Hospitals and health systems are struggling to deliver a great patient experience through their call centers – often the “front door” to their organization – due in large part to barriers to patient access. Over the course of a three post series, we’ll explore some of these top barriers and how they impede a positive patient experience: outdated provider directories, lack of patient-provider matching capabilities, and insight into provider availability. Provider Directories & Patient Access While demand for online self-service capabilities continues to rise, many patients still connect with a health system the old-fashioned way – over the phone. However, access centers frequently lack the resources to provide an effective, high-touch patient experience. In fact, our recent secret shopper report found that 82% of call centers were unable to book an appointment directly over the phone during the initial interaction. That’s not just a major barrier to patient access, it also means that most call centers are not equipped to deliver a call center experience that ends with a booked appointment, a big problem for converting demand and retaining patients in increasingly competitive markets.
As health systems pursue strategic initiatives around improving patient experience and expanding access, capturing the right metrics is critical to ensuring their goals are met. Historically, health system access centers have used "call time" data to measure their efficiency and value, attempting to keep patient calls short in order to handle a higher volume of calls. And while this metric may make sense for other consumer industries, a call time KPI is no longer the most important metric to track for health systems. Why? With market competition rising and consumers prioritizing experience, access centers should instead measure how easy it is for a patient to get to the right provider at the right time.
As the first point of contact for many consumers searching for care, your access center and your agents are essential ambassadors of your brand. And in an era where patient loyalty is up for grabs, delivering personalized service over the phone can transform a single call into a lifelong relationship with your health system. On our recent webinar, Dave Kriesand, Vice President of Banner Health’s Customer Experience Center, shared how they’re differentiating their access experience by making it easier for patients to find care that meets their unique needs.
In recent years, patient experience has transformed from an industry buzzword to a serious initiative for many of the country’s leading health systems. Why? As patients become savvy consumers and their options for care expand, they are prioritizing things like experience and quality of care and are willing to switch organizations to get it. In fact, a new Press Ganey report revealed that patient experience is 5x more effective than marketing tactics at driving patient loyalty.1
Among the first things you want to consider when you’re ready to integrate chatbots is how they align with your product strategy and customer value proposition. In the healthcare space you'll also need to consider and account for the ethical, regulatory, compliance, and operational requirements in the design of the chatbot.
Did you know that over 84% of American adults saw a physician in 2016?1 You would think for an industry that has such a significant impact, they would make things easy, efficient, and consumer-friendly for its users. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for most. Reflect on the last time you were able to call and book an appointment to see a doctor for yourself or someone in your care. How would you rate that experience? Did you wonder if there was a better and more accessible way to find care?