Organizing the Perfect Medical Contact Center

Healthcare

Four people at computers with headsets, acting as a medical contact center for a clinic.

Contact centers, or call centers, are departments, teams, or offices that take incoming phone calls and other types of messages from customers looking for solutions and answers to their questions. Medical contact centers, in particular, typically deal with helping people make medical appointments or connecting them with medical professionals. Contact centers in this day and age use much more than just phones, however, and also provide services through text messages, emails, video chat, social media, and more.  

Related: Highlighting “Care” In Customer Care

Why Set Up a Contact Center

Medical facilities need to set up contact centers and other healthcare management solutions to help ensure that their patients and prospective patients are being taken care of in a timely and effective manner when they call or message for help or to make appointments. Contact centers ensure that this work will not entirely fall into the already full hands of business receptionists, which also helps ensure that patients have their questions answered and problems addressed without issue. This practice can help protect, if not outright boost, the business’s reputation. No one likes waiting on hold for an hour in a call queue or having to keep checking their emails for two days for a response, after all. 

What Contact Centers Do

Medical contact centers provide a range of services that focus on the core responsibility of helping and directing patients in need of healthcare services. They also tend to offer a wide range of benefits to patients through computerized answering services and response systems.

Flexible Care

Once medical contact centers establish an optimal call and response flow to help their patients, they can develop a flexible range of agents dedicated to handling specific issues across different lines of communication, including Zoom calls, emails, text messages, and more. This practice allows patients to be moved from one agent to another without encountering long wait times, circle calling, or frustrating rounds of phone tag. It also ensures that patients have a wide range of options when it comes to getting in contact with medical professionals and making appointments.

24/7 Service

Many medical contact centers offer 24/7 service to their customers to help mitigate potential risks to people’s lives and safety. Even if a call,email, or other form of message isn’t an emergency (and most of them aren’t), it will still need to be addressed quickly to avoid losing customers to long waiting periods and frustration. Having an effective, 24/7 contact center service for medical facilities is critical as a result.

Do you own, operate, or manage a hospital, clinic, or other medical practice that’s in dire need of some effective Healthcare Information Management services? Consider reaching out to the experts at Visaya today to learn about everything they can do for you and your business.

Best Practices for Organizing the Perfect Medical Contact Center

Four medical contact center employees with headsets smiling at the camera.

Setting up a thriving medical contact center requires the consideration of several critical factors. The following are some essential components that medical facilities will need to keep in mind as they begin establishing these contact centers for the service of their patients.

Choose Your Site 

Healthcare facilities will need to choose whether to set up a local, onsight contact center or an off-site contact center. Both provide a range of distinct benefits and drawbacks that must be carefully considered as they begin to develop their contact center.

Equipment

No matter how large a medical contact center is or how many agents it employs to handle calls, each one will need to be provided with the appropriate equipment to do their job effectively. This includes ergonomic desks and chairs, phones, quality headsets, and fast enough computers to prevent excessive loading times.

Hire the Best Staff

To perform successfully, medical contact centers need to ensure that they are finding and hiring the best possible employees for the job and training them to work effectively. Contact centers need to actively look for employees who have a knack for customer service and will treat patients with respect, patience, and care. However, many of the characteristics of good medical contact center employees can’t be taught, so medical facilities need to screen for the best employees carefully.

Provide Thorough Onboarding

Onboarding, or organizational socialization, must be used to effectively train new hires and instill them with habits that adhere to the business’s high standards of performance. Employees should be specifically trained on how to manage patient complaints calmly and respectfully to help solve issues and please patients. 

Consider Separating Staff by Expertise

An effective practice for medical contact centers involves separating employees and assigning them to roles based on their experience and expertise. This practice will ensure that the most qualified individuals are the ones handling specific tasks. It can also be helpful to separate staff based on their abilities to handle certain types of communication over others. Fast and effective typers, for example, would best operate by handling incoming emails or SMS messages from patients, while more phone-oriented employees should stick to handling phone or video calls.

Related: How to Protect Patient Health Information: 2021 Guide

Monitor for Quality Assurance

Quality assurance monitoring is essential for all types of contact centers, but especially medical contact centers. Managers and supervisors should routinely listen to calls, check emails and other messages, and use a scoresheet to rate the quality of employee and patient interactions. They can monitor for things like the agent’s ability to address requests and solve patient problems quickly and effectively.

Share Feedback and Analytics

Managers and supervisors should also report their successes and failures based on their quality assurance monitoring. It’s also essential for them to communicate other valuable information, including outcomes, call, email, and message volumes, wait times, abandonment rates, and more.

Make Employee Engagement a Priority

Employee engagement needs to be considered a top priority for contact centers to attract the best possible applicants for the job and minimize employee turnover. This process can involve several procedures, including employee feedback forms, regular check-ins with employees, and even yearly employee team retreats

Optimize Call & Response Flow

To optimize call flow effectively, medical contact centers should construct a call tree with an introduction, followed by a list of options that patients can select to help them reach a person qualified to handle their specific issue as fast as possible. Options should be concise and straightforward to avoid confusing patients and encouraging them to end the call prematurely. The options should also make it possible for patients to reach a human to talk to very quickly if they would prefer.

The same is also true for other types of communication methods patients may use to reach the contact center, including emails, video calls, text messages, and more. Well trained employees will need to know how to quickly and effectively respond to all forms of communication patients may choose to utilize, otherwise the contact center isn’t likely to see much success. In the modern age where so many things happen instantaneously, contact centers need to be able to keep up with the pace.

Related: Telehealth is Here to Stay

The Last Word on Contact Centers

A medical contact center employee smiling while talking into his headset.

 

Medical contact centers offer a massive range of benefits for the medical facilities that choose to implement them and the patients of said medical facilities. Modern technology has made it faster and easier than ever before for people to contact healthcare facilities to make appointments and have their questions answered. These facilities would be wise to leverage these advancements to provide people with a fast, easy, and effective way to receive help for their issues from professionally trained staff.

Are you on the hunt for easy-to-use, cost-effective, and superior quality Healthcare Information Management services for your clinic, hospital, or private practice? Reach out to the experts at Visaya today to learn about everything they can do for you.