How Call Centers Enhance Patient Management
Even though there isn't a single reason why two-thirds of every hospital in the United States makes use of a medical call center (either in-house or outsourced), it's arguable that their demand is linked with the many benefits—yielding better patient experiences and excellent advantages for hospitals.
According to research from a white-paper entitled, "Outsourced Medical Call Centers: Defining Success and Selecting the Best Partner", it's been proven that healthcare call centers enhance:
• Savings to Organizations
• Department Satisfaction
• Caller Satisfaction
The healthcare field is experiencing revolutionary transformations. Reimbursements have been drying up, so healthcare facilities are merging. Patients have also increasingly been fostering a consumer-aligned attitude and expecting—sometimes demanding—higher-quality healthcare experiences.
Healthcare facilities’ historically volume-based procedure for doing business is developing into value-based approaches—where preventive care and patient wellness are given more attention overall. Business success in this climate relies on healthier patients, who share high patient satisfaction rates—in order to generate more potential reimbursement income.
To flourish in this new climate, facilities must improve both operationally and clinically, so they can boost their return on investment (ROI).
Call Centers Help with Patient Management
The proliferation of alternative payment types (e.g., bundled payments, value-based care) means that hospitals have to continue to prioritize patient follow-ups to secure satisfactory outcomes. Clinical call centers that provide outbound calls are ideally positioned to advance follow-up objectives—especially because this has the highest success rate.
The Patient Communication Question
In clinical matters, this means recognizing and utilizing treatments that provide effective outcomes—which is determined largely by future patient demographics. Providers will have to allocate resources to maintain different parts of patient populations effectively.
A strong link between operational and clinical processes exists. Boosting operational efficiency would mean figuring out which processes would be better to outsource—in many cases. An operational area that's normally recognized as potentially profiting from outsourcing is patient communications.
Many thriving healthcare facilities—from modest group practices to multi-hospital operations—are teaming up with call centers to improve administrative efficiencies in the new healthcare climate. This lets them do more with less and concentrate on administering high-quality patient services.
Taking patient calls around the clock can be a substantial difficulty for hospitals, practices and health networks. The major healthcare organizations of today usually don't—or can't—field in-house calls due to the unacceptable ROI—even though patient management has been shown to be more efficient.
Staff members who field patient calls also handle a broad variety of other administrative and clinical tasks, especially with smaller practices, so taking calls brings their attention away from offering high-quality patient services.
Patients usually become frustrated if gaps arise in their care process. If a provider doesn't set an appointment during the first call, the patient might back off from the regimen—losing the provider an opportunity for revenue.
A call center with advanced technology with adequate staff resources, on the other hand, would be able to convert a prospective patient call into a set appointment—and new patients into normal patients. Robust call centers could also recommend different provider options, schedule the appointment, notify the patient of appointments and see how the appointment went to collect feedback.
High-performing call centers can measure and capture call data against organizational goals as well, an advantage that can encourage ongoing communication revisions. With this approach, patients are managed and engaged during the entire care continuum—from arranging appointments and follow-ups to retention and education. The right call center partner will enhance patients' satisfaction and access to care by communicating openly with patients at every point of contact.
Call Centers: Client Success Stories
A lot of healthcare facilities have seen drastic improvements to their bottom line by using the right call center partner. For instance:
• One health system based in Chicago looking to reduce costs and streamline operations recently merged its after-hours call takers, having worked with many vendors in the past. The ensuing savings were over $1 million.
• A West Coast academic medical facility with seven outpatient centers and two hospitals has a call center partner to take care of the appointment-scheduling needs for its radiology unit. The decision gave them a call abandonment rate reduction of over 10% to lower than 4%, which recovered more than $7 million in yearly profits and savings of over $700,000/month in administrative fees because of fewer staff-answered calls.
ROI from hiring a call center system isn't just measured in dollars and cents. Robust call centers that are hired for outsourced patient communications also afford:
• The availability of information for insights into fundamental business drivers such as the effectiveness of regional marketing campaigns to generate profit through classes and different public events, production levels of service lines and enhanced rates of patient acquisition from precautionary medical services.
• Greater Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) grades, which can bring in more patients and greater reimbursement.
• Higher ROI through higher quality patient care
• Exceptional call service providers enhance the patient experience, streamline operational efficiencies, positively strengthen brand image and raise patient retention.
This can benefit healthcare organizations of every type and size in going further with less, enabling them to continue focusing on providing the highest quality of patient care.
Healthcare companies will want to use a call center for their organization, contact us today to find out more about ways to help increase patient satisfaction and optimize your management systems.