The Healthcare Paradigm
Part 1: Improving the Patient Experience with ShoreTel Contact Center
By Chris Recio, Dir. Contact Center & Advanced Applications
The Healthcare Paradigm is a two-part series that discusses how Contact Centers can help address patient needs and how to design your organization for this paradigm shift.
Healthcare is a very personal experience. There are probably very few industries where patience and urgency go hand-in-hand, depending upon your need. While many healthcare providers understand the relationship of the contact center to providing exceptional client services, I visit quite a few healthcare operations that struggle with the idea of “contact center” when it comes to providing services to their clients/patients.
In my personal experience, I have gone to my physician’s office or to my dentist’s office, only to be greeted by the front office staff who are simultaneously answering phone calls from other patients and callers. I get it. But at times I have stood at the counter where front office personnel say “Sorry. I have to get this call” and then proceed to turn their back on me or look past me while I stand there and someone else is asking endless questions, or so it seems, given the amount of time it takes before the clerk has time to dedicate to my needs.
Frankly, I find it inexcusable as my presence in front of them is of equal importance and I have an appointment. So, how does a healthcare provider bridge the gap in providing improved service, either in person or over the phone?
The answer to this dilemma is in a paradigm shift that must take place.
The term contact center is often a dirty word, depending upon one’s perception, especially those that have likely gone to school to gain a professional career in, say, healthcare for example. Most all healthcare professionals are dedicated to their careers. The pride and focus that healthcare individuals put into their chosen profession is nothing less than selfless. It takes a special kind of individual who chooses healthcare as a profession. It goes without saying being an agent in the contact center is not on the top of their lists as part of their given profession.
This perception is especially challenging for the healthcare provider attempting to gain an edge on their operation by providing a great patient/client experience. But more and more healthcare providers are deploying a contact center strategy giving them greater opportunity for growth, and more importantly, gaining huge strides in the patient/client experience. And when it’s done well, it’s easy to see.
I recently relocated to a city approximately 100+ miles away from where I had lived for more than 15 years. In doing so, I found it necessary to look for healthcare service providers in my area. Fortunately, I found a fantastic facility, and I have been incredibly impressed by their focus on the patient/client service.
From the moment I called the facility to book my first appointment, the experience was top notch. After my initial intake call, I was emailed the appropriate New Patient information via email. When I went to the actual appointment, things continued to get better. I was greeted the moment I walked through the door by the front desk staff. As I gave my name, I noticed not a single phone rang and I was asked for my completed New Patient packet. Then I was told that the staff would be with me within 10 minutes. Sure enough, a nurse called my name, took me in the back, did the requisite routine that we are familiar with and then escorted me to my room, where the excellent experience continued. The doctor was with me within 10 minutes of being escorted back, and upon completion, of my appointment I was taken to the administration office to finalize my paperwork, set me up with an online portal to communicate directly with the office staff, the doctor, and then I was on my way. After being home for a day, I received a phone call from the facility – a Patient Satisfaction Survey. Of course, I gave them 5 stars. From start to finish, the experience was stellar.
The common theme we have seen with our successful healthcare clients is they have made the leap from a basic telephone system to deploying the ShoreTel Contact Center solution.
Many of our current healthcare customers who have made the shift into adding a ShoreTel Contact Center operation as part of their facility have seen excellent results in patient satisfaction and retention.
In deploying a ShoreTel Contact Center solution these operations have centralized their patient/client communication within a contact center operation and this change in process has allowed in-office staff to stay focused on the patient experience.
We work with several healthcare clients in shifting this paradigm, improving patient experience, and laying the ground to support growth. We offer custom solutions because we know no two operations are the same. That’s why we approach each encounter individually, and a great part of that process is in assessing knowledge gaps and operational know-how through our CCSM (Contact Center Success Manager) Program. This is a custom engagement with each client using our over 20 years of experience to help give our clients an edge in their operation.
Together, we work side-by-side with our clients at multiple levels to chart a path for success. From the Executive teams to the Technical teams and alongside the Operational teams, our program touches every aspect of the business and operation. We take in to account the importance of every business unit their individual goals in making our recommendations for improved efficiency.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Healthcare Paradigm and how to deploy the ShoreTel Contact Center solution for a better organization from the inside out, make sure to check the blog next week for part 2 of this healthcare series.