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The Role of Contact Centers in Improving Patient Experiences in 2022

Five Themes Emerge on How Innovative Contact Center Technology Can Help Healthcare Organizations Enhance the Patient Experience

Healthcare contact center

A recent webinar with Steve Leaden, president and founder of Leaden Associates, which designs enterprise communication strategies for US healthcare organizations, and Patty Hayward, head of provider and payer strategy at Talkdesk, provided insight into how healthcare organizations are currently using and intending to use innovative contact center technology to enhance the patient experience (PX). As backdrop, five emergent trends and themes from a global study of healthcare providers and consumers were shared as part of that discussion to highlight ways for providers to transform PX if they are to evolve how they deliver an improved experience in the patient journey:

  1. Providers aspire to reimagine the PX: With 75% of patients reporting they are more loyal to providers that invest in improving the PX, 87% of healthcare CX professionals agree they need to be able to differentiate their brand based on it. Their desire to improve the PX is strong and investments are being made. More than half of healthcare consumers expect providers to offer digital capabilities and they choose providers based on those capabilities.
  2. A fragmented patient journey is costing providers: Many systems and workflows in healthcare are currently siloed, including contact centers. Accordingly, 63% of patients say their provider is not capable of providing an excellent experience in a completely digital way. The stakes to address this are high; 67% of patients report that a single poor patient service experience will negatively impact their brand loyalty.
  3. Modern contact centers are integral to driving a unified and seamless PX: Providers are reconsidering how the customer service function influences the PX, and turning to modern cloud contact centers to leverage capabilities that go beyond today’s issue resolution. Two-thirds of PX professionals (69%) report that positioning the contact center as a strategic asset is a high priority, but more than half (57%) report that on-premises systems currently limit their ability to improve the PX. There is a need among providers to transition to cloud-based centers.
  4. Contact centers’ new role is care coordination: The opportunity to elevate the purpose of the contact center from issue resolution to care coordination can supercharge PX transformation. Providers are looking beyond what their contact center currently handles to imagine how it can facilitate inbound and outbound interactions that proactively serve patient needs, such as providing next-best action recommendations. Currently, only 28% of providers use artificial intelligence (AI) to fuel recommended actions, but 46% anticipate doing so within two years.
  5. Contact centers can excel at patient and business intelligence: The pressure is on to extract more data from the contact center to inform strategic business and PX decisions. Among PX professionals, 73% cite deeper patient insights for the organization as a high priority, and 81% are seeing increased demand for patient feedback from the contact center compared to last year. Modern cloud contact centers can offer a rich, accessible repository of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)-compliant data to provide real-time collection and analysis through AI.

As the healthcare sector becomes increasingly sensitized about the PX and ensuring that patients have similar personalized and proactive experiences across multiple channels, call center technology implementations are evolving. Organizations are moving toward cloud-based communications platform as a service (CPaaS), rather than using applications created specifically for communications purposes. Not only does CPaaS allow customers to add real-time communications capabilities, such as voice, video, and messaging, to their business applications, but it can also achieve scale at a lower cost with a more modular, flexible design. The ability to leverage electronic medical records (EMRs) and other patient data on these platforms and apply AI to enhance the PX when scheduling appointments and providing direct feedback will allow call centers to automate patient experience as a service, while also offering opportunities to improve contact center productivity by enabling quicker response times and fewer abandoned calls, as well as boosting workforce productivity and morale by supporting human agents with being more empathetic in the moment and effective in resolving patient queries in a timely manner.

Author Information

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Andrew Broderick is a Senior Analyst contributing to Dash Research’s CX Advisory Service as well as Dash Network’s ongoing editorial coverage of Healthcare CX and Patient Experience. Based in San Francisco, Broderick has more than 20 years’ experience in technology research, analysis, and consulting, including an extensive background in digital health technologies and business practices.

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