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How the Healthcare Contact Center Improves Patient Experience

This article was updated on July 6, 2021

When patients call into a medical office, they need quick answers to their questions. It's always frustrating to be put on hold or shuffled from department to department, and this is especially true when seeking timely answers to urgent healthcare questions. Here's how the healthcare contact center can provide medical and dental offices — many of which are struggling to manage an increase in patient volume — a way to efficiently serve their patients.

A healthcare contact center provides a more satisfying patient experience and improves patient–doctor relationships at growing practices.

Quickly Connecting Patients with Resources

Patients have one priority when they reach out to a doctor's office, especially when they feel unwell: quick access to the information they need. When patients are unable to connect with someone who can answer their questions — or worse, are left to languish interminably on hold — their satisfaction levels drop precipitously. Medical and dental offices can address this common problem by routing callers through a single phone line regardless of the initial number they dial, presenting patients with a consistent experience that is clear and easy to navigate.

Of course, once patients have reached the front door, they need speedy access to the right department within the office. Interactive voice response (IVR) efficiently routes patients to the exact resources they need, ensuring that the practice makes a good impression with both longtime and brand-new patients. This voice-driven menu system is especially valuable for practices that have multiple offices, since it streamlines what would otherwise be a mazelike and cluttered series of navigational steps for patients to follow. With the cloud contact center's IVR feature, a patient can rest easy knowing they will connect with the right office no matter where they're calling from.

IVR helps a medical or dental office deliver an improved patient experience even during periods of call spikes, when there is high volume and many callers are trying to reach the practice at once. By effectively routing patients to precisely the departments and information they need, IVR can make sure that incoming callers connect with the right resources in less time, meaning shorter hold times for patients. This is particularly beneficial for expanding practices that place a high priority on providing a consistently excellent patient experience as they grow.

By providing a more patient-centered customer experience that eases pain points and streamlines patient access to the resources they need, doctors and dentists can create better relationships with their patients.

Delivering a Satisfying Patient Experience

Contact centers meet patients where they are, allowing them to start a conversation on the channel of their choice, such as SMS messaging, or through an app. Some patients prefer to get quick answers from a chatbot, which practices can make available for their convenience. After patients have started a conversation on one channel, they can seamlessly switch channels, hopping over to a phone call without missing a beat. This comes in particularly handy in the case of a sensitive or complicated conversation involving a patient's health.

Medical and dental offices can deliver additional patient experience improvements by tapping the benefits of powerful APIs that integrate with the contact center. For instance, practices can send patients timely reminders via SMS messages to schedule appointments, take medication, or pay their invoices. This enhances the patient experience while ensuring steady cash flow for the practice — a win-win for everyone. On-demand patient scheduling allows patients to see the office's up-to-date calendar and fills up canceled appointments quickly. That way, patients can get access to treatment more quickly, boosting their satisfaction levels — and ensuring steady growth to the practice's bottom line.

Improving the Patient–Doctor Relationship

All of this efficiency is ultimately in service of a greater goal, of course: improving the relationship between patients and doctors. By providing a more patient-centered customer experience that eases pain points and streamlines patient access to the resources they need, doctors and dentists can create better relationships with their patients. How a practice designs its patient-facing communications says a lot about how much it prioritizes patient satisfaction, as patients well know, and they are more likely to stay with a practice that serves them in the best way possible. Satisfied patients are also more likely to refer people they know to a physicians' or dentists' office that offers a high-quality experience, helping the practice to grow even more.

For modern medical and dental offices, the benefits of the cloud contact center are clear. Practices can become even more responsive to their patients by routing calls through a central phone number and giving them a consistent experience regardless of the line they initially called. And by engaging with patients on the channel of their choice, medical and dental offices send a clear message that they are there for their patients — wherever they are, whatever communications channel they choose. All of these thoughtful steps contribute to an improved patient–doctor relationship, ensuring that patients are satisfied with their care and that practices thrive in the customer-first digital age.


Vonage Staff

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