A Healthy ROI Depends on Effective Communication
We all know that communication is everything. Without effective communication, our personal lives can become a tangled mess. On the professional side, a lack of effective communication can end up costing companies time and money.
For the medical profession, effective communication takes an even greater focus. Healthcare facilities and patients alike, rely on clear communication pathways that relay critical information, and this certainly rings true when it comes to managing a healthcare contact center. From appointment setting, appointment reminders, and inbound calls, to back-office support, database management and more, a well-functioning medical contact center:
- Reduces the number and frequency of patient no-shows
- Strengthens operational efficiencies
- Improves both patient and medical practitioner satisfaction
- Saves time and money (streamlining resources and expenses)
Still not convinced that effective communication matters? A recent study surveyed over 2,000 American respondents aged 18+ who currently own smartphones. The aim of the study was to determine the importance of over-the-phone communication when interacting with businesses. The study revealed the top three reasons why people call businesses:
- 46% need a quick answer
- 22% want to express a concern
- 15% want expert advice
And healthcare facilities were listed among the top three industries people want to contact by phone. In fact, much of a healthcare facility’s healthy ROI depends on effective over-the-phone communication:
Choosing to invest in a high-functioning contact center can make all the difference for both you and your patients. There are also a great many government incentives (and penalties) for healthcare facilities to consider when it comes to effective patient communication.
Federal Government Healthcare Incentives and Penalties
Over the past decade, there has been a gradual shift in the US healthcare system toward a value-based model. This shift is due in large part to both federal government initiatives and a growing number of patients who expect a higher quality healthcare experience. Medical facilities that invest in effective patient communication will reap the benefits.
In 2006, the CMS introduced a patient satisfaction survey known as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). The survey is administered to patients 18+ and measures their overall perspective of their hospital care. Patients can only be surveyed between 48 hours and six weeks following discharge in one of the four modes listed below:
- Mail Only
- Telephone Only
- Mail with Telephone Follow-Up (Mixed Mode)
- Active Interactive VoiceResponse (IVR)
Hospitals who receive a favorable score (based on a five-star rating) not only strengthen their overall reputation, but also stand to gain monetary reimbursement from the federal government.
The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) was introduced under the Affordable Care Act in the fall of 2012. The program’s aim is to help reduce the frequency of hospital 30-day readmissions by encouraging more effective communication processes.
HRRP tracks 30-day readmission rates for Medicare patients admitted initially for six targeted conditions.The data collected is then used to calculate an Excess Readmission Ratio (ERR). It is this ERR that determines the rate at which hospitals will be penalized. Medical facilities that receive an ERR greater than one, risk losing up to three percent reimbursement for their Medicare patient admissions.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that:
“No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
In 2010, Section 1557 was enacted as a provision of Title VI, and extends nondiscrimination protections to individuals who participate in:
- Any health program or activity which receives funding from Health and Human Services (HHS)
- Any health program or activity that HHS administers
- Health insurance marketplaces and all plans offered by issuers that participate in those marketplaces.
HHS randomly frequents healthcare organizations (and their third-party BPOs) to ensure compliance, and thoroughly investigates Section 1557 violation complaints. Should they determine that a healthcare facility is in violation of Section 1557, HHS will notify them in writing and require that they take corrective action. If the facility still fails to take corrective action within a reasonable time frame, HHS may refer the facility to the Department of Justice for enforcement action, and steps may be taken to terminate Federal financial assistance.
Challenges to Managing an In-House Contact Center
Some healthcare facilities prefer to invest in an on-premise contact center to handle all their appointment reminders. While this might work for some smaller medical clinics, it does present challenges. Running an in-house contact center requires the purchase and maintenance of expensive contact center equipment, as well as the hiring and training of additional and qualified staff to handle the increased call volume during your facility’s peak hours. It also requires facilities to invest in a team of qualified human resource professionals to oversee and manage the day-to-day contact center operations.
Another challenge for healthcare facilities is ensuring that they are legally compliant. Section 1557 requires any medical facility receiving Medicaid and Medicare funding to provide language access to all patients. How will your in-house contact center, for instance, meet the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities?
According to the United States Census Bureau,
“…about 11.5 million Americans have some sort of hearing impairment, ranging from difficulty in hearing conversation to total hearing loss. That’s 3.6 percent of the population.”
What about language access for patients who speak a language other than English (LOTE)? The United States population currently stands at just under 329 million. Nearly 22 percent of the entire US population speaks a language other than English (LOTE) at home, and approximately one-quarter of this population (more than 17 million US residents) speak English less than very well:
By providing appropriate language access, not only will your facility be legally compliant, but there are many additional benefits to consider as well:
- Decreased 30-day readmissions
- Reduced risk of unnecessary testing
- Reduced risk of misdiagnoses
- Decreased ER visits
- Improved patient outcomes
- Greater patient satisfaction
One cost-efficient and effective way to meet the needs of America’s linguistically and culturally diverse populations is to invest in business process outsourcing (BPO). Third-party providers might just be your best answer to ensuring effective communication across the board.
Introducing Akorbi’s Worldwide Multilingual BPO
“We are passionate about the communities that our clients serve. Our focus is to provide exceptional quality and care to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities as well as to communities who speak languages other than English. We ensure professionalism. We hold fast to the codes of ethics and of conduct, and we never settle for second best. It is all of these pieces woven together that make us a very strong organization.” – Debbie Carter, Director of Interpretations, Akorbi
At Akorbi, we know that your time with patients is invaluable, but much of this time can be lost managing your own contact center. By outsourcing to Akorbi’s multilingual BPO, you’ll be able to focus your resources on your core responsibilities. Akorbi offers inbound, outbound, back-office, email, and chat support throughout the United States, Latin America, and Africa. We support over 170 languages and provide professional contact center agents with an intimate understanding of America’s diverse linguistic population and its rich and varying cultural norms and behaviors. When it comes to human resources, Akorbi’s BPO team is comprised of consummate professionals with a wealth of experience. The team is well-equipped to effectively handle any of your human resources needs, including:
- Database Management
- Back-Office Support (billing, accounting, IT services, etc.)
- Enrollment and Applications
- Data Mining
- Content Moderation
At Akorbi, we value each client’s experience. From the moment you first interact with us, our team is dedicated to ensuring your complete satisfaction. We are proud to provide our clients with knowledgeable, customized, expert service throughout our business relationship.
The Akorbi approach allows us to develop highly-flexible business solutions to meet each client’s unique needs. We take the time to understand our clients’ pain points and develop effective solutions to put your mind at ease. Akorbi’s BPO offers competitive rates that provide nearshore, offshore, and onshore solutions. Our services enhance patient and medical practitioner satisfaction and strengthen your return on investment (ROI).
Akorbi’s BPO works closely with each client to build a service model that is just right for you. Our professional contact center agents are fully trained in managing calls for the healthcare industry. We provide personable, efficient, and effective services to ensure a great end-user experience.
Akorbi’s BPO is steadfast in its commitment to provide a customized approach and infrastructure uniquely tailored for each client. From medical appointment setting, rescheduling, call-back reminders, and patient confirmation, to customer service, billing, data management, data mining and more, we provide the expertise to help fully manage your outsourced contact center. We’ll even have a look at your call history, arrival patterns, and time of delivery to help build a customized contact center team perfectly aligned with your facility’s needs.
Do you already have the scripts you’d like us to use? Do you require us to build the scripts for you? Our team is comprised of seasoned professionals who will work with your hard scripts, soft scripts, or even basic guidelines to ensure complete end-user satisfaction. We offer both universal and specialized agents, and are fully capable of managing any of your outsourced responsibilities. Do you prefer per-call, per-minute, or per-hour billing? We work closely with you and offer a number of billing options that work with your budget. Our bottom line is your satisfaction coupled with exceptional service for your patients.
Akorbi is proud to offer Five9 cloud contact center solutions. As a leading provider of cloud contact center software, Five9 doesn’t require any integration of complex, on-premise hardware or software systems. With Five9 technology, Akorbi is able to manage and report on a wide variety of customer interactions from multiple communication channels. This enables our contact centers to create powerful customer connections and create a great end-user experience. And what about accountability? Through Five9’s real-time analytics (RTA), our clients can log in any time to see how many agents are active and how many calls they are managing. RTA offers a plethora of invaluable analytics, all at your fingertips.
Some healthcare facilities already have very mature CRM systems while others have none at all and struggle to keep up. No matter what end of the spectrum you are on, Akorbi’s BPO has a team for you. We can either tie your existing CRM into our telephony system and manage calls directly on your CRM, or we can offer a CRM for you, providing you with full access.
Appointment setting and scheduling reminders can be a daunting task for many healthcare organizations. Some medical facilities just don’t have the resources or the experience to effectively manage their inbound and outbound calls. Compounding these challenges is the growing number of patients who speak languages other than English – thankfully, this is where Akorbi shines. Akorbi offers unparalleled multilingual appointment setting support and service for the healthcare industry, allowing our clients to focus on their core competencies.
In addition to providing translation, interpretation, and transcription services to its international clients, Akorbi’s BPO Services Division offers inbound, outbound, and back-office support in more than 170 languages. Our professionally-managed, customized, multilingual contact centers support a high volume of rare languages including Portuguese Creole, Haitian Creole, Wolof, Pular, and Native American languages, among many others.
The Akorbi BPO Difference
“Akorbi has been serving the healthcare industry for 17 years and currently works with three of the top five healthcare providers in the United States. We offer options that are not only of the highest quality, but are also very low risk and very low cost.” – Ralph Bonaduce, President, Akorbi BPO
Healthcare facilities whether large, small, or in between, go through daily peak periods. More often than not, it is during these peak periods that inbound calls go unanswered, and outbound calls cannot be made. By not investing in a professional BPO contact center, your healthcare facility could be potentially missing up to 80% of your inbound calls. Luckily, Akorbi has the answer. By investing in Akorbi’s BPO, you’ll be able to seamlessly manage all inbound and outbound calls, regardless of the time of day.
Agility. Speed. Accuracy. Accountability – these are just some of Akorbi BPO’s core fundamentals. Don’t miss one more call. Don’t lose one more patient. Call Akorbi today.
Akorbi is a U.S.-based company which provides enterprise solutions that empower companies to achieve success in the global economy. We help companies connect with employees, vendors and customers in over 170 languages 24×7, in any modality, from any location. Our customizable, enterprise solutions include technical and multilingual staffing, learning services, multilingual contact centers, video remote solutions, translation/localization and in-person interpreting services. The company holds several certifications including ISO 9001:2008, ISO 13485:2003, EN 15038:2006 and M/WBE Certification. Akorbi was recently named the 9th largest language service provider (LSP) in the US by global market research and international consulting company, Slator and 11th largest LSP provider by Nimdzi Insights LLC. For more information, visit www.akorbi.com or call 1.877.4.AKORBI.