By Donna Martin, senior vice president, Healthcare Business Development, HGS.
Hospitals and health plans are competing ever more fiercely to gain and retain patient/member relationships. This means changing with the times to bring differentiators that address today’s challenges. In light of COVID-19, for example, hospitals nationwide are deploying bot, AI, IVR, and telemedicine solutions to support the growing need for patient self-guidance.
Tech adoption is fast emerging as a strategy for those in need to access quick, accurate advice and the coronavirus is only accelerating the pace. Before COVID-19 hit California, the all-time daily high for Stanford Children’s Health, as an example, was 35 televisits. But, recently, their clinicians conducted 500 in one day.
As healthcare organizations constantly work to enhance their brand adoption — first impressions are critical. With millions of healthcare calls overwhelming call centers, there’s a need to satisfy customers with a mix of digital technology and traditional service, like for example, nurse support of COVID-19 calls.
Partnering to add critically needed professionals, using an omni-channel nurse triage service, staffed with qualified registered nurses providing front-line support for COVID-19 callers, will enable healthcare providers to focus on critical case requirements. HGS recently launched a full suite of business continuity solutions designed to immediately help clients and employees manage contact center spikes during the COVID-19 crisis.
From virtual chat, to pivoting to other non-voice channels and social media management, healthcare organizations understand the lifecycle importance of these new technologies—from brand awareness to offering patient access options. Think of a patient who simply wants to schedule an appointment, ask a question about a treatment plan, or request a referral. Are they confronted with a myriad of questions, outdated legacy options or poorly automated selection menus? Are they routed endlessly among call service operators and forced to relay the same information over and over again?
Ultimately, patient contact centers should drive accuracy and efficiency with seamless patient engagement , reducing frustration and time spent by caregivers and patients fishing around for answers to their questions. If airline carriers know their customers’ preferred seating arrangement and hotels know their visitors’ preferred floor and room inclusions, then healthcare provider contact centers should strive to anticipate the needs of their patients in a much more proactive manner.
To support these modernized contact centers provider organizations are making significant investments to provide a unified and frictionless experience across channels and preferences. Additionally, these organizations are aligning process innovation and solutioning along the touchpoints of a holistic, engaged consumer journey.
Today’s digital natives are maturing into a healthcare ecosystem offering self-service channels that help customers get the right answer quickly. Healthcare organizations must also offer hyper-personalized and consistent experiences with cross-channel, analytically-enhanced correspondence.
Post COVID-19, providers will turn increasingly to the next generation of data analytics and the use of cognitive AI. From tracking and screening of biometrics, and preventive care based on personalized data, best-practice providers are deploying analytics to enhance their ability to guide individuals with their personal health requirements.
Watch for leading providers to make investments in digital, omnichannel, AI and analytics capabilities in order to raise the bar on optimizing the experience. Providers have a phenomenal amount of data at their disposal – from claims, labs, and other sources – but using it effectively to anticipate the needs of patients with razor-focused accuracy remains a challenge for most.
As this shift occurs and healthcare organizations move toward a more individualized focus, business process management (BPM) providers can greatly assist with addressing these changes and shorten the learning curves that may exist. The fact that most BPMs have existing relationships with clients who have long emphasized customer experience, such as retail and e-tail, makes them the perfect resource to leverage for providing guidance and implementing these new strategies.