September 7, 2022

Challenges Healthcare Contact Centers Face In Outbound Dialing

Reaching customers is essential for all industries that conduct outbound dialing. The stakes are even higher for those in health care. Healthcare contact centers place some of the most sensitive outbound calls. They must reach patients to convey vital information such as test results, appointment details, and prescription updates. Many of these calls are time-sensitive and involve personal information that is protected by HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Ensuring the integrity of healthcare contact center calls must be a priority. 

Challenges Healthcare Contact Centers Face in Outbound Dialing

Risks of Call Spoofing Risks in Healthcare

Sadly, the healthcare industry has seen a disproportionate level of call spoofing attacks. Scammers know that consumers are more likely to answer the phone if they believe their healthcare provider is on the line. As a result, these criminals target legitimate organizations to run elaborate scams.

These scammers pretend to be healthcare insurance companies or providers and ask for personal information that can be used to access financial accounts or for identity theft. This practice is especially prevalent during open insurance enrollment, typically held during the last three months of the year. 

Blocked Calls Hurt Patients

These fraudulent calls harm both consumers and healthcare organizations. Many consumers block and report numbers spoofed by scammers. That means legitimate businesses must repair their reputations so that their clients and patients will once again accept their calls.

Many healthcare organizations that were targeted by spoofing attacks find that their phone numbers may still show up as "Spam" or "Scam" months later. In some cases, consumers block these numbers, which can put their health at risk as well as damage the financial health of these providers. Healthcare contact centers must be able to quickly reach their clients to keep patient care at an acceptable level. 

Compliance Regulations

In all industries, compliance with government regulations is crucial for long-term success. While all contact centers must abide by the TCPA and DNC regulations, those in the healthcare industry must also be aware of the following:

HIPAAHealth Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This law protects sensitive health information by limiting who can receive this information and under what conditions. It also dictates how digital and paper documents must be handled to ensure this privacy. 

HITECHHealth Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. This act regulates the use of health information technology so patient privacy is maintained. 

Omnibus Rule – This final rule added more provisions to HIPAA and HITECH to strengthen both and better protect healthcare information. 

5 Solutions To Improve Contact Center Operations

Healthcare contact centers must strive to keep up with the latest technology and trends to protect their clients and themselves. Healthcare contact centers also need to evolve continually to keep up with customer expectations; otherwise, they risk being ignored or blocked.

1. Ensure Your Patients Save Your Number

If you contact your customers from a regular number, ask them to save it on their phones. Explain that doing so will protect them from scam phone numbers. This step essentially white lists the number to ensure it doesn't show up with negative call labels attached. In addition, consider sending customers your vCard, a guaranteed way for them to save your information easily.

2. Train Agents Diligently

Agent training is always key to maintaining smooth operations in your contact center. 96% of customers are unlikely to report issues they have with your organization. This statistic means many clients may change services without providing feedback and allowing you to address their complaints. Agent training in empathy and product/service knowledge is essential to avoid any of these issues. 

3. Offer Omnichannel Solutions

Some customers prefer not to rely on phone calls since so many other options exist. Some prefer text messages, email, or online chat.  While voice communication is still the preferred method for most consumers, consider offering other channels to meet individual communication preferences. Some people rarely answer their phones anymore, even for family and friends, preferring SMS, email, or direct message instead. 

4. Managing Phone Numbers

Poor phone number management is the cause of many outbound calling problems, including those experienced by healthcare contact centers. If your organization conducts outbound campaigns, try to maintain ownership of your numbers between campaigns. It is safer to use aged numbers that your organization owns than to buy blocks of numbers for new campaigns. Some of these “new” numbers may have gathered negative labels and flags while being used by another company. Maintaining your current numbers instead of getting new ones helps to ensure your numbers don't have erroneous labels attached to them.

In addition, ensure your inbound-only numbers are registered on the Do Not Originate registry. This blacklist helps to stop spoofers from abusing legitimate phone numbers to run their scams. This step will quickly help identify any call spoofing attempts from these numbers.

5. Phone Number Monitoring

Lastly, constant diligence is necessary to maintain phone number reputation. Frequent monitoring of your numbers will detect any call spoofing attempts early in your campaigns. In addition, your organization can quickly identify flags and begin to remediate your numbers and repair your dialing reputation before your customers both block and report you. When healthcare contact centers cannot reach patients, the results can be serious. 

Protecting Your Dialing Reputation

Healthcare contact centers must be able to reach consumers to deliver vital medical information. Incorrect call labels have affected all industries, but these issues in healthcare have the potential to seriously harm consumers as well as providers. You can protect your outbound calling campaigns by implementing these call management tips. 

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