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With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), millions of people have greater protection against losing or being denied health insurance coverage, and better access to primary and preventive services. The individual mandate in the PPACA requires every person to carry health insurance. The influx of previously uninsured patients is likely to overwhelm the current primary care system and push hospitals and clinics to act more like other service industries.
Hospitals and clinics are being forced to monitor not only patients but also how patients experience their care. Furthermore, hospitals and clinics are facing new and emerging competition such as pharmacy-based clinics. Lastly, patients are starting to vocalizing their customer experience satisfaction or lack thereof on social media. All of these factors mean that it is more important than ever that healthcare providers such as hospitals and clinics offer seamless customer service
One of the biggest obstacles to improving customer service in healthcare is acting as if patients stop being consumers and customers when they interact with healthcare providers. With the passing of the affordable care act, this is more true than ever. Rather than comparing themselves to other healthcare providers, healthcare organization should benchmark healthcare customer service against the best in service-intensive industries, because that’s what your patients and their loved ones will do. Every patient’s interaction with healthcare is judged based on expectations set by the best players in hospitality industry, the financial services industry, and other areas where expert players have made a science of customer service. If the best players in customer service are investing in technologies, such as toll-free and virtual numbers, so should healthcare providers.
One specific advantage of a toll-free business number is the possibility of creating a toll-free vanity number that reflects the product or service your business offers. A business’ corporate identity is represented by the brand and having a toll-free number associated with its brand can play a crucial role in helping new businesses attract attention, build its brand and present itself in a professional and sophisticated manner. Vanity toll-free numbers give new businesses the appearance of being more credible and trustworthy than those with just a cell phone or local number.
A virtual phone number is a telephone number used to route calls to the user’s actual phone number or numbers. Virtual phone numbers are often used to enable long distance service without incurring long distance charges. A virtual phone number makes it possible for someone within a specified area code call an IP telephony user in another area code as if it were a local call.
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Combining these two technologies will help healthcare providers address the growing numbers of healthcare seekers, aid them in monitoring customer experiences, and make it possible for hospitals and clinics to grow their business while meeting their patients’ needs. As millions of people spend money on healthcare related services, including prescription drugs, physician visits, home health, hospitals, and clinics, these industry segments will continue to grow. Toll-free and virtual numbers are two easy and effective telecommunication solutions for the healthcare industry to both take advantage of the growth and to ensure that they continue to provide the best customer service and patient care possible.
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