Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare system has been affected in many ways. The impact on primary care has been very significant, as it has undergone major organizational changes. We have seen how many health centers have been closed due to the contagion of health workers. The need to limit face-to-face assistance to avoid contagion has significantly increased the use of telephone assistance.
Although the pandemic has started to wind down in most parts of the world, the focus on digitization and reliance on call centers will continue to rise. This may be necessary to help healthcare providers combat the next pandemic.
Call Centers Are Becoming Increasingly Important for Healthcare Centers
Healthcare providers need to find ways to operate more efficiently, which may involve using call centers to offer a better service to their users. Professional call centers are crucial for health centers trying to operate efficiently. Agile, efficient, and effective call center providers will reinforce the patient’s confidence in their healthcare providers. They can also help hospitals be ready for the next pandemic.
Patients don’t have any visual context when speaking with a healthcare call center representative. Therefore, factors such as the response time and empathy are necessary to offer a good experience. Healthcare providers can user services like that offer call tracking services to monitor performance of their call centers.
Unfortunately, during this time, due to the pandemic, making an appointment, calling for a consultation, or canceling a visit has, on many occasions, become an impossible task. This has highlighted the deficiencies in public health, which many professionals were already trying to address before COVID. Call centers also have to be managed efficiently, since wait times tripled during the pandemic.
The increase in calls to primary care centers, the lack of staff to deal with them, and the overload of care has led to a considerable decrease in the quality of service. This has also meant increased staff stress due to the impossibility of handling all calls as they should be.
Technology and innovation are crucial for solving this long-standing problem. Healthcare providers should implement appropriate technologies to address these concerns. They need to make sure that they look into the right solutions, since quality varies considerably. This underscores the importance of lead management in any business in today’s world.
It should be noted that many autonomous communities have already started incorporating the callback option for hospitals or health centers. This guarantees patients can access the service over the telephone, which ensures a better level of care and helps address their concerns without the risk of phone line saturation. It also reduces stress for professionals, and significantly reduces task duplication.
For example, some centers have already implemented systems that receive the user’s call and request their telephone number to provide them with an interactive response, informing them when they will receive their call and be attended to. In addition, this system allows the administrative staff to visualize all the pending calls to be made, thus offering the possibility of making reports that allow planning of the necessary personnel resources, depending on a greater or lesser number of calls.
Call Centers Offer a Number of Huge Benefits for Healthcare Providers
Failure to keep an unannounced medical appointment results in a series of setbacks and millions of dollars in losses for the healthcare system. In addition, this wastes human resources and increases waiting lists. To make patients aware of this problem, they should be made aware of the need for collaboration in properly managing the resources available to the health system. For all this, it is essential to provide them with a simple channel so that they can confirm or cancel an appointment.
Some of the keys to solving these problems would be to optimize healthcare resources through SMS, a safe and effective system for reaching the population since the cell phone is integrated into our daily lives. The effectiveness of SMS is comparable to telephone calls but at a lower cost.
SMSBoomerang is an appointment reminder by SMS, which helps to make management more effective, as it reminds the user of the date and time of his medical appointment and gives him the possibility to cancel, reschedule or talk to his health center through a link contained in the same message, makes everything more accessible and easier for him. At the same time, SMSBoomerang sends the information provided by the patient to the health center in real-time, helping to balance schedules and anticipate possible absences.
Being able to reschedule all these postponed appointments effectively has been, and continues to be, one of the significant challenges facing the healthcare sector today.