Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds…”
However, when it comes to patient scheduling, delivering a consistent, repeatable, reliable experience across all your stakeholders (patients, staff, and providers) is of upmost importance.
In today’s world, patients have truly become consumers of healthcare and have high expectations as it relates to the experience they expect to have with your practice.
You are being compared to industries like the airlines, where they understand their customers’ preferences, their buying habits and who their customers are. So when customers reach out to book a flight, they are greeted with:
“Hello, Kris, I see you are a preferred member of our airline and just returned from travel to Florida. Thank you for flying with us! What can I do for you today?”
- Kris’ preferred status was able to get her call expedited
- Working from stored data about Kris and a personalized script, the agent knew exactly who she was and treated her as a friend, even though they have never met
Now, contrast that with a typical call to Kris’s doctor:
“Thank you for calling Specialty Medical; how can I help you?”
“My name is Kris and I need to schedule an appointment with Doctor Smith.”
“Ok great. I am sorry, what was your name?” followed by “How do you spell that?” and “Are you a patient here?”
- Lacking Kris’ information, the scheduler interacted with her as a stranger
Patients today are shopping for health care like any other service, and they are open to exploring their options. So, let’s talk about how the right technology can create a consumer-like experience for every caller.
The Right Tool for the Right Job
Kris’ airline uses a customer relationship management tool (CRM) that manages interactions with customers old and new. A tool that consistently delivers that “they know me, they really know me!” wow factor.
Until now, this was a type of tool that didn’t exist specifically for health care. And likely, by some people’s imagination, never will due to the complexity of scheduling a single patient visit.
How About Some Good News
Kris loves her airline because she can communicate with them when and how she wants and never has any issues getting through to the right person.
Question is, with the complexity and nuances associated with patient scheduling, can the healthcare industry provide Kris with that same experience? The answer is YES!
Today’s Advanced Patient Contact/Call Center Platforms help medical practices bring the same superior customer experiences to health care—and do so with reliable consistency.
The starting point – a single source of truth that contains everything a scheduler needs to know to perfectly match each patient to the right doctor at the right location on the right day every time.
Goals Aren’t Just for Soccer
When assessing patient contact center software platforms, there are a few important goals to keep in mind:
- Work with partners or consultants who can help your team identify areas of standardization with fewer nuances, keeping in mind 90% of your scheduling rules and protocols will apply across all your providers, with only about 10% unique
- Look for a platform that meets the patient where they are, making it possible for them to text, email, call or web chat for their scheduling needs outside of your patient portal, which is mainly used for post-visit communication and patient follow-up
- Don’t settle for anything less than a platform where every change is global and instantaneous, reinforcing standards anchored by consistency and accuracy
- Find a system that will work with your patient 24/7/365 to address their scheduling needs in real-time, interfacing with your EMR
Don’t Try This at Home
Upgrading your patient communications platform doesn’t have to mean more stress on your internal IT teams. Find a cloud-based platform that requires little to no involvement from your IT group; they have enough on their plate.
Is there a catch? Yes. Building your protocols into the solution takes time. A lot of time. So look for a Patient Contact Center Platform that is 100% focused on healthcare and, following some upfront research, can do all the heavy lifting for you. Once the build is done, it’s plug and play for any scheduler or call agent in your office.
Which Helps in Two Ways
Because advanced solutions deliver responsive, scripted interactions based on a single source of truth, your old hats and new hires will be up and running in no time and can focus on your patients instead of the process.
If you’ve been around legacy platforms for any time at all, you’ve probably heard the dreaded “The phones are down…” which puts your service on hold until they are back up. Web-based VOIP call capability keeps you securely in touch with your patients regardless of what is happening in the environment.
Lookout customer pleasing consumer industries—healthcare is ready to shine!
Reach out to our team today to understand more about what your peers around the industry are doing when it comes to streamlining their patient contact center operations in a way that provides an optimal patient and staff experience.