Expand Patient Access Using Healthcare Call Centers
April 4, 2016
A buzzword in the healthcare industry is patient access. Increasing patient access provides more care options to patients and improves their level of care. As a side benefit a healthcare system keeps more patients in their network of care, improves provider and equipment utilization, and boosts the bottom line.
Tapping a healthcare call center, especially through outsourcing, is the most cost-effective and easiest way to expand patient access. Here are five examples:
1. Direct Patients to Proper Care: When patients contact your call center, you have an optimum opportunity to direct them to the appropriate type of treatment based on their symptoms. Sometimes this is the ER, but other times it is an urgent care facility or their regular doctor. Often a patient needs guidance in homecare remedies or over-the-counter medicines. Sometimes a caller merely needs reassurance. Regardless of how you help a caller, they will remember you and call you – not someone else – next time they have a healthcare concern.
2. Set Appointments: Most people find it a hassle to call their doctor during office hours to make an appointment. They get busy at work or forget. Inevitably it’s not until the office is closed that they remember. A call center, with integrated scheduling software, can take appointments 24/7. Not only does this better serve patients and help fill holes in provider schedules, it can also keep people from using more costly options if they know at 5:00 a.m. that their doctor has an opening to see them at 8:45 in the morning.
3. Provider Referral Service: Finding a doctor when a person is new to the area is frustrating. Connecting with a specialist who doesn’t have weeks-long waiting lists can be a challenge. One phone call to a healthcare call center can streamline this. With a couple of keystrokes a call center agent can list doctors near callers’ homes who take their insurance and meet other criteria. Once callers make their selection, the call center can even set an appointment for them.
4. Effective Patient Follow-up: A follow up call after a hospital stay, procedure, or test from a healthcare call center can answer patient questions (we all think of things to ask after we leave), check to see if symptoms have changed, and review prescription doses and frequencies. Call center nurses can also offer assurances when needed or advise additional care, such as home remedies, over-the-counter medicine, schedule a follow-up visit, or recommend immediate care. One phone call can accomplish a great deal.
5. Appointment Confirmation: A missed appointment results in idle staff or technology. Reminding patients of upcoming appointments decreases no-show rates and increases billing. A simple phone call, text, or email is all it takes.
When you hire an outsource healthcare call center to better serve patients you improve patient access and increase billing; everyone wins.
Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center industry and who provides a healthcare call center matchmaking service. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-901-7706.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.
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