Transforming Patient Experiences: The Role of Contact Center Software in Healthcare

Transforming Patient Experiences: The Role of Contact Center Software in Healthcare

May 13, 2024

Healthcare institutions are quite different from other organizations. They are open 24/7. The employees are always on their toes. For them every second counts. And the way they deliver services can mean the difference between life and death.

When we say ‘services,’ it encompasses everything starting from scheduling appointments to getting the right care and treatments. When it comes to the former—scheduling appointments and handling the huge volume of calls—many healthcare institutions face a lot of challenges.

Just as the roles of doctors, nurses, and paramedics are indispensable, the roles of the professionals who handle the calls for appointments, emergencies, and ambulance services are equally important.

In such a scenario, healthcare organizations should give equal importance to their communication systems as they give to their other infrastructure. In this blog post, we will discuss some major challenges healthcare institutions face and how a sophisticated contact center solution can help in overcoming the challenges. Read on and thank us later.

Challenges Healthcare Institutions Face in Terms of Patient Service

There is no doubt that the healthcare sector is one of the most demanding sectors of all. Just a visit to any hospital or a quick glance at any on-duty doctor, nurse, or paramedic can give us the idea. But apart from that, healthcare institutions and providers face a wide range of challenges when it comes to patient service. Here are some of them.

1. Huge Call Volumes

If you go to any major healthcare facility, it’s not uncommon to find constant ringing of phones to schedule appointments or avail emergency services. In an article published by Envera Health, the healthcare tech company said that some multi practice healthcare organizations, which are their clients, receive more than 2000 calls per day! That means almost 220 calls per hour.

For super-specialty hospitals, the volume could be much higher. The volley of incoming calls an average healthcare facility receives every day, is the number one challenge in the industry and it is the direct cause of the next challenge mentioned here.

2. High Patient Wait Time

Patient wait time is a serious problem in healthcare institutions and it should come as no surprise due to the sheer call volumes they receive every day. As per a 2018 Vitals study, the average patient wait time in the US was 18 minutes and 13 seconds.

But what should be distressing is the perception of doctors and healthcare providers on the impact of wait time on patient satisfaction. A survey from Software Advice found that 63 percent of doctors said that wait times have minimal impact or no impact on their ability to retain patients.

3. Lower First Call Resolution Rate

As per recent stat, the industry benchmark for FCR in healthcare is 71 percent. That means, 29 out of every 100 calls don’t get the right responses or resolutions on the first instance. If we take a look at other industries, the FCR hover in the range of 80 to 85 percent.

Healthcare institutions need to fix this and do whatever it takes to make sure that at least 85 to 90 percent of all incoming calls are resolved in the first instance without making the patient call again for the same query, request, or problem.

4. Complaints Resulting From Weak Communication

An article published in Medpage Today revealed 53 percent of online healthcare complaints were the result of poor communication, particularly through phones. Some common complaints included:

  • Being placed on hold indefinitely.
  • Long hold times. (accounted for 35 percent of complaints)
  • Not getting calls returned after repeated messages.

The article also asserted that, during business hours, almost one-fourth of callers were hanging up prior to getting a response or leaving a voicemail.  

5. Data Breaches

In 2022, three out of every five healthcare institutions around the world suffered at least one cyberattack, revealed a news report. Another data found out of the total data breaches, 30 percent of that occurs in large hospitals. And if we go by The HIPAA Journal’s Healthcare Data Breach Statistics, on average 364,571 healthcare records were breached every day.

After reading the above stats, it should not be surprising to know that three out of every five patients said they didn't trust their medical practice with their personal information, a recent survey revealed.

How the Right Contact Center Software Can Help Healthcare Institutions?

The right contact center software can fix a lot of issues and challenges that affect the healthcare industry. Here are five ways the right contact center software can work wonders for the healthcare sector.

1. Reduced Wait Time

When a healthcare institution leverages the right contact center software, it can easily handle all incoming calls and reduce on-hold times even during the peak time of the day. Advanced call center software have an interactive voice response (IVR) system, which provides a wide range of options to customers and routes their call to the most suitable departments based on customers’ responses. Many cutting-edge software also have a range of self-service resources that enable customers to solve minor issues and queries on their own without having to talk to an agent.

2. Enhanced FCR

Equipped with automatic call distribution (ACD) and skill-based routing, sophisticated contact center software can direct all incoming calls to those agents and departments who have relevant experience and are the most qualified to resolve the calls on the very first instance. These features can immensely help healthcare institutions to increase their FCR and enhance satisfaction.

3. Omnichannel Experience

When healthcare institutions receive such a large volume of incoming calls, relying on one or two channels is not prudent. Besides, a majority of people have smartphones and they would prefer connecting with businesses and organizations using other channels as well. In such a scenario, contact center software can enable healthcare institutions to provide omnichannel experience.

4. Robust Security

Contact center software comes equipped with a wide range of security features such as strong encryption, access controls, two-step verification, multi-factor authentication, and more. Sophisticated contact center solutions are engineered to comply with various international regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

5. Real-time Analytics and Reports

Healthcare institutions must monitor and analyze various call metrics such as Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Average On-Hold Time, First Call Resolution Rate, and Abandon Rate, to know how well they are performing on the customer service front. Advanced contact center software comes with cutting-edge analytics and reporting tools that can help healthcare institutions monitor analytics and KPIs.

Taking Everything Into Account,

The healthcare sector is one of the most demanding industries of all. That's why healthcare providers and organizations must leverage the most sophisticated communication systems such as contact center software to handle huge volumes of incoming calls and provide effective services.

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