Objectives of a Successful Medical Call Center Partnership
Many hospitals, practices, and healthcare groups have opted to close their internal triage call centers in favor of outsourcing, and although there are many reasons to make the change from an internal to external nurse call center, typically, the top motivation is financial.
The actual transition, however, can be stressful for the healthcare group as they wonder if they’ve made the right decision, and wonder if the partnered company has what it takes to foster a successful partnership.
We’ve outlined four objectives that help to identify what a successful medical call center partnership should look like.
1. Client & Caller Cultures are Understood
It’s important that the partnered medical call center understands both the client and the caller cultures from day one.
Cultures are inevitably going to vary widely from city-to-city, from state-to-state, and from caller-to-caller, so the medical call center needs to be aware of the culture of the callers, because it will often dictate the culture of the internal call center that they’re replacing.
For example, a nurse triage call center may have traditionally serviced large populations of educated, college or graduate-level students. It would be within the culture of these student-callers to ask in-depth, technical questions regarding the physiologies of their diseases and ailments.
The previous call center would have had to adapt to this, creating an internal culture that encouraged and fostered continued education, so that they were more capable of answering the student-caller queries.
The outsourced medical call center would need to be made aware of these two intertwined cultures, and would need to adapt their plans and services accordingly, ensuring that the student-callers would not just be able to receive appropriate treatment and advice levels, but would also leave the call satisfied, and with answers to their questions.
2. The Emotional Impact of Outsourcing is Managed
As internal nurse call centers run and operate, some nurses may develop intimate knowledge of patients, procedures, or physician’s personalities and standards of practice.
When outsourcing a medical call center, these highly experienced and highly knowledgeable nurses, as well as other highly valued personnel, may need to be reassigned or laid-off, which can result in anger, distrust, and malcompliance, so it’s important that both the hospital and new service provider be sensitive to these situations, and honor the work and experience of their staff.
Existing call center managers can often become effective implementation project managers, bringing tremendous value to establishing well-functioning services for the client healthcare group.
3. Determine Optimization Opportunities & Ensure a Seamless Transfer
It’s essential that the outsourced call center learns the services that the existing call center delivers, and makes sure that they can continue to provide the services at the same (or higher) quality level.
Before any changes are suggested, however, it’s imperative that a detailed discovery process be completed. This discovery process would include an in-depth review of call flows and reports, and sitting down with the client healthcare group to define what patient experience they would like the callers to have.
After this in-depth meeting takes place, the outsourced call center and the client can begin determining a transitory plan.
4. Provide a Dedicated Account Manager
After all of the initial knowledge-transfer meetings have taken place, and after the transition has occurred, it’s up to the dedicated account manager to ensure that things go according to schedule.
The dedicated, strategic account manager should continually be checking that the medical call center is serving in the best interests of the client, and should be involved from the start of implementation so that they’re aware of the culture, practices, and goals of the healthcare organization.
The account managers should make sure that the nurse triage call center is on top of every issue from day one, and that the nurses are caring for the patients in an effective, compassionate manner.