Defining The Patient Experience



Perhaps the most discussed topic of trainers, consultants and other experts in the healthcare call center field is The Patient Experience, and I am struck how little the patient experience is included in these discussions.


Instead, the focus is typically on software, hiring practices etc. and while such things may indirectly impact patients, they are not the patient experience. Let's take a look at what is.


Scenario 1)


Susan calls the hospital and reaches an operator on a speakerphone, which she finds strange. The operator transfers her to scheduling, and Susan is on hold for 5 minutes, which she finds annoying. So far, Susan's impression of the hospital is negative.


Finally, she reaches the scheduler, Mary who handles Susan's reason for calling with respectful manners, professional grammar and a warm and confident tone that is naturally engaging and sincerely helpful. Susan's grade of her Patient Experience? A.


Scenario 2)


Susan calls the hospital and reaches an operator who is warm and upbeat. The operator transfers her and she reaches an agent in seconds. So far, her impression is excellent.


The scheduler, Josh sounds distracted. She can barely hear him, so he adjusts his mic. He offers a phony sounding script Susan knows has nothing to do with her. His grammar sounds untrained, his manners are clumsy and his tone conveys little sincere interest in Susan or her specific needs. Susan's grade of her Patient Experience? D.


The point of this exercise is to illustrate that what determines the quality of a patient's experience is the conversation they have with the agent who handles the reason for their call to the hospital, and while patients encounter things such as unprofessional operators, long holds and getting lost in a routing maze, how the agent handles that conversation is ultimately what most determines the patient's feelings about their experience and thus defines The Patient Experience.


Conversations are defined by the second the agent answers the phone to the moment they conclude the call, so in order to properly manage The Patient Experience, every second, every word and every turn in the conversation must be micro-managed in highly specific ways. This is an incredibly meticulous and laborious process, and because of its contextual complexities, speech analytics, scripts and checklists entirely lack the attention to detail required to do the job effectively.


BCI manages each component of the conversations that define The Patient Experience in the micro-specific detail necessary to hold agents accountable to 5-Star level performance guidelines. Our dynamic Training and Performance Management program ensures agents offer amazing conversations with patients every day, all in a process remarkably effortless for our clients. This is what the future of healthcare call center training looks like.