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BEVERLY HILLS, CA – YuriyKotlyar, CEO of the outsource call center company American Health Connection says that he is starting to see a misconception take hold among some that the need for the scheduling call center function is declining as various online self scheduling tools take effect.
On the surface it might seem that the move toward using tools such as ZocDoc would mean decreased phone calls into the call center. That might be true on the front end, but still there often needs to be precertification and insurance verification done for these appointments and that’s where the call center still has an important role, he says.
His company does work with some healthcare organizations that have a relationship with one of these online self-scheduling companies and this is what his folks are experiencing.
Additionally, says Joe Alfonsi, Director, Temple Access Center in Philadelphia, “People may have questions. For example, they may want to know what bus to take to get to the appointment.” He views the scheduling call center as the entree to the organization, the place that starts the relationship with the patient.
And, as such, that human interaction is much valued, he adds.
Then there’s the role of the scheduling healthcare call center in making ancillary test appointments.
Kotlyar maintains that online scheduling tools are not really oriented to do this. Rather, the ancillary scheduling call center is the appropriate venue for vetting the patient request as sometimes there are errors in orders that need to have a back and forth conversation with the medical office (and sometimes the physician) to make sure that the patient is getting the right test in the right time frame.
Kotlyar has framed his thoughts around what he sees currently happening today as opposed to what might happen in the future.