If you are willing to build a practice your patients enjoy working with, your call center is an excellent place to lay focus on.
By employing call center best practices, you can enhance overall patient care management from improving patient care and reducing overhead costs to growing your healthcare business.
Unfortunately, as anyone who’s had problems scheduling an appointment with their healthcare provider or waiting to get test results can tell you, a lot of in-house healthcare call centers struggle to communicate effectively.
In this blog, we will take a closer look at the various communication challenges healthcare practices often face and how healthcare BPO companies can overcome them. The healthcare industry faces various communication challenges.
‘80% of serious medical errors arise as the result of miscommunication between caregivers during patient handovers’—A Joint Commission study cited by HIPAAJournal.com. Another investigation by CRICO Strategies of medical malpractice cases from 2009 to 2013 found that 30% of the cases were connected to communication issues, which resulted in 1,744 patient deaths and $1.7 billion in hospital costs.
Here are a few common communication challenges within the healthcare industry that lead to these immense problems:
Poor Patient Communication:
Skill Ineffective procedures and policies can prevent call center representatives from properly communicating with a patient. Maybe your call center is not using interpreters effectively, and the patient calls are not being quickly resolved due to language barriers. Also, some staff members may get comfortable using medical jargon if they cannot explain a simple diagnostic procedure in layman’s terms. Patients are left confused when they hear hypotension, not simply low blood pressure.
Poor Medical data handling:
Some of the most common failures in communication happen when a patient gets transferred from one medical caregiver to another who isn’t priorly briefed about the patient’s previous or existing condition. The cause may be the patient’s medical data isn’t shared or updated with the right people. If a patient’s medical data is not correctly integrated into the EHR, communication breakdowns can result in expensive delays and improper medical treatment. What’s more, if patient data is not protected, it can result in data breaches and lead to expensive lawsuits and corrective action plans.
Outdated communication equipment:
while many patient care management units support their call centers with CRM platforms, some still prefer to communicate with outdated tools like pagers and fax machines. You are at a disadvantage when it comes to handling patient calls and sharing patient information without the effective integration of EHRs, CRM, and mobile devices. The communication gaps can keep physicians and nurses from acquiring the right information during the right time and limit their abilities to help patients.
Increase empathy in communication:
Good call centers are built on skilled agents who know how to establish a good rapport with patients and display empathy in their communications. Train your call center agents to:
- Listen attentively to patient concerns
- Be respectful to patients
- Maintain eye contact in physical encounters or video chats
- Understand patient priorities
- Allow patient to ask questions when in doubt
Call center agents are also required to have comprehensive knowledge of the healthcare facility and medical staff in order to answer questions and direct patient inquiries to the right people of concern. Familiarity with the call center software and the ability to communicate policies in layman’s language is important for establishing good patient relations.
Update Outdated Communication Systems:
Adapting the best medical call center practices means using an excellent healthcare CRM platform to support your call center. Customer Relationship Management software assists healthcare staff in making appointments, handling patient documents, sharing prescription information, and performing other patient-related activities.
Once healthcare CRM software is properly integrated into your overall healthcare system, healthcare staff can perform work duties anytime from anywhere using mobile devices. In addition, the enhanced communication infrastructure enables multiple healthcare providers to work in tandem for the benefit of all patients.
Offer patients multiple communication platforms
In the present day, people prefer to communicate through a lot of varied mediums, including email, video chat, phone, live chat, and social media.
By giving patients the option to communicate with your healthcare call center through multiple channels, you automatically increase the convenience and enhance the patient experience. Options like video calling also offer easier ways to narrate medical procedures that might be harder to convey over an ordinary telephonic call.
It’s also crucial to maintain a constantly updated EHR that is shared among call center agents. This makes sure that your agents know who they’re talking to and what information they need to provide, improving patient-staff rapport.
Monitor quality of calls
To ensure your healthcare call center service standards are being upheld, monitor call quality. Record all incoming and outgoing calls and make sure patient inquiries are routed to the appropriate departments.
And don’t forget to take feedback from your agents! After answering numerous calls, your agents gain a unique insight into what phrases work best for establishing good conduct with callers and the type of terms patients understand the best. All of this can add benefit to your call center training and improve patient interactions with your agents.
The modern healthcare industry needs multiple healthcare caregivers to work in tandem while treating the same patient. This requires healthcare staff to have regular access to updated information at all times. Improving healthcare call center policies and adopting an effective healthcare CRM platform helps improve workplace communication and ensures a healthier working environment, improving overall patient care management.