Call Center or Contact Center?
Technology Provides More Communication Channels to Serve Patients Better
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.
The label of call center referencing outward-facing communications is a historically accurate term. At one time, it handled calls from a central location. Hence, we formed a descriptively accurate name of call center.
But many call centers have moved beyond calls to embrace a more inclusive descriptor of contacts. It’s likely your operation has, too—or plans to do so.
Here are some of the communication channels available to call centers:
Calls: Yes, calls still make up the bulk of contacts for most operations. While older generations tend to prefer phone calls and younger generations tend to avoid them, the complex nature of healthcare communications often makes the telephone the most efficient and effective communication channel. This will continue to be the case until a channel emerges that’s more efficient and effective.
Text Chat: Overall, younger demographics like to text. As such, text chat has emerged as a channel of choice for many consumers, and a preferred channel for many contact centers. It’s easier to juggle multiple text chats than phone calls. Also, whereas phone callers hope to not be placed on hold and expect immediate interaction, text chat users tolerate—and even accept—some short communication lags.
Email: While text chat is a preferred channel for many, email remains the go-to choice for others. Though futurists continue to predict its demise, email has persisted as a default communication channel. Email shines in its ability to facilitate longer and more complex communications.
A benefit of email is that its users expect time delays. This allows email to dovetail nicely into an operation’s workflow, mixing the real-time expectation for phone calls and the near-time expectation for text chat. Even so, email users will not tolerate a long delay. A few hours is an acceptable interval, with same-day response being the minimum expectation.
Social Media: A fourth channel consideration is social media. For some users, it’s their default communication option. Though most healthcare-related communications are inappropriate for social media, providers should still monitor it to be aware of requests and handle what they can on social media. For overtures that carry a privacy concern, social media can still serve as an initial contact point, which can then more appropriately migrate to another channel.
Summary: Though many still think of a call center as handling phone calls, we must embrace an expanded vision of processing other communication channels. This includes text chat, email, and social media. And we must stand poised to embrace future channels as they develop.
Top Five AI Innovations to Improve Patient Experience in Medical Clinics
By Michael C. McMillan
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is revolutionizing the healthcare industry, providing new opportunities to enhance patient experience in medical clinics. Here are the top five AI innovations that can significantly improve patient experience. These lead to higher satisfaction rates and better overall outcomes.
1. AI-powered Chatbots and Virtual Assistants: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are becoming increasingly popular in medical clinics, offering patients instant access to information and support. These tools handle tasks such as appointment scheduling, symptom checking, and answering general health queries. Chatbots can also reduce waiting times, as they can simultaneously address multiple patients, freeing clinic staff to focus on more complex issues.
2. AI-enhanced Telemedicine: Telemedicine has gained traction recently, providing patients with remote access to healthcare services. AI technology can improve the telemedicine experience by enabling more accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendations. AI algorithms can help doctors make better-informed decisions by analyzing patient data and medical images, ensuring a high-quality virtual consultation (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).
3. AI-driven Personalized Treatment Plans: AI technology can analyze vast amounts of patient data to generate personalized treatment plans, enhancing the patient experience to offer tailored care. By considering factors such as medical history, genetic information, and lifestyle habits, AI algorithms can predict each individual’s most effective treatments and interventions, leading to better health outcomes.
4. AI-based Predictive Analytics for Improved Resource Management: Predictive analytics using AI can help medical clinics optimize resource allocation, ensuring patients have access to the care they need when they need it. AI algorithms can forecast patient demand, allowing clinics to adjust staffing levels and plan for traffic peaks, reducing wait times and improving the overall patient experience (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).
5. AI-supported Patient Monitoring and Follow-up: AI can facilitate remote patient monitoring, allowing medical clinics to track patient progress and detect potential complications early. With the use of wearable devices and AI algorithms, clinics can gather and analyze patient data in real time, enabling proactive interventions and follow-up. This technology can also reduce the need for in-person visits, providing patients a more convenient and cost-effective healthcare experience.
AI technology is paving the way for improved patient experience in medical clinics. By implementing AI-powered chatbots, enhancing telemedicine capabilities, offering personalized treatment plans, optimizing resource management, and supporting patient monitoring, medical clinics can significantly improve patient satisfaction and overall healthcare outcomes. As AI technology continues to evolve, the potential for further advancements in patient experience is limitless.
Michael McMillan, an influential thought leader and keynote speaker, specializes in customer experience (CX) and patient experience (PX) innovation. With expertise in healthcare, technology, and call center outsourcing, Michael has a unique understanding of exceptional customer and patient experiences. His TEDx speech on empathy and human connection demonstrates his passion for meaningful connections, making him a trailblazer at the intersection of technology, healthcare, and customer experience.
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A Thought for Today
“It is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterward.”