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Call Centers Can Improve Patient Experience At The First Critical Point Of Contact

The overall patient experience has become increasingly important over recent years, with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services even setting quality performance standards that all participants must meet. Organizations must focus on areas such as appointment setting and effective communication, all while keeping in mind their financial responsibility to optimize revenue and cut operating costs.

Medical call center services are helping health care systems address all these objectives.

Each call that a provider or hospital receives should be considered as a lead, because the outcome can affect whether an existing patient decides to continue a relationship, or if a prospective patient decides to make an appointment.

Patients are expecting the interaction to be personal, nurturing, and most importantly, effective at addressing their chief concern. A negative experience can alter the course of every decision that the patient makes thereafter, which is why effective patient communication by all members of the healthcare organization is crucial. 

When done correctly, the benefits in outsourcing trained professionals to handle incoming calls include improving patient experience and adherence to appointments, as well as increasing provider and organizational ratings.  

Bill Moschella, CEO of healthcare CRM software Evariant, sat down in an interview with Becker's Hospital Review to give advice on how hospitals can improve patient relationships, and how outsourcing can benefit their long-term goals.

When asked to further elaborate on why hospitals choose to outsource call-centers, Moschella had the following to say:

The provider market loves managed services because they typically don't have in-house infrastructure to manage it. They can rely on somebody else to tell them, ‘This is the right way to do things.’ There's a need for that. There's a benefit to going with an organization that services multiple organizations and has a lot of expertise. They run call centers for a business. It's about putting the focus on what hospitals and health systems do best, which is care, and letting a third-party run managed IT services.

Moschella continued:

In contrast, when hospitals and health systems take call centers in-house and set up the operations appropriately, their opportunity for a better customer experience is closely related to the fact they have regional service centers and maybe nurses on the phone who are familiar with the physicians they're servicing, so maybe there's more of a personal touch. As hospitals and health systems evolve to the needs of the patient and patients in their market and adopt those clinical systems and manage clinical flow, they're dealing with data and systems and processes they have direct influence over. So if they decide they're going to change something, they don't have to pay consulting dollars and then go bring people in to run new protocol and processes. 

Though outsourcing can provide an organization with clear direction on what strategy and processes to implement, in the end it comes down to the individual requirements of the healthcare system. As no two hospitals are the same, having a more personal internal call-center with a dedicated staff may better address the needs of one organization, while outsourcing to a larger firm to handle higher volumes of calls may be better for others.

Aptly named, Enclothed Cognition is the official Medelita blog for medical professionals interested in topics relevant to a discerning and inquisitive audience. Medelita was founded by a licensed clinician who felt strongly about the connection between focus, poise and appearance.

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