September 19, 2023

A Guide to Healthcare Call Center Best Practices

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How you treat your patients matters a lot for your healthcare practice’s success and growth. Patients expect high-quality service and care, and your reputation depends on how well you meet their needs. That’s why you need a good call center management strategy.

A healthcare call center is a vital link between you, your patients, and your medical facilities. It can improve your patient experience by providing reliable and efficient communication. How do you make sure your call center runs smoothly and delivers excellent results?

In this article, we will share some key healthcare call center best practices that you can follow. Read on to find out more.

What Goes on in a Healthcare Call Center?

The role of a healthcare call center can not be overstated, as it addresses several key aspects that contribute to the well-being of patients and the effectiveness of healthcare operations. Here are some common activities that happen in a hospital’s call center.

General Inquiries

Healthcare call center operators can handle a wide range of patient inquiries. These may include questions about directions to the hospital, visiting hours, and hospital services.

Patient Information

Call center agents gather and update patient information, such as personal details, insurance information, medical history, and any specific needs or requirements.

Referrals and Transfers

Sometimes, healthcare practices must refer patients to specialists who might not be part of their staff. Healthcare call centers can coordinate patient referrals to specialists or other healthcare facilities. Also, they manage patient transfers between different departments or hospitals when necessary.

Appointment Scheduling

Call center operators help patients in scheduling appointments with healthcare providers. They coordinate availability, choose suitable time slots, and manage the appointment calendar. They can also make reminder calls to patients ahead of scheduled appointments, helping reduce cancellations and no-show rates.

24/7 Healthcare Response Services

The healthcare industry needs to provide 24/7 coverage. Patients expect you to always respond to their needs at any time. You do not want to lose your patients to competitors for failing to respond quickly to their calls and needs.

A healthcare call center makes it easier for you to effectively communicate with patients and resolve issues promptly. Operators can handle emergency calls, offering guidance until medical help arrives.

Follow-up Calls

Call center agents can make follow-up calls to patients after visiting healthcare facilities to check on their recovery progress and ensure they receive appropriate care.

Best Practices for Healthcare Call Centers

The following are the key best practices healthcare call centers should embrace to excel in their operations.

Empathetic and Patient-Centric Communication

When patients contact healthcare providers for healthcare guidance, they are mostly distressed emotionally. So, call centers must handle patients with compassion.

Effective communication in healthcare call centers involves understanding patients’ needs, concerns, and emotions. Empathy and active listening are foundational to establishing a strong patient-centric approach. 

By practicing these qualities, call center operators can create meaningful connections, address patient worries, and enhance patient satisfaction.

It is up to call center agents to ensure they are doing everything in their power to enhance compassion while interacting with patients, even when they are angry, upset, or combative. Call center agents should validate patients’ emotions by saying, “I understand that dealing with a health issue can be really challenging. I am here to help you through this process.”

Impact of Positive Communication on Patient Trust and Satisfaction

Empathetic communication shows patients they are valued and their concerns are taken seriously by the healthcare provider. This enhances patient satisfaction and leads to trust in the healthcare organization.

Patients can easily follow recommended treatments when they feel understood and supported. Also, they feel more at ease when they sense that healthcare call center agents genuinely care about their well-being. Those who experience compassionate communication are more likely to share positive feedback, enhancing the overall reputation of the healthcare practice.

Comprehensive Training and Product Knowledge

In healthcare call centers, where accurate information and patient well-being are critical, comprehensive training for call center agents is necessary. 

Agents should be equipped with in-depth knowledge of medical services and procedures to empower them to address patient inquiries effectively, provide accurate information, and contribute to the overall success of the healthcare ecosystem.

The interactions between call center agents and patients directly impact patient satisfaction and trust. Thorough training ensures agents are well-prepared to handle different patient inquiries and concerns. Healthcare call center agents must understand the technical aspects of medical information and possess the interpersonal skills needed to engage empathetically with patients.

The following are the advantages of healthcare call center agents having medical knowledge:

  • Confidence: When healthcare call center agents confidently explain medical procedures and concepts, patients can easily trust the information provided.
  • Accurate Information: Patients usually rely on agents to provide reliable and precise information. Healthcare call center agents with solid medical knowledge can ensure patients receive appropriate answers to their questions. Inaccurate information in healthcare practice can lead to confusion and patient frustration. 
  • Easing Concerns: Patients often reach out to healthcare call centers with different health-related concerns. Call center agents can explain symptoms, potential causes, and next steps, reassuring concerned patients.


Appointment Scheduling and Reminders

Efficient appointment scheduling is pivotal to a healthcare call center’s best practices. By streamlining the appointment scheduling process, sending timely reminders, and managing cancellations, healthcare call center agents can ensure patients receive the care they need while minimizing no-shows and disruptions.

Efficient appointment scheduling ensures patients can easily schedule appointments at their convenience, reducing wait times and ensuring timely access to healthcare services. It allows healthcare providers to allocate their resources and time effectively, ensuring that appointments are well-distributed and patient flow is managed.

Appointment reminders help reduce no-shows and late cancellations, leading to more consistent patient attendance and improved healthcare outcomes. It also keeps patients engaged with their healthcare plan and encourages adherence to treatment schedules.

The appointment scheduling process involves the following steps:

1. Appointment Scheduling

Healthcare call center agents help patients schedule appointments by assessing their availability and matching it with the doctor’s schedule. The process requires coordination between provider availability and patient preferences.

2. Reminder Setup and Timing

Once the appointment is scheduled, agents set up reminder notifications, which can be sent via email, SMS, or phone calls based on patient preferences. They are sent a day or two before the scheduled appointment to give patients enough time to prepare and make necessary arrangements.

3. Cancellation Management

If patients want to reschedule or cancel appointments, agents can manage these requests. They can fill canceled slots with patients on waiting lists to optimize provider schedules.

Privacy and Data Security

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires healthcare providers to ensure the security of protected health information (PHI) being handled, shared, or transferred. Healthcare call centers should be completely HIPAA compliant to avoid costly fines.

As the custodian of sensitive medical information, a healthcare call center must adhere to stringent privacy regulations and implement robust measures to protect patient data. Safeguarding patient information ensures compliance with legal requirements and maintains the integrity of healthcare services.

Healthcare call centers implement the following measures to ensure data security interactions:

  • Secure Communication Channels: Healthcare call centers utilize secure communication channels to prevent unauthorized access or eavesdropping on patient conversations.
  • Encryption: Data transmitted between patients and healthcare call center agents is often encrypted, making it difficult for unauthorized parties to intercept or access the information.
  • Access Control: Strict access controls ensure that only authorized people can access patient information. Multi-factor authentication and role-based access further enhance security.
  • Regular Audits: Healthcare call center agents can contact routine audits of data access and usage to identify any anomalies or potential breaches, allowing for swift corrective action.

Call center agents must understand the importance of patient confidentiality and follow established protocols to protect sensitive information. They must be well-versed in the HIPAA regulations, which set standards for protecting patient data.

Agents should be trained to document patient interactions securely and accurately, ensuring that digital or physical records are appropriately stored and protected.

Cultural Sensitivity and Language Support

Cultural sensitivity and language support are crucial in healthcare call centers as they enhance patient understanding, build trust, and foster effective communication. Agents must recognize and respect the patients’ cultural backgrounds and languages.

Cultural misunderstandings and language barriers can lead to miscommunication, causing serious consequences for patient service. Acknowledging cultural differences ensures that healthcare services are tailored to individual patient needs and preferences. It also fosters trust and enhances health outcomes.

The following are some strategies a healthcare call center can employ to ensure effective communication with patients from diverse backgrounds:

  • Multilingual Staff: Healthcare call centers should employ multilingual agents who can communicate with patients in their preferred language.
  • Cultural Training: Call center agents should be trained to be culturally sensitive and aware of potential cultural differences in communication styles and healthcare beliefs.
  • Language Services: A reliable healthcare call center should provide access to interpreters, either through telephonic interpretation services or in-person, to bridge language gaps during calls. 

In addition, call agents should be encouraged to ask open-ended questions to allow patients to express themselves fully, especially if they are not proficient in the primary language.


To provide high-quality, patient-centered care in today’s dynamic healthcare landscape, you need to follow healthcare call center best practices. These best practices cover various aspects that can improve your health outcomes, patient satisfaction, and healthcare operations if you apply them effectively.