Outsourcing Calls: Why are So Many Clinics Choosing this Strategy?

Posted by - Eleanor Webb-Dickin on the 9th April 2021

Clinics can take many forms, from primary care clinics and community clinics, to mental health and addiction clinics. No matter what they specialise in, they share a similar structure which makes them ideal candidates for outsourcing their calls. Outsourcing allows you to make the most of a ready-made body of trained staff on a temporary or permanent basis, without the responsibility and complications that come with hiring full-time employees.

Outsourcing has become hugely popular among many different kinds of businesses, particularly after the recent rise in remote working that came as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Business owners have been forced to consider the benefits of a more flexible business structure and this has brought with it many benefits. Outsourcing is a prime example; offering huge savings yet increased productivity. 

Here, we delve into the many reasons why more and more clinics are choosing to outsource their calls to a third party company. Perhaps you’ll find inspiration for your own clinic! 

Minimising Visitor Numbers

Separating your administrative and healthcare services, as a clinic, has numerous benefits. One of which is minimising the number of people who inhabit it on any given day. It is vital that clinics are sterile environments, as those who visit are highly likely to have contagious conditions, and the more visitors they have the harder it is to maintain this standard.

A large portion of those who visit clinics are merely making appointments or enquiries, both of which can be handled over the phone rather than face to face. By encouraging your patients to call rather than come into the clinic, you can create a completely separate call-handling facility, in turn, minimising the chances of the transmission of any harmful germs.

In addition, having fewer people in the clinic makes it far easier for cleaning staff to do a thorough job, which further leads to a safer environment for the patients who do need to be on site. Lastly, it is not uncommon, especially when a clinic first opens, for staff to wear many hats in order to keep costs low while they build up a client base. This can lead to cross-contamination by healthcare professionals taking on administrative roles. Separating the departments through outsourcing ensures that this doesn’t happen, while still keeping expenses to a minimum. 

Utilising Time Effectively

This leads me to my next point; trying to juggle a number of different roles as a healthcare professional is not the most efficient use of your time. As a highly skilled worker, administrative tasks such as call handling take up valuable time that could be spent seeing more patients. Not only do you help more people the more appointments you’re able to book in, you also make more money for the clinic and yourself. 

Another benefit of this is that your employees will feel more satisfied in their roles, carrying out work that they are not only qualified to do, but also feel more comfortable doing. Outsourcing your calls doesn’t have to be a sacrifice you make in order to achieve this, as one of its main selling points is affordability. This is why so many clinics are choosing to outsource calls; it helps to increase income without increasing outgoings.

Saving Money

You could, of course, hire a body of full-time staff in order to create a separate administration department. However, this would cost considerably more than outsourcing. Furthermore, hiring full-time members of staff brings with it a number of complications. For example, there are working regulations to follow such as minimum wages, maximum working hours and restrictions on how and when you are able to end working contracts. In contrast, when you outsource, the third party company are responsible for the workers they provide, and they are able to provide them 24/7 thanks to creating an entire team that can turn their hand to many different clients.

Outsourcing also allows you to avoid the considerable costs of providing hardware such as office equipment, and software, as the third party provider takes care of this. Considering all of these benefits, it becomes very clear why the low price that businesses are charged for outsourcing is something that not many are able to overlook. In fact, 59% of all businesses are now outsourcing in order to reduce expenses.

A Specialist HR Team 

Another benefit of outsourcing rather than taking on your own employees, is that your HR team will be able to be made up of specialists in healthcare recruitment rather than generalists. As a result, your clinic will be able to benefit from the very best doctors and nurses, rather than missing out on talent as a result of new employees being screened by a team with less experience of this line of work. Your specialist HR staff will also be well versed in the typical issues that can arise for healthcare professionals during their time working for you and will, therefore, be able to handle them more effectively. 

The Nature of Communication

If you’re wondering what the catches are when it comes to outsourcing, while it may not be the best option for every kind of business, clinics are particularly suited to it. The main reason for this is that the vast majority of calls taken require straight forward responses. For example, enquiries might include things like asking for opening times, booking appointments or ordering repeat prescriptions. 

Any more complicated, healthcare based questions can easily be referred to a doctor or nurse using a call-back appointment based system, also organised by the outsourced staff. To give you an example of another sector who share this way of thinking, the banking industry outsources 40% of help desk positions because they can be filled without significant additional training.

Creating a Peaceful Environment 

Minimising patient demand in this way results in a calmer, less chaotic and more productive working environment within the clinic. This also gives a great impression to prospective new patients who would find the clinic less intimidating than the majority of its competitors. In addition to this point, minimising the number of visitors to the clinic, in turn, minimises the chances of face to face confrontation. 

Confrontation can be prevalent in healthcare facilities as the conversation topics are often personal and distressing. This creates an uncomfortable environment for those with appointments that may already require considerable courage to attend, therefore, removing this function from the main clinic can help ease the patient experience. Meanwhile, those who need to voice discontent can still do so via trained call-handlers, who know how to handle it in such a way that placates the patient; providing a solution and maintaining the reputation of the clinic. 

The Importance of Efficiency  

One of the key benefits of outsourcing, for clinics in particular, is that it ensures a minimum standard for call-handling. This is particularly important for healthcare facilities to provide as the nature of their services is confidential, time-sensitive, personal and emotive. Appointments need to be booked in correctly as the consequences have the potential to be fatal.

Similarly, prescriptions need to be organised and ordered effectively and information needs to communicated exactly. Furthermore, as we have already touched upon, patient complaints also need to be handled with greatest of care. Outsourcing to a team of highly trained specialists ensures that mistakes are minimised. Efficiency is something else that they would provide and that is very important to the healthcare field, as client numbers are bound to be considerable. And in times where they are not, outsourcing has the flexibility to allow for temporary arrangements as and when you need them.

A further benefit to consider in relation to this, is that no training needs to be provided by yourselves. Aside from passing over basic information particular to your clinic, you can benefit from the training provided by the third party company, such as customer service skills, all for a lesser cost than hiring your own employees! And its not only larger businesses who can benefit from outsourcing, around 37% of small businesses use outsourcing to handle at least one of their business processes!

As you can see, outsourcing is an obvious choice for clinics and many have already recognised the many benefits and integrated the strategy into their business, with excellent results. Not only does it help to create the kind of well-oiled administration team that is a necessity for healthcare providers, it also helps to create a calm and unintimidating environment for patients, as well as a sterile, safe clinic, all for a fraction of the cost and hassle of hiring a full-time call-handling team. Hopefully we have inspired you to reap the benefits of outsourcing too!