Options for Achieving the Strategic and Operational Imperatives of Call Centers
Marketing leaders understand the strategic importance of call centers. High-quality call centers build patient loyalty and drive increased provider utilization rates. Which option is best?
// By Yuriy Kotlyar //
The explosion of digital health tools for communicating with patients can make call centers seem like yesterday’s news. Of course, experience shows health care marketing leaders the strategic value of a high-functioning, efficient call center.
Many patients enjoy the conveniences of digital communication tools — self-scheduling, receiving test results and appointment reminders, researching specialists — when those tools can solve their problem. But even digitally savvy patients often need human assistance. They need help navigating the widening array of care options. They also need answers to myriad questions about their financial responsibility, insurance coverage, pre-authorizations, and other complex issues.
Helping patients answer these questions helps them get the care they need, improves the care experience, and builds loyalty. Call centers can also drive revenue by matching patient demand with provider capacity.
To achieve these strategic goals, health system marketing leaders must be prepared to take on the significant operational challenges of call centers. Here, we detail the challenges of an owned-and-operated (O-and-O) call center and then consider how three alternatives — outsourced management, a hybrid model that adds outside capacity to an O-and-O call center, and a fully outsourced call center — address those challenges.