Is Tweeting #Good# Enough for Healthcare Call Centers?

call centerWith the digital transformation underway, social media has become the preferred method of communication for all generations, across all ecosystems personal and professional.  Healthcare call centers, where speed and efficiency are critical, stand to benefit the most from this trend; but at the end of the day, is the healthcare workflow model too nuanced to be compatible?

Confidentiality

For professions such as healthcare, using social media in a call center can open a can of worms that aren’t just annoying but dangerous. Let’s say that somebody types a question onto a medical device company’s Facebook page. While it’s unlikely that somebody would intentionally open Pandora’s box and reveal confidential information when placing a query, they may do so unknowingly.  For example, “Great stethoscope! The senior citizens at Mossy Hills Home loved it!” Though subtle, this may be construed as a data breach.  And as we all know, once you type something on the Internet, you are publishing it to the whole world. There is no way to truly expunge it. With healthcare firms hypersensitive about the transfer of PHI, or protected health information, using social media could mean throwing caution to the wind.

False Sense of Speed

Sometimes a tweet isn’t enough to get the job done, and can cause more time delay than it’s worth. It’s great that you can use Emojis, but for questions eliciting a complicated response chatting in 100 word snippets won’t deliver. You’re going to end up talking anyways.  In these cases, social media actually slows down the process.

Empathy

There are times when health concerns evoke emotion, and no digital communication will ever replace the comfort of a human voice.

Controlling the Message

Organizations may be challenged to synchronize what is presented on social media with what is shown by the rest of the company.  Threaded conversations, for example, present opinions from other users and this may influence the conversation, making it a challenge to control what is implied by the dialogue.

With all of these factors to take into account, it’s no surprise that healthcare administrators aren’t chomping at the bit to get their people on Instagram.  Yet social media plays far too great a role in our society to be ignored. For healthcare, social media is a work in progress rather than one that is to be ignored. Companies such as Mitel are pioneering collaborative call center solutions that integrate social media, SMS, web chat, and email.  For more information about how to bring your healthcare firm into the digital age, please contact Cortel at info@cortel.com.