When President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) into law, the healthcare industry was given the mandate to expand public and private insurance coverage while reducing costs and improving outcomes. As the legislation took effect, insurance companies and healthcare providers needed to support a more diverse patient population. Given the complexity of healthcare navigation, customer service has become critically important… and quite challenging to address.
Insurance companies and healthcare providers need effective strategies for wide-ranging patient communication (e.g., appointment scheduling, coverage questions, payments, appointment reminders, test results). For technology-savvy patients, self-service apps (IVR, web, mobile) and proactive outbound notification can provide secure, time-sensitive, cost-effective communication. Since those channels may not be available or preferred by many patients, companies need to provide trained staff to handle contacts (phone, email, chat, etc.) and, in some environments, walk in traffic. Furthermore, information must be consistent across channels. A contact center may be a better mechanism to achieve those goals than the traditionally distributed model found in many healthcare environments.
Diversity in the healthcare system extends beyond the patient population. Internal stakeholders can include administrators, physicians, clinicians, front office staff, back office staff, housekeeping, and meal service, to name a few. In today’s world, effective collaboration is crucial for realizing operational efficiencies while delivering a satisfying and consistent patient experience.
Strategic Contact has the ability to bring all the stakeholders together and listen attentively to all of their needs and concerns. We weigh the merits of centralized versus decentralized operations, and determine where and how it makes sense for the healthcare delivery system. We define the people, process, and technology changes to support the optimal structure and patient experience, and build the roadmap to reach the end state vision. And we devise a change management strategy to ensure that the people at all levels and all departments have the motivation, ability, training, and reinforcement to implement the plan.
As healthcare changes continue, the challenges of ongoing growth and increasing patient demands seem to be a clarion call for a fresh look at patient communication. Now is the time to assess how today’s contact center technology and operations can bring new capabilities and outcomes for staff and patients alike.