impact patient satisfaction is to work with a radiology-focused call center.
Before we get into the benefits of working with a radiology call center, it’s important to note that a specialized call center (such as healthcare) often works as a knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) call center. In other words, you gain a partner who will help optimize your business operations, not just someone to answer your phone.
Because of the level of expertise, skill, and efficiency, radiology call centers like CCD Health offer an outstanding customer experience that goes a long way toward improving your patient’s satisfaction.
Here are four main ways a radiology-specific call center will improve satisfaction and help impact your bottom line.
1. Patient scheduling
In healthcare, phone scheduling is still a predominant medium for patients to schedule their appointments. There’s a greater level of personalization, and it allows people to express any concerns with staff and quickly get an appointment on the books.
And yet, it’s not always easy to stay on top of phone calls. Staff call in sick, appointments go over time, and the patient load inevitably fluctuates. When this happens, it’s easy to let phone calls run to voicemail. After all, you have a long list of things to keep your office running, and phone calls are the easy ones to drop first.
However, the speed and quality of your team’s response play a big part in the patient experience. You cannot let the day-to-day tasks get in the way of answering calls and helping patients on the phone.
This is where a call center works to your advantage. By working with a partner like CCD Health, you can trust that the patient care specialists are answering calls, creating an optimal schedule, and reducing waiting times. You can also set up KPIs with the radiology call center to ensure your goals, such as first call resolution or average handling time, are being met.
The knowledge, expertise, and friendly customer service the team brings to every phone interaction will help set up your patients for a pleasant visit before they come for their appointment. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about hiring more staff during busy times or letting anyone go during a lull. Call centers allow you the flexibility to scale up or down, depending on demand.
2. Patient follow-ups
Contacting your patients before and after their appointment is critical to high levels of patient satisfaction. It allows you to proactively answer questions, address concerns, and identify misunderstandings.
A good complaint handling system plays a key role in patient satisfaction because it catches areas of dissatisfaction early. Follow-ups give patients an opportunity to express their opinions and offer feedback on your quality of care.
The American College of Radiology (ACR) provides an interesting case study in which a simple early feedback and response system allowed patients to give their feedback, ask questions, and receive answers. The system eventually allowed the department to receive "excellent" ratings from 90% of patients, and no-show rates virtually disappeared.
While great in theory, following up with your patients isn’t always feasible, especially if you do not have the staffing to do so. However, a radiology call center can pick up these duties. The follow-ups will help build trust between your center and your patients, which in turn will increase patient satisfaction.
It will also give you a clearer picture of how your patients are doing. As a plus, happy patients are more likely to recommend you to their friends and family. You might even get a boost through word-of-mouth marketing. The impact of a simple follow-up call is widespread and is not something you should miss out on.
3. Scheduling optimization
Data shows that 6.5% of patients are likely to be no-shows. But one of the best ways to streamline your schedules is to work with a call center partner that integrates with your Radiology Information System (RIS). This will eliminate manual scheduling and vastly reduce your staff's workload. The radiology call center will help optimize by streamlining your processes, allowing fast, accurate, and smart scheduling in a one-call conversation lasting as few as two minutes.
Scheduling optimization goes even further than that. Machine learning can help you make the patient experience more satisfactory. A more important effect of optimized scheduling is minimizing no-shows. No-show visits result in financial loss and delay patient care.
A multi-year study evaluating over 2.9 million appointments investigated the causes and correlations between these no-shows. Among other results, the researchers discovered that long lead times, modality, patient age, appointment time, and day of the week all affected no-shows.
Your call center partner will not only help with appointment reminders and smart scheduling but help you evaluate all of these factors for each patient to optimize appointments and reduce no-shows.
4. Answer calls quickly
For patients, the complex dynamics that affect the behind-the-scenes operations at your imaging center don’t matter; they expect quick and efficient service, regardless of the circumstances. These expectations include low wait times—typically less than a minute—and fast resolution.
One of the best ways to ensure your calls are answered quickly is to partner with a radiology call center. They’ll be able to keep track of metrics that impact patient satisfaction, including:
- Total number of calls received and handled
- Connection and conversation times
- Number of appointments scheduled
- Average call duration
- Conversation time as a percentage of connection time or working time
- Number of appointments per hour
If your call center partner excels at business intelligence, you’ll be able to take these metrics and assess what is working and where there is room for improvement.
By minimizing or eliminating dropped or missed calls, you can greatly improve your bottom line. Not only does it lead to more patients through your doors, but it creates a positive reputation and an effective referral loop. It also reduces inefficiencies such as resource underutilization, thus maximizing profits for your imaging center.
For the patients, low waiting times and first-call resolution provide a good first impression and sets the stage for a positive interaction during the actual appointment.
Making a positive impact with a radiology-specific call center
Partnering with a call center will free your staff and allow them to focus on more important tasks. CCD Health is the leading medical call center for outpatient healthcare providers, offering exceptional patient and customer experiences to some of the top radiology and imaging centers in the United States.
Our team of patient care specialists works as an extension of your practice, and we provide expertise as a KPO, working to improve patient satisfaction.
Get in touch with our team for more on how we can help you achieve better patient satisfaction, improve profits, and optimize your patient scheduling.