doctorBy Wendy Smith

The hybrid call center model is at the forefront as a viable option for in-house call centers. The hybrid model is a combination of in-house and outsourced call center services and is generating a lot of interest and excitement in the industry. It’s a model that hospital call centers across the country are adopting because of three main reasons: cost containment; emergency back-up; and as an interim solution for future growth.

Cost containment is a common reason for a healthcare system to outsource services. For example, in-house nurse triage is sustainable to a point, but as call volume goes down, the cost per call goes up. Outsourcing low call volume hours is a way of managing per call costs. Additionally, adding any service program, whether it is a readmission reduction program or expanded hours, has costs in terms of staff, training, equipment and space and often it makes financial sense to outsource certain services to a professional call center that already has the infrastructure in place.

A second reason to consider a hybrid model is the emergency backup benefit. The importance of an emergency backup goes without saying and an outsourced call center can seamlessly handle call overflow during times of high volume or unplanned staff shortages. An outsourced backup service can positively impact the quality of care during these times as well as provide continued service in the case of a disaster.

An outsourced call center partnership can also be an integral part of a healthcare system’s future growth strategy. Even if an organization has a long term plan to have a full service call center, there can be advantages to testing service lines in an outsource model. There is the additional convenience of being able to offer programs that the organization is not yet equipped to handle in-house. Many professional call centers administer a range of services and programs and can be contracted to fill service gaps as the healthcare organization builds its own in-house system.

The ability to keep expenses under control, provide a backup solution and extend options for future growth makes a hybrid outsourced/in-house call center model very attractive. There’s no reason that a healthcare system can’t offer a full service call center now, even with limited in-house capabilities.


Wendy Smith

Wendy Smith