Just a few weeks ago, orthopedists started to see elective procedures getting cancelled as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services urged hospitals to limit “non-essential” elective medical procedures. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons supported this recommendation for delaying elective surgeries, limiting orthopedic surgeries to urgent and emergency cases so resources can be saved for COVID-19 patient treatment.
Now, many orthopedic practices across the country are temporarily closing their offices in response to potential exposures and to help limit the spread of the virus. These practices will inevitably have to cancel or reschedule all in-person appointments for at least a few weeks to adhere to the CDC’s self-quarantine guidelines, and most likely longer as stay-at-home guidelines are extended. This rise in cancellations and rescheduling places a strain on practices and call center representatives, who have to keep up with the sudden increase or rescheduling.
Businesses across industries have faced massive surges in call volume, starting with travelers calling to cancel plans. This increase has shifted to consumers calling makers of in-demand products and patients calling health systems and insurers, according to an article from the Wall Street Journal on the increase in customer calls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, because most call centers are located in small offices with little space between representatives, many in the U.S. have shut down or downsized in the containment efforts.
In my own experience trying to call the bank or the SBA to find out the status of CARES Act-related loan applications, it’s been incredibly difficult to find someone to answer the phone. Similarly for my own healthcare, the best way to contact my internal medicine physician has been to log on to their system and send a message, wait one day and get a reply. My physician thinks it’s great service; I see it as slow, or very slow, since many times there are several messages back and forth to complete a task.
To address these challenges, companies are looking to virtual solutions to keep up with calls and using voice bots to triage calls. Virtual assistants help manage traffic and increased call volume, and meet patient call demand effectively and efficiently. These virtual assistants, like Transform9’s Orthobot, also allow more representatives to stay home, helping to improve social distancing measures for employees that must go in to work.
Orthobot is an automated, always-on voice bot virtual assistant that is available 24/7 to handle patient needs, including cancelling and rescheduling appointments. Because it is hosted in the cloud, Orthobot can scale to meet patient demand, equipping practices to provide their patients consistent, quality service.
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