Contact Center Metrics: Creating Optimal Patient Experiences


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By Aspect Software and Healthcare Intelligence

When speaking of the optimal patient experience, many healthcare organizations focus solely on direct patient care initiatives. Only recently have healthcare systems realized that the total patient experience starts with front end processes. Patients today expect to have multi-media channels for contacting a physician, the phone answered in a timely fashion, and their needs met at the first point of contact. They also want the agent answering the phone to be knowledgeable about their particular issue and be treated respectfully, with compassion, empathy and understanding.

According to HCP Associates’ Top 10 Changes in Patient Expectations, technology brings four fundamental changes to the patient experience:

  • Access to Information: Eight of ten people do their health care research using the Internet, the vast majority using Google. They also post about their experiences with providers, good and bad, and these posts are all just a search phrase away. Search engine rankings not only make your practice more visible, higher rankings have a profound effect on how prospective patients view your capabilities, status and popularity as a provider.
  • Quality of Service and Care: It is necessary not only to say what you do, but to do what you say professionally, effectively and consistently. In short, your operational processes from the first telephone encounter to discharge should be equal parts quality of care and quality of service.
  • Differentiation:  Providing quality of service equates directly to the perception of competence. You may be getting away with doing things the way they have always been done, but not for long. The industry is changing, and perceptions and expectations continue to change with it. Those who fail to adapt will likely become the employees of those who do.
  • Access to Care: The primary decision metric for most patients is accessibility. Waiting to be seen when you are sick and scared, whether it is for an appointment or in the waiting room, does not enhance the patient experience. In fact, it complicates it on numerous levels including clinically. It impacts physician and patient referrals, patient retention, patient acquisition, patient attitude, patient perception and a host of other issues. Prompt, professional and accessible service wins every time.

Meeting patient expectations is about more than accommodation—it is risk management (happy patients do not sue.) It keeps you competitive and results in improved clinical care (good patient experiences lead to better outlooks, outcomes, an enhanced sense of security and well-being.) These are tall orders for all healthcare organizations, but these goals are attainable with the right tools and the right people.

How can technology help you meet patient expectations?

The patient experience is about more than customer service and provider expectations.  The optimal patient experience encompasses the entire patient journey, beginning with the first point of contact.  Meeting the needs of patients will ensure a life-long journey with the patient. If you are not successful with engaging and satisfying the patient at the initial point of contact, then the quality of care may not matter. They will search for another provider who they feel they can trust and who will meet their needs.

Offering multi-channel methods for contacting a physician’s office is critical. Today’s patients have varied lifestyles and demands on their time, expecting to be treated like a valued consumer – not just another caller. Talking to a “live person” may be important to one patient, but not another.  State-of-the-art multi-channel options such as texting, on-line scheduling and chat are available to help your organization respond to patients’ individual preferences. Interactive chat can help you capture new patients by offering website visitors a warm invitation to chat, encouraging them to take the next step of actually contacting your organization.

It is surprising how many healthcare organizations cannot tell you how many dropped calls they have, what their first-time call resolution is, and how satisfied the patient was with the contact experience. Does your organization have the capability to call back dropped calls? Dropped calls, prior to the patient talking to an agent, or during the conversation, are a reality. Fortunately, technology is available to re-engage with the patient.

Utilizing the right contact center technology can help ensure that you not only meet patients’ expectations, but that you exceed them. This is all part of the journey to establishing a life-long relationship with the patient.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kathleen Schroeder
Kathleen Schroeder, Senior Product Marketing Specialist, has over 25 years' experience representing the voice of the customer through global event presentations, webinars and integrated multi-national campaigns for numerous verticals ranging from education to transportation and tourism to telecommunications. Kathleen creates customer-facing programs and content to bring the value of next generation customer contact solutions to various market segments.


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