In any outpatient clinic, hospital, or medical center, for any CEO, it is important to ensure that all incoming calls are received as well as handled promptly and efficiently. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, medical centers have experienced a sharp increase in the number of calls. Hundreds and hundreds of more requests that need to be addressed. For patients, the phone has become the main means of communication with their physicians.
Modern healthcare call center software can help handle the influx of calls. With a well-constructed and well-integrated call center, the increased volume of calls can be handled in a quality manner. Such a solution can effectively distribute the load on the staff that receives and records appeals.
What Problems Does a Healthcare Call Center Solve?
Let’s look at some common problems that medical company executives often don’t even realize they have and how a healthcare contact center integration can help solve them. This applies equally to clinics, hospitals, medical centers, etc.
- After endless phone beeps we finally get an answer, but the staff member puts us on hold just after we hear “Hello”, so the phone does not ring and distract them and continues to deal with other issues or hangs it up altogether. Worst case scenario
- The patient gets through to the medical center, talks about a problem, and then is switched to a specialist, who is out of office at the moment. After some time, a patient has to dial the number again, and everything repeats all over again.
- The caller is redirected to an employee, to whom the patient states the problem. But the question turns out to be outside the competence of this specialist. Then the patient is switched for the second time, asked to explain the problem from the beginning, and so on.
- People call the medical center, but for various reasons they cannot wait long to be connected to a specialist and hang up.
All of the problems described are extremely unpleasant for the caller. This causes an increase in negative emotions and provokes conflict situations. In the case of a medical center, any delay can be fatal. Not to mention the fact that waiting half an hour for an answer at the other end of the line is just uncomfortable and unpleasant for a patient and adds additional costs of operation. A medical call center development, on the contrary, may help to solve most of these problems.
At the same time, shifting such administrative workload to nurses is putting an unsustainable financial burden on the organization and underutilizing resources. Moreover, a contact center will improve the loyalty of your patients, reduce associated costs and mitigate reputational risks.
The Value of Centralized Medical Contact Center
According to a 2019 Market Research Engine report, the global healthcare business process outsourcing (BPO) market will exceed $300 billion by 2022. Meanwhile, the main area of services outsourced is internal triage nurse call centers.
There is a reason for such an increase – this solution does help significantly reduce healthcare costs. After all, the cost of person-hours, the so-called labor cost, most often affects the cost. With the growing shortage of nurses, direct labor costs have skyrocketed.
That’s why outsourcing a call center makes a lot of sense from a financial standpoint. By partnering with an outsourced call center, you can eliminate productivity fluctuations and reduce problems that arise from the underutilization of direct labor. This means that, effectively, your business cuts down on its operational costs.
Here are at least five more ways to save money by using a well integrated omnichannel contact center for a medical organization.
An outsourced call center manager will do all the personnel management for you. Understanding the importance of the person’s qualifications, call centers only hire employees with proven experience right for your niche.
Equipment and space
A call center needs somewhere to be housed and provide the professionals with the equipment to work, don’t you agree? Buying it all yourself will be quite expensive – and the payback period will increase, not to mention additional rent and utilities. Outsourcing, on the other hand, reduces both the initial and ongoing costs of these parts.
The call center must not only perform its primary function. On top of that, it must also be integrated with the internal EHR (Electronic Health Records) system and provide the proper level of security. Often healthcare facilities do not have the necessary level of IT expertise to implement such projects independently. Instead, a reasonable solution is to either develop custom CRM or outsource integration of third party EHR systems (since usually all they provide is API). We previously covered the top 10 challenges of implementing an EHR.
And if you are wondering how to find a reliable integration partner for your business you can read our guide to hiring a software development company.
Scalability and flexibility
By using an outsourced call center, you simultaneously reduce staffing costs and make them more flexible. As call volumes rise and fall, the call center can adjust nurses’ workloads, allowing them to work more efficiently and reduce call costs.
Hiring & legal costs
Every founder and CEO knows that an employee’s salary is only a small part of the cost of hiring an employee. Employee costs also include training, attrition, tax, and replacement staff, along with any renewable certifications and licensing fees, as required when maintaining a team of registered nurses.
At the same time, outsourced call centers have an established employment infrastructure and algorithm to match staffing to client requirements. Staffing costs are shared across the entire call center client base, allowing all medical centers to access top-notch care without incurring additional human resource costs.
Why Choose Omni-Channel Contact Center?
Moving to an omnichannel service model is the way to attract and retain customers. In different situations, people may be comfortable with different patient engagement models, and it’s great when you can solve your problem in any of them.
Omni-channel saves time and nerves; there is no need to explain the matter several times. An operator conversing with a client sees the chronology of his requests through all channels. Ultimately, providing a convenient service leads to an increase in company revenues.
Thisl approach implies that we can process different patient engagement channels, but there are separate tools for each channel and, more often than not, separate people. If in handling a request, it becomes necessary to change the channel, the operator has to record the request and open another application to continue working, or even transfer the request to another group that works with the desired channel – this is very inconvenient and leads to human error.
The omnichannel system has the possibility to switch between different points of contact while maintaining data integrity and call records from one operator to another. A client can start a dialog in chat, then switch to voice communication, and all this will be part of a single interaction, even if different operators were talking to the client. The omnichannel contact center would retain the client’s history of communication, even if it occurred through multiple channels. However, we have to stress this point again, in order to avoid duplication or loss of customer data, it must be integrated with the EHR.
By the way, EHR integration can further enhance your business if you are using (or planning on) healthcare IT apps.
How It Works
The work of the omnichannel contact center can be divided into three groups. The first involves voice interaction: telephone, call via messenger, mobile application, a call from the site, and other voice communication options. So you should be aware that if you want to organize an omnichannel service, your platform must handle voice calls in the first place.
The second method of communication is discrete text, which does not require an immediate response. These are e-mail messages, text messages, and forms on websites.
The third group is various chats and messengers. It is a dialogue, a continuous channel that requires a quick response to appeals by its nature. The share of appeals through this channel is already quite large and increases every year.
ROI of Healthcare Contact Center System
Both Medical and health insurance call centers with an omnichannel approach have a high potential for optimal return on investment (ROI). On average, their estimated ROI ratio is 3:1. This is due to call centers’ proven ability to increase brand (health center or hospital) loyalty.
Of course, any financial data should be calculated individually for a specific type of business. However, some statistics can be of use when deciding to use an omnichannel contact center or not.
Let’s take a closer look at this subject. For example, a four-year study of 25 hospitals and 807,000 call center subscribers linked patient activity to clinical transaction data. Solucient, which conducted the study, concluded that “inbound calls generate an ROI of at least 3 to 1 and are a significant factor in hospital revenue, profitability, and patient loyalty.” The study’s findings included the following:
- The percentage of repeat calls is 60%.
- 20% of all hospital customers use the call center.
- Those who call the hospital regularly use more services.
- The retention rate for callers over three years is 70%, compared to 46% for non-callers.
- Previous callers responded to marketing campaigns at twice the rate of non-callers.
As we said above, patient loyalty can be transformed into regular revenue for a center or hospital. Therefore, building customer loyalty should be the main goal of the call center.
The return on investment for a contact center depends on the maximum utilization of the operators’ working hours. Nevertheless, if you run a large clinic with more than 100 calls per day, we are sure that an omnichannel contact center’s services will be useful to you. And be sure that your expenses will soon be repaid and will enhance patient experience.
26 March 2021