Improve Cost Containment Using Healthcare Call Centers
March 22, 2016
A huge concern among healthcare providers is cost containment. Aside from this being a responsible healthcare goal, especially for uninsured and under insured patients, it is also a central expectation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Common targets are generic versus name brand prescriptions versus over-the-counter solutions. Another prime area is eliminating unnecessary tests and procedures that produce few health benefits.
Often overlooked in all this is the critical role medical call centers can play in reducing healthcare expenses and containing costs. When appropriate, a phone call to a qualified medical practitioner is the most cost-effective means for treatment.
Here are four more key healthcare cost containment ideas:
1) Direct Patients to the Least Costly Treatment Option: When people decide to seek medical attention for a healthcare concern, they too often select the wrong treatment option. This might include heading off to the ER when an urgent care facility is the better choice or opting for urgent care when waiting for their general practitioner is recommended. Sometimes over-the-counter or home solutions are available, yet unknown to the patient. In each case, a healthcare call center, staffed by qualified nurses, can guide the patient to the ideal solution based on the cost of the treatment and severity of the situation.
Conversely some patients underestimate the seriousness of their situation and stay home when they should seek treatment. Again, qualified medical staff at a healthcare call center is an ideal and cost-effective resource to provide appropriate direction.
2) Encourage the Use of Primary Care Providers: It seems that symptoms often worsen in the evening and weekend, ruling out a visit to the patients’ general practitioner. Yet what if the patient could check their doctor’s availability at, say 2 a.m., and schedule an appointment for an open slot at 8:45 the next morning? Many people would do this, and with a healthcare call center they can, but without this option they just head to the ER.
3) Reduce Hospital Readmission Rates: The ACA seeks to minimize the length of hospital stays and also takes punitive action for readmissions. This is a difficult balance for hospitals to achieve, yet nurses at a medical call center can help recently discharged patients address concerns or changing situations, avoiding unneeded hospital readmissions. They can also offer appropriate advice, possibly saving patients from more costly complications.
4) Better Disease Management: Similar to overseeing recently discharged patients over the phone, a well-staffed healthcare call center can play a key role in disease management. They cannot only help contain treatment costs but can also often increase the overall level of care.
Healthcare call centers can also do other things to help hold healthcare costs down. All these efforts benefit everyone – patient, medical staff, and insurance provider – improving both individual patient care and aiding the overall system. When it comes to containing costs, look to your healthcare call center to lead the way.
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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