The digital disruption in healthcare is here. The advent of MACRA, the shift to merit-based pay and other factors have not only changed patient expectations, but also affected how providers communicate with patients.
Greater emphasis on the quality of care rather than quantity is driving physicians and companies to find more ways to better engage consumers. Pair that with the ever-growing trend toward digital communication platforms and the shrinking population of medical professionals staying in the field, and it’s clear that a specialized, efficient and digitally diverse service system is needed to thrive in the healthcare industry.
Some major systems such as Medicare have begun using assessment tools like star ratings to measure the value and effectiveness of their healthcare plans. The more popular this type of evaluation becomes, the more a need will arise for strategic partnerships with companies like Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated to convert that data into progress.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said that, of the 384 active Medicare Advantage (MA) contracts for 2018 that also have Part D prescription drug coverage, about 44 percent earned four stars or higher for their overall rating — about a five percent decrease from 2017.
This year a total of 3,100 MA plans will be available to consumers, compared to 2,700 in 2017. With more plans to choose from, patients are more diligent. More than 85 percent of people with Medicare will select from a menu of 10 or more MA plans, which are given a summary star rating based on the following:
- Use of screenings, tests, and vaccines
- Management of chronic conditions
- Member experience with the plan (CAHPS)
- Member complaints and changes in the plan’s performance
- Number of member complaints
- Number of members choosing to leave the plan
- Improvement, if any, in the plan’s performance from year to year
- Customer service/appeals
- Whether the plan makes timely decisions about appeals
- How often an independent reviewer thought the appeal decision should be upheld
Three of these five criteria rely on customer service and patient experience. Such reliance on these rating systems means there’s a lot at stake for both patients and providers. Understanding what the data is saying about your product or service and leveraging those findings to create solutions that will improve ratings is essential. With decades of experience working with healthcare providers, SYKES can effectively improve the service experience, increase brand loyalty, and identify opportunities for cost optimization.
SYKES recognizes the need to have qualified, competent and specialized service professionals interacting with patients and clinicians. When introducing a new medical device to the market, physicians must have someone who understands the product to turn to with questions so they can help their patients troubleshoot. If a company makes major changes to their healthcare plans, customers will need to speak with someone who can empathize with their potential frustration, while clearly and simply explaining the changes and options.
Fortunately, SYKES has the tools and resources to attract, hire and train service specialists who fill these requirements. Because the healthcare industry is experiencing a major exodus of medical professionals due to stress and unreasonable scheduling expectations; we realize that a large untapped labor force of trained, qualified professionals looking for an alternative employment model is now available.
As a pioneer in the work-at-home (WAH) market for the last 20 years, our industry leading, proprietary WAH customer service model is changing the game for this new resource. SYKESHome offers an opportunity for these driven individuals to leverage their skills while maintaining the quality of life that is important to them. Schedule flexibility, minimal commute, continual career development and the ability to help patients from the comfort of their own home are all SYKESHome features that attract the service talent your healthcare company needs.
This means that your clients and patients will engage with an agent who can provide expert knowledge of your brand, products and the overall healthcare industry when they have complex or urgent concerns. It also means the agents — who can now work in the field they love while maintaining the necessary balance with their personal lives — are confident, competent and happy; all of which are crucial to agent retention and brand commitment.
In an industry that affects almost every single American at a time when the voice of the consumer has never been more powerful, companies cannot afford to disregard what their patients are telling them. Listening, understanding and communicating are vital to providing a service experience that will empower patients, build loyalty, optimize resources and earn five stars — every time.