DENVER, CO—What constitutes a positive or negative experience at a medical appointment? The answer can help healthcare call centers as they strategically look at the services they provide. For example, some call centers are considering, or have already become, the virtual front office for many practices in their system. The rationale for this move is often dissatisfaction from patients who are not served well by staff members trying to juggle phone responsibilities with caring for individuals in front of them.
The 2020 Patient Sentiment Report published by Healthgrades and the Medical Group Management Association focuses on an analysis of 8.4 million online provider reviews. “In negative reviews, patients mention the factors of wait time, visit time, and office staff up to three times more often than they do in positive reviews,” according to the study… . “When a patient has a positive experience with office staff and time spent, these factors go unnoticed and reviews focus primarily on the doctors themselves.”
What this seems to indicate is that evidence for adopting a virtual front office can be gleaned from these negative reviews, but the converse is not the case. That is, when things are running smoothly in the office the reviews won’t point that out. So that means that the old adage “no news is good news” may be the appropriate analysis point.
Additionally, when evaluating whether or not to incorporate a virtual front office service, it is important for call centers to note that “Oftentimes, a patient may spend more time in the office environment or interacting with staff members than with the doctor he or she is reviewing,” according to the study. “For patients with a wide choice of providers, these 'customer service' components of healthcare can make the difference between staying loyal to a physician and looking for someone new.”