The following is a guest blog post by Chelsea Kimbrough from Stericycle Communication Solutions, as part of the Communication Solutions Series of blog posts. Follow and engage with them on Twitter: @StericycleComms
Creating excellent patient experiences is the focus of nearly every healthcare organization. To do this, providers are increasingly turning to new patient engagement tools and technologies. It’s important to note, however, that patient experience woes cannot be mended with technology alone. The healthcare professionals facilitating communications and care will always play an integral role in patients’ overall satisfaction and loyalty.
Unfortunately, those providing in-person care are often distracted from important patient-facing responsibilities by front office tasks. Thankfully, many modern engagement tools are able to create more seamless operational workflows for healthcare professionals in tandem with enhanced patient experiences. But with the market growing increasingly competitive, it’s important to pick the tools and technologies that best serves both populations.
Outlined below are three steps healthcare organizations can take to create a more enjoyable workplace for their staff and what key capabilities are necessary to ensure the greatest ROI.
- Lessen the number of phone calls
If the phone isn’t demanding attention, healthcare professionals are better able to focus their talent and effort on the patients and people in more immediate need of their expertise. This ability drives better health outcomes, operational efficiencies, and patient experiences.
Telephone answering solutions and technology help achieve these results. However, it’s important whoever is answering your phones is prepared to handle any question, task, language, or call volume. Unfortunately, many internally-run call answering solutions are unable to swiftly manage fluctuating call volumes. By partnering with a third-party telephone answering service, healthcare organizations can ensure every call is met with exceptional care.
When searching for a call center solution, healthcare organization should seek:
- Flexible call answering solutions
- Multilingual live agent support
- Control over call flow & scripting
- Proven experience & expertise
- Automate appointment reminders
Patients crave convenient experiences – and so do healthcare professionals. Automating informational messages to patients, such as appointment reminders, population health notifications, and relevant event announcements, removes part of this communication responsibility from staff, directly enabling them to focus on in-person care.
It’s important, however, that this particular service is able to integrate with the health systems’ EHR or EMR. This ability enables the health system to target a patient’s contact method of choice when sending automated messages, seamlessly enhancing their experience. And by communicating every interaction with the health system, staff members are kept informed and prepared to meet patients’ needs should they choose to reach out.
When searching for a messaging solution, healthcare organization should seek:
- Email, voice, and text messaging capabilities
- Patient-specific customization
- Easy message deployment
- EHR/EMR connectivity
- Optimize patient scheduling
Patients of all ages can benefit from a smoother appointment scheduling processes – and for many patients, online scheduling is the answer. By eliminating the need for a timely phone call, online scheduling better fits into the digitally-driven lives of today’s patients. And when implemented properly, online scheduling can directly benefit both telephone answering and automated messaging, too.
Because scheduling an appointment should be a pain-free process, healthcare organizations should simplify it by sending an automated reminder with a unique, secure link to digitally schedule an appointment from their phone, laptop, or other internet connected device. By choosing a tool that automatically communicates this information with the health system’s EHR, patients can call about their appointment and receive consistently accurate information no matter what healthcare employee answers the phone. What’s more, this particular patient engagement tool lessens the appointment scheduling burdening from staff, enabling them to provide better in-person care.
When searching for an appointment scheduling solution, healthcare organization should seek:
- Intuitive, user-friendly tools
- Accurate appointment availability
- Easy message deployment
- EHR/EMR connectivity
When the right communication tools and technologies are implemented, entire healthcare organizations thrive. With the above three strategies and the technologies associated with them in place, healthcare professionals can better focus on patients with the reassurance their phones are answered by trained professionals, important messages are promptly delivered, and schedules are being filled.
Healthcare organizations that implement communication tools and technologies that benefit both patients and staff are better positioned to have happier, more satisfied team members. And with a happier staff tending to patients’ healthcare needs, organizations can better safeguard patient loyalty for years to come.
The Communication Solutions Series of blog posts is sponsored by Stericycle Communication Solutions, a leading provider of high quality telephone answering, appointment scheduling, and automated communication services. Stericycle Communication Solutions combines a human touch with innovative technology to deliver best-in-class communication services. Connect with Stericycle Communication Solutions on social media: @StericycleComms