Thanks to continuing technological advances and the amount of data that’s available, physicians, hospitals, and other stakeholders can further personalize and improve the healthcare patient experience. But given the frenetic pace of change brought about by healthcare reform and advances in technology, healthcare professionals must ask themselves whether they and their organizations are armed with the right technologies to deliver the type of personalized care that patients expect to receive.
Here are 10 questions that physicians and other healthcare providers should ask themselves to determine whether they have the right mix of technologies in place to optimize the patient experience.
- Are you able to identify patients whenever they reach out to you, regardless of the channel or channels they use? Patients crave personalized experiences from the healthcare organizations with which they interact. Depending on their medical conditions, patients often feel vulnerable and are in need of compassionate care. Physician offices, clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare providers that identify a patient when he or she has reached out for support, and personalize the experience, can foster a nurturing environment and help put the patient at ease.
- How old is your contact center routing platform? State-of-the-art contact center routing technologies can intelligently connect each patient to a specific associate or employee whose individual skills match the patient’s needs, ensuring that patients receive relevant support based on their profiles, the channels used, and other known attributes. Connecting patients to the right employees will improve the patient experience while optimizing operational efficiency.
- Are you effectively serving your customers across all contact channels? Patients don’t view themselves as omnichannel; they simply expect to receive consistent experiences across any and all of the channels they use to interact with a healthcare provider. A cloud contact center platform enables healthcare organizations to easily add new channel support capabilities on the fly while distributing associates to active channels as patient volumes dictate.
- Are you arming your frontline employees with the right tools and information? Patients won’t have great experiences if employees don’t have effective tools and access to the data needed to support patients. This includes arming patient-facing staff with real-time information about their cases, including the actual cost of care as well as the dollar amount that’s covered by insurance. Disparate systems make it extremely difficult for employees to know the full scope of each patient’s relationship with the organization and for staffers to deliver the type of personalized service that patients expect.
- Are you able to quickly identify patient satisfaction issues through analytics? Patients don’t always respond to customer surveys following their interactions with healthcare companies. As such, it’s important to use speech, text, social, and other types of analytics tools to identify aspects of the customer experience that the organization can improve upon (e.g., new patient onboarding, problem resolution). Those who rapidly identify and respond to customer or patient satisfaction issues from across the healthcare continuum can enhance the customer experience, strengthen satisfaction, and bolster the bottom line.
- Are you effectively resolving patients’ issues upon first contact? Customers have multiple contact options beyond voice calls: IVR, online self-service, chat, click-to-call, email, mobile, and more. Customers who aren’t able to resolve their inquiries satisfactorily are more likely to find a provider that can better support them. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve and become more competitive, providers need to be able to determine how effectively they’re supporting patients, including the ability to successfully resolve a patient’s need or issue upon first contact with the organization. The use of predictive analytics can help decision-makers determine if a patient is likely to call back as well as the reason for that repeat call. Meanwhile, customer service associates can prevent repeat calls by taking a holistic, proactive approach to patient support, improving first call resolution (FCR) by solving current, and likely future, issues on the spot.
- Do you have the ability to quickly react to real-time data in addressing issues when delivering customer experience (missing SLAs, understaffed against call volume, etc.)? Healthcare organizations that aren’t responsive to the needs and preferences of its patients can be perceived as uncaring or indifferent. Real-time management and reporting tools enable decision-makers to immediately identify performance issues with customer support that can be acted on swiftly. Developing a sense-and-respond type environment will enable your organization to provide patients with consistent support and satisfactory experiences.
- Are your contact center managers able to respond quickly to disruptive patient experience events before they go viral? A patient posts a bill for a medical procedure to social media and it goes viral. Will your contact center managers have that deer-in-the-headlights look about them or receive advanced warning about the post and be prepared to respond to it? Contact center analytics can help managers immediately identify customer support issues and respond to them quickly before they spiral out of control.
- Are customers who interact with offices/branches able to access the same expertise as customers who call the contact center? Employees who interface directly with patients should have access to the same patient information that’s available to contact center associates. A next-generation customer experience solution can provide front-line employees with a complete view of patients’ histories as they interact with each other. Meanwhile, intelligent call routing can ensure that patient calls missed by a healthcare provider’s office staff can be redirected to associates with the corresponding skills to provide relevant support.
- Is your data protected and HIPAA compliant? Although your organization may conduct regular security audits to protect identifiable patient data under the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), contact center, CRM, and other systems containing sensitive patient data may not necessarily be certified as HIPAA compliant. The use of HIPAA-certified technologies confirms that patient data is securely encrypted and are regularly audited, ensuring consistent compliance with the regulation.
Patients expect healthcare providers to know who they are along with the nature of their medical conditions. Having the right patient experience technology in place can help healthcare companies deliver on these expectations and provide the personalized care that patients long for.
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