It’s needless to say that the coronavirus outbreak or COVID-19 is the most massive pandemic that is considered as the international emergency of the 21st century. No possible cure has been identified yet for this pandemic and only prevention measures are being imposed to contain the exponential spread of COVID-19.
Both national and global leaders have been striving to strengthen their healthcare infrastructure and during such a crisis, the significance of medical call center services is even more crucial. COVID-19 with no definite cause and symptoms surely has set the people across the globe into the panic mode. People with minor symptoms of flu are also apprehensive and seem to have a massive amount of questions for their healthcare provider. While primary healthcare providers are combatting the pandemic at the field, the medical service center must assume the back-office responsibility.
Here are the 10 best practices for healthcare call center companies to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following HIPAA Security Protocol is a Must
Customer information is highly sensitive and thus is of utmost significance irrespective of the industry or ecosystem. And, when it comes to the healthcare ecosystem, customer information is mostly related to their personal and health aspects and is considered as Public Health Information (PHI). Ensuring the security of PHI is highly essential, pandemic or not and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a measure put in place to realize this.
Most esteemed healthcare call service providers such as Expert Callers offer 100% HIPAA-compliant services. They always ensure the safety and security of PHI shared with the patients as well as the healthcare provider. They have a proven track record of HIPAA-compliance that is of high criticality, is ethically and legally a necessity during the pandemics such as COVID-19.
Employ the Right Workforce
The entire world is at the receiving end of the harshest impacts of COVID-19, both in terms of health and otherwise. Distress and concern among the general public are a must and at such trying times, their concerns must be handled with the utmost care by the healthcare providers.
The patient-facing workforce at the call centers must be knowledgeable to offer the true and affirmative responses and at the same time must be empathetic. They must be adept to address and operate in real-life scenarios and must be equipped with HIPAA training. Healthcare call service providers such as Expert Callers have their best-of-breed executives to address the patients with enquiries.
Adopt the Multi-channel, Multi-lingual Approach
Multi-channel is not a new concept as it has already gained ground in the healthcare ecosystem. Healthcare service providers are employing multiple available channels such as calls, messages, emails, push notifications, etc. to communicate and collaborate with their patients. And, some of them also offer multilingual communication.
Well, it’s time to take the adoption of a multi-lingual, multi-channel approach up by a notch during the COVID-19 pandemic. With patients and their caregivers being home-bound, the physical footfall in the healthcare center premises is restricted. The only way to reach out to the public is through an array of digital mediums. Medical call centers must devise strategies to make the most of these digital mediums and spread awareness as much as possible among the general public. While this pandemic has stepped the regional, national boundaries, they must have their communication tailored for the multi-linguistic public.
Keep A Tab on the KPIs
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, most healthcare facilities have been overwhelmed and the call centers are no exception. The patient-facing experts at these call centers have to address a never-ending stream of queries from the distressed general public and also in scheduling appointments, etc. With the overwhelming volume of calls, they might lose track of their KPIs. However, keeping a tab on the KPIs such as average response time, abandonment rate, first-call resolution, and customer satisfaction is highly essential and critical. These KPIs will offer actionable insights for the medical call centers to optimize their communication strategies and operations.
Patients and their caregivers connect with the call centers out of necessity. And, they often expect the exchange to be effective as well as comforting as they might be dealing with pressing medical concerns. They are already under a massive amount of stress and a less than pleasant communication with a call center staff is going to add on to the stress. While this has a harsh impact on the person seeking medical advice, it is equally detrimental to the reputation of a healthcare service center.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare call service providers must ensure that their staff remains compassionate at all times while the line associated with working hours is gradually blurring.
Always be Affirmative
While there are millions of rumors and speculations pertaining to COVID-19, saying the right and truthful thing is highly essential. Healthcare call centers must make sure to avoid negative, less than pleasant language, be authentic, optimistic in their communication, offer requisite and precise instructions, and escalate if the situation demands so.
Make Things Easy for the Patients
Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, call centers must make patient communication, counseling, appointment scheduling as easy, user-friendly, and seamless as possible.
Call centers can also leverage digital health tools such as telehealth and remote patient monitoring to ensure that the primary care reaches the people in dire need. Apart from consultations, call center experts can also offer insights into COVID-19 causes, symptoms, and preventive measures.
Always Prepare for Contingencies
Medical call centers can play a pivotal role in restricting the exposure with the COVID-19 positive individuals. How? Citizens are sure to panic even if they exhibit minor symptoms of flu and may turn up at the healthcare centers for a diagnosis. By doing so, they are actually stepping into an infection-prone zone and might get exposed to the virus.
Medical call centers can communicate with such public in an effective manner and may try to analyze the severity of the symptoms. In case, the individual is showing definitive signs, they may go ahead and schedule appointments. In case the symptoms are not to be worried about, the concerns can be resolved over a call.
Adhere to the Protocols
When it comes to the healthcare domain, protocols must be followed religiously and at all times. This is applicable for the healthcare call centers as well. Despite the overwhelming amount of calls to be addressed on a daily basis, the experts must adhere to the protocols round the clock, be it about communicating with the patients or managing PHI. Under no circumstances, the protocols to be compromised without the approval from the authorities.
If you are on the lookout for the right healthcare call center service provider, do connect with the Expert Callers team, today!