8 Healthcare Call Center Best Practices for Improving Patient Experience
Working with a third-party medical call center to handle patient communications can be a cost-effective way for healthcare facilities to improve patient experiences and streamline operations while boosting patient acquisition and retention. However, the healthcare industry has its unique challenges and requirements, such as complex guidelines for compliance, high call volumes, and complicated workflow integration.
Because of these challenges, providers need to carefully select their call center service provider to ensure that it has the right personnel, security protocols, and infrastructure to deliver outstanding patient interactions.
Healthcare Call Center Best Practices
Healthcare providers should look for medical call centers that meet the unique needs and challenges of the industry. Here are just a few best practices to follow:
1. Employ HIPAA-Trained Agents
Third-party service providers that work with healthcare facilities must be compliant with the HIPAA guidelines, which regulate how patient data is collected, utilized, and protected. These regulations are complex, and agents working in healthcare call centers must receive the necessary training so they can follow security protocols when interacting with patients.
Healthcare providers should use call centers that are HIPAA compliant to ensure that sensitive patient information is protected so they can avoid incurring hefty penalties, jeopardizing insurance payments, or worse.
2. Follow HIPAA Security Protocols
HIPAA regulates how patient data should be stored and transmitted between agencies, providers, and patients to prevent security breaches and protect personal health information.
Some of these security protocols include encrypted conversations, protected files with automatic expiration dates, and clear emergency procedures that are triggered immediately when a security breach is detected.
3. Prioritize Compassion Communications
When patients contact healthcare providers, they may be in a distressed emotional state seeking guidance and reassurance. It's important that the call center trains its agents to treat callers with compassion.
Besides proper training, a call center should support their agents by balancing quantitative metrics such as call length and the number of calls processed with those that indicate the quality of the interactions, such as first call resolution, abandonment rates, and quality of patient engagement.
4. Provide Omnichannel Support
Patients should be able to get the help they need through their preferred channels of communication, such as email, phone, SMS, live chat, and social media.
A 360-degree patient profile updated in real-time and accessible to all agents in a centralized location is the key to delivering messaging that's consistent across all touchpoints. It also allows patients to switch platforms seamlessly even in the middle of a conversation.
5. Offer Multi-Lingual Support
Healthcare facilities serve a diverse demographic. They interact with patients of various ethnic backgrounds and language preferences.
To deliver meaningful experiences to all patients, a healthcare call center needs to have agents that can communicate in a variety of languages and are sensitive to cultural differences.
6. Enable Front Office Automation
A healthcare call center can help improve in-house productivity by alleviating the workload of front office staff. For example, by integrating the call center's CRM system with the practice management software, you'll be able to streamline administrative workflow and reduce errors so your staff can be freed up from tasks such as appointment setting, reminders, and rescheduling.
Such proactive patient interactions can help reduce miscommunications, minimize no-shows, and enable efficient follow-ups to improve the quality of care.
7. Track Patient Interactions and Analyze Key Metrics
Do you know what might have caused a patient to leave your practice after an interaction with your call center? Often times, you'll need to do some sleuthing because would share their complaints.
Besides monitoring call quality and ensuring that inquiries are routed to the right departments, medical call centers need to track relevant key performance metrics (KPIs) so they can improve training and streamline workflow to optimize the patient experience.
8. Improve Patient Retention by Responding to Patient Expectations
Since patient satisfaction is the key to maintaining sustainable growth through patient retention and referrals, a call center should proactively understand patients' expectations so they can improve their services to increase retention rates.
A call center can gather patient feedback through surveys and ensure optimal performance with reporting. It can also expand its capabilities by automating appointment reminders or verifications, providing bill or claim status, and offering information such as test results, prescription refills, and health benefits verification.
Using a call center service can help healthcare providers optimize patient experience, increase efficiency, and improve the quality of care. To further lighten your staff's workload, minimize errors, and streamline workflow, you can use call center best practices to integrate a call center's platform with your communication system to deliver a seamless patient experience while protecting your patients' information.
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