The call types your healthcare call center handles depends a lot on your organizational and marketing goals.
When you start planning for a healthcare call center (be it outsourced or in house), create a plan that’s tied to your goals.
Increasing patient access
As patients are becoming more and more demanding, your initial goal might be to increase patient access.
The ability to answer patient calls within 30 seconds does wonders for your patient satisfaction.
This, in turn, contributes to better practice reputation and increased patient volumes.
Your patients are looking for the first available appointment.
If your current schedule allows for patients to get the first appointment weeks or months from today, you might want to divert those patients to other locations of your health system where an earlier appointment might be available.
Patients do not need / access care only during office hours.
As years have progressed, patients have become more mobile, more text and chat based.
They are looking to book appointments without having to get on the phone. They are looking to get answers via chat immediately.
Your goal might be to add more communication channels for patients to be able to interact with you.
Maximizing provider, equipment and office utilization
Improving provider utilization and the ability to forecast appointment pipeline + revenues might be your focus at the moment.
To be able to improve provider utilization, you will have to pack more appointments per day, by adjusting for typical no show rates.
This needs your team to make a significant amount of outbound calls to ensure patients truly do show up.
You would have to invest a lot in outbound calling to ensure that patients are being recalled on a predetermined periodic basis (e.g. once a quarter).
Community outreach calls and community outreach mailers would be another thing to look at, from an investment point of view.
Effectively, this means that you would have to be a lot more proactive about business development for this goal.
We have noticed that typically, organizations just dipping their toes into centralized healthcare call centers start with outbound dialing.
Improving patient experience at your locations
Your goal could also very well be to improve patient experience in your offices.
As discussed before, when the front desk is tasked with multiple responsibilities, patients rarely have a good experience.
You could decide to have all calls being handled by your centralized call center team.
This would allow your front desk to handle patients, manage patient flow, while your call center team handles incoming calls and triages all calls.
What is your goal with a centralized healthcare call center?
You could decide on a transition of one call type at a time to your call center by making changes to your IVR as well.
Effectively, your business goal will drive the call types and activities that your call center should be handling.