Call Center Vetting: What to Look For, What to Ask, and Why It Matters
Outsourcing a medical call center or adding one to your team can seem like an overly daunting task. If you’re considering partnering with one, you may be wondering what questions you should ask, what you should be looking for, or if that even matters.
What to Ask Yourself When Shopping For a Medical Call Center
Determining the services that your organization may want now or in the future is essential to ensuring that you find the right partner. By asking yourself the questions below, you can better define exactly what your organization needs to be more productive in the office while delivering better care and access to sound medical advice for your patients.
- What are the objectives that we hope to achieve by partnering with a medical call center?
- What specific issues do we hope to resolve?
- What services do we need?
- Are we looking for nurse triage services that are specifically provided by an RN that is licensed in the states that our patients will be calling from?
- What level of call volume should the call center partner expect?
- Do we have a set date and time when we want the call center services to be active?
- What level of involvement will our physicians want after-hours?
- Do we want to relieve the front desk of appointment scheduling duties and have the call center provide those services?
- Is it important to your physicians that the call center have a record interface to your EMR system?
After you’ve determined what you need from your medical call center partnership, you’re ready to narrow your choices by contacting only the call centers that provide the services on your list. You may find that your list of candidate call centers offer other services as well that may be of interest to your group.
Keep in mind that if you need a phased approach, you’ll need to check with your candidate call center providers to ensure that they have the ability to add other services you might need after you’re already partnered.
What to Look For When Selecting a Medical Call Center
There can be many factors at play when determining which call center is the best fit for your organization’s needs. When surveying your candidate call centers, some of the things you should look for are:
- Agents trained in HIPAA compliance processes
- Whether the call center nurses are licensed or registered in the states that your patients will be calling from, and whether they have received phone triage training
- The call center’s security protocols that are in place to safeguard personal health information and prevent security breaches
- The call center communications networks; whether they employ encrypted end-to-end communications and automatic deletion of electronic files or not
- How records are stored: on-site, via a third party, or in the cloud, or some combination of the three
- Call center emergency disaster plans and procedures
- How the agents were trained and how they are evaluated
- The multilingual capabilities of the agents
- The frequency and quality of reporting for use in internal improvement
- The analytics that are reported on – call volume, length of call, average wait time. etc.
- Whether you will be provided with a dedicated account manager or not
Why the Vetting Process Matters
Patient engagement may be difficult for physician practices and hospitals to influence outside of their office hours. By selecting the right medical call center that can become a symbiotic partner, physician practices and hospitals of any size can offer 24-hour access to high-quality and experienced medical professionals who also become valuable strategic assets to the practice’s or hospital’s Patient Engagement programs.
Unfortunately, one-size-fits-all solutions don’t exist for healthcare, and the needs and benefits gained from partnering with a medical call center will vary from facility-to-facility and practice-to-practice.
Choosing a medical call center that can customize their offerings to meet your specific needs is key to ensuring that your patients are cared for when you’re not available. The right call center can help your organization succeed by helping you reduce wait times, improve patient satisfaction and retention rates, and ensure a more efficient utilization of your staff.