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3 Trends in Healthcare Contact Centers to Improve Patient Experience

Healthcare facilities must do everything they can to ensure excellent patient experiences — and having a strong, unified contact center can differentiate them from the competition.

In an era of increased competition and greater budgetary constraints, hospitals must not only provide excellent patient care, but also an outstanding patient experience at any digital interaction point. In other words, hospitals must think like a business by differentiating their brand from the competition, then acting on their mission to serve patients every step of the way. 

With the rapid adoption of telemedicine and numerous new retail entrants into the healthcare provider space, hospitals are looking past the traditional methods of providing patient access. People have more options than ever to receive care, further placing pressure on hospitals to provide more personalized and interactive services.  

Whether a person is an existing patient or a future one, every contact point matters, and hospitals must leverage the best technology available to secure and ensure positive patient experiences — or risk losing revenue.

Here are three key trends in healthcare contact center operations to look out for to improve patient experience at your hospital.

1. Consumerization

Healthcare providers are looking for innovative ways to provide better patient experiences. One way to establish your foundation is to infuse artificial intelligence into your contact center. With AI technology, you can direct callers to the right departments easily — freeing up live agents’ time — and help notify patients via text message to remind them to follow up on appointments and referrals.

We know that patients often lose important information written down on paper, so with smart reminders, your healthcare provider can ensure a continuum of patient care and reclaim previously lost revenue. 

When your services cater to each patient’s individual needs, the result is enhanced patient outcomes and engagement.

2. Standardization

It’s no surprise that hospitals are bogged down daily with dated, complicated and overlapping systems, especially with contact centers. I’ve met with many healthcare facilities using as many as five different contact center systems simultaneously, often due to mergers and acquisitions.

When you take the time and effort to standardize contact center platforms, you will perform a great service for your patients and employees (IT staff included). By standardizing platforms, you can eliminate unnecessary costs and provide a smoother patient experience through reduced complexity.

Standardization is also important in an age of AI as collecting relevant data points along the journey is what enables systems to provide personalized experiences. Analytics and automation are made easier when using a single system for the patient journey.

3. Cloud

Before COVID-19, many healthcare facilities were resistant to migrating their contact centers to the cloud. During the pandemic, many learned a hard lesson when their contact centers were swamped and rendered ineffective, unable to handle the huge influx of calls from concerned patients. 

Today, it’s a must for your contact center to be integrated into the cloud. You will increase scalability and gain access to AI-assisted features including self-service for patients. Another advantage for healthcare is the ability to be kept updated with the newest features. Due to the need for 24/7 operations in healthcare, finding the time for upgrades is often difficult. Having the contact center in the cloud alleviates that concern. 

If your contact center’s main phone line offers a host of options that patients need to hear before pressing a button, you’re behind the times. Instead, leverage conversational AI to allow them to speak where they need to go to. Your contact center should also deliver information intuitively into agents’ hands so that they can personalize calls. The easier you make it for your agents to provide your patients with outstanding service, the happier everyone will be.

Ready to Springboard Automation in Your Contact Center? CDW Can Assist

Whether you’re in the planning phase or ready to deploy a virtual bot into your healthcare contact center, CDW is here to help. Our experts carry the knowledge to apply solutions to any challenge to give you a 360-degree view of patient care.

By deploying virtual agents to automate otherwise time-consuming tasks, we have reduced contact center costs significantly for our healthcare customers.

Scott Merritt

CDW Expert
Scott Merritt is a patient experience architect at CDW with over 20 years of experience in the contact center space. He has worked with some of the largest healthcare systems in the U.S. on streamlining their digital experience. Merritt covers CDW’s Healthcare vertical for the East Coast and Great Lakes regions.