Contact centres in healthcare: The synergy of patient experience and data privacy
Contact centres stand as central repositories of invaluable customer data. In the realm of healthcare, this data not only holds immense potential for improving customer experiences but also necessitates stringent security and data compliance measures to ensure confidentiality and trust.
As organisations strive to harness the power of this data, the relationship between customer experience, data security, and IT infrastructure has come to the forefront. Healthcare organisations especially must employ a framework that has security integrated at each exposed layer on top of capabilities for data analysis to provide outstanding patient experiences.
Tech Wire Asia spoke to Mr Christian Argos, the CEO of healthcare provider Maxicare, about the importance of having a contact centre that safeguards patient data and offers sophisticated data analysis features, as well as what a more digitised future will mean for the sector.
“When you look at healthcare and our business, that’s the most personal and sensitive of all information, so we take data governance seriously,” he said.
Healthcare providers acquire swathes of patient data
Maxicare is the largest private payer in the Philippines, covering about two million Filipinos. Hundreds of patients reach out to claim on their cover every day, but the company’s role is far more than simply approving those requests.
Mr Argos said: “Healthcare is a journey and we are our clients’ navigators. You don’t just wait for someone to call or send your request on a piece of paper, but you engage patients from the start of that journey.
“The industry is trying to build the discipline of advising patients and being more proactive in telling them what they need, who they should see, and what their options are. It’s more bidirectional in terms of engagement – being more proactive and focusing more on preventive care.
“So, for example, if you’re a hypertensive patient – you have high blood pressure or you’re pre-diabetic – there are predefined care pathways that we can execute for you to avoid deterioration in your health or, even better, to pull back your blood pressure to normal levels.”
Maxicare helps patients find their way through the entire medical system, from finding the correct doctor for their initial appointment, all the way to post-surgery care. Therefore staff must always be available to them through whatever channel they prefer, whether that be email, phone call or instant messaging.
Moving to Genesys
As Maxicare evolved and the scale of patient contact increased, the company eventually decided to expand its contact centre offering through Genesys, a global cloud leader in AI-powered experience orchestration.
Mr Argos said: “Since this was not our comfort zone – technology is not really in the realm of healthcare, especially here in the Philippines – we tried the cheap and cheerful, open-source platforms first.
“But after going through two different vendors over the past five years, we just said we need to go best in class, we need to go enterprise-grade because our demands are the same as the biggest customer interaction firms in the world.
“At that point, we decided to transition to Genesys. The transition happened very rapidly and the experience has been beyond expectations. There is a reason why companies that have customer interaction as their lifeblood rely on folks like Genesys.”
Maxicare integrated the Genesys Voice Platform last October and saw “immediate improvement” in service levels and customer experience.
“Before, we couldn’t figure out why people sounded like robots on the line and calls kept getting dropped!” said Mr Argos.
However, the company’s vision is to deploy an omnichannel platform where all successive patient interactions, whether through a phone call, email, or social media message, are linked. These platforms allow agents to deliver proactive and contextual interactions, ensuring a consistent customer experience. By eliminating operational silos and gaining the ability to monitor customer journeys across channels, they provide personalised solutions that cater to individual preferences and needs.
Making use of patient data, securely
Healthcare generates a lot of data points, said Mr Argos, so streamlining interactions at a data level is essential for ensuring that agents have access to all available patient information. Otherwise, valuable data is scattered, hindering the ability to gain comprehensive insights and deliver personalised care. The same goes for interactions with doctors, hospitals, and clinics.
“It’s impossible to keep track of that without leveraging technology,” he said.
“We have to communicate with doctors, we have to communicate with patients – and you can’t do that with just the phone and a notebook and reminding yourself ‘I need to make this call’.
“The challenge is really building the set of tools and the capability to take data from many different sources, making sure it’s accurate, timely, and reliable, and then putting that in front of decision-makers.
“But now that we have a better view of patients and providers, we’re able to match a patient with the best provider to solve their health concern.”
Having access to all the data on a single omnichannel platform allows the company to keep track of its KPIs. It is moving away from metrics like average call handling time towards more patient-centric indicators, like the percentage that ends up in a Maxicare clinic.
“We’re building a set of dashboards that measure these and include the information we get from our electronic medical record platform and some data which tracks spending.
“Genesys […] plays a role in helping us reach KPIs because, eventually, as a journey moves from an initial call to chat to e-mail, we’ll have visibility of all of it.”
The future is AI
Looking to the future, Mr Argos thinks that AI will play a more significant role in communications between agents, patients, and physicians through Maxicare, which could be facilitated through the contact centre.
The company already uses AI on certain types of medical imaging, highlighting possible areas of interest before the results get passed to the doctor. They are also testing a tool that improves the legibility of doctors’ notes by correcting spelling.
“I think maybe there will be the opportunity to use machine learning to better detect fraud and abuse,” said Mr Argos, highlighting one of the more powerful uses of AI: anomaly detection.
An increase in remote consultations will also place more reliance on the contact centre platform, while creating more data points during a patient’s healthcare journey has the potential to raise the risk of data compliance issues.
“Our approach is that we try to understand what kind of information we need to deliver our contractual obligations to our clients,” said Mr Argos.
“We minimise the risk by understanding exactly what you as an individual have access to, and we [are building] the tools and guardrails to enforce that.
“That’s a combination of policy and technology, and, moving forward, we will lean heavily on technology to really enforce these rules and restrictions and make sure that data governance is executed well.
‘We’re at the start of the journey; a lot of what I’ve said we now have to scale and execute, and that’s why Genesys moving very fast is helping us move even faster.”
Healthcare is not the only sector which cannot afford to compromise on data privacy in their contact centres. The imperative of securing sensitive information harmoniously with seamless customer experiences underscores the need for robust solutions in multiple sectors.
Embracing this challenge, Genesys Cloud CX not only meets modern security standards but surpasses them. The all-in-one contact centre platform is built in the cloud to ensure it complies with the most rigorous industry regulations. It offers unparalleled protection through TLS encryption for secure cloud traffic and employs the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithms to safeguard customer data.
Learn more about the compliance and assurance standards Genesys employs today.
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