Whether it be a hospital, a clinic, or a private practice, health call centers have three primary tasks: directing patients to doctors, sending appointment reminders, and answering patient questions. But call centers problems run amok. Phone tag, long wait times, and dropped calls are just a few problems that agents and patients encounter.
Fortunately, text messaging offers a solution to call center woes. By helping with a call center’s three primary tasks, a mobile platform can help call center save on costs and cut down on patient wait times. Here’s how it works.
1) Checking doctor availability
Patients who call in to book appointments often deal with long wait times, unanswered voicemails, and difficulty coordinating schedules. Our mobile platform offers a solution that bypasses these hang-ups and offers patients information on-the-go: a text message information look-up service.
Healthcare providers can sync doctor schedules with a text message database so patients can see when doctors are available without having to go online or call in. By texting in the name of a doctor, a patient can receive a text message response listing the next available appointment slots. The patient can then decide whether or not to book an appointment given this information. Patients who call in are more prepared and know exactly which appointment slot they wish to book, rather than having to go through the process with a call center agent.
The California Department of Public Health offered a similar service by creating a text message flu shot locator. By making health information easily accessible for the public, more people were able to get vaccinated and stay healthy.
2) Sending appointment reminders
Much of a call center’s work is wrapped up in the cumbersome task of calling patients to remind them of upcoming appointments and receive confirmations that they will show up. Our mobile platform makes it simple to send out automated text messages to patients reminding them of their appointments. The patient can then confirm the appointment through a simple text message response. By automating this simple process, call center agents can save valuable time and direct their attention to more pressing matters.
Blood Systems found that when they used text messaging to remind their patients of appointments, there was a 57 percent increase in attendance rates compared to those who received phone calls!
3) Offering immediate responses to patient questions
Patients often call their doctor when they experience symptoms that they need advice on. However, long phone call wait times can cause patients to panic or delay seeking medical attention. Call center agents can help advise patients by sending text messages to quickly assess the situation and send pre-written responses to patients on how they should proceed.
One message, for example, might tell patients to stay put for now and keep monitoring their condition. Another might ask them to call in to schedule an appointment when convenient. When the situation requires immediate attention, the patient can immediately be routed to 911.
Texting also automatically creates a record of the conversation between patients and agents that can be used for future reference. This feature allows agents to refer cases to one another if necessary, and makes it easier for certain patient cases to be passed off from a call agent to a health practitioner.
Patients respond well to text messaging because it is immediate, personable, and more efficient than all other communication channels. And call centers can drastically cut costs with a mobile platform by decreasing the amount of time staff need to spend manning phone lines and communicating important information to patients.
Want to learn more about text messaging and healthcare solutions? Contact us today.