The Complexity of Staffing for a Profitable Call Center

2 min read

At Envera we have a saying, “It’s about the people.” This is true for every aspect of healthcare, from those on the front line delivering care to those managing the needs of your organization behind the scenes, you are only as good as your people— and patients know it. That’s why the role of the patient access coordinator is so critical. They are the first impression for new patients and bear the responsibility of setting the tone for every patient interaction thereafter. Despite the growing popularity of self-service technologies, healthcare will never be able to replace the impact of a human touch.

This presents a challenge for the healthcare call center.

It is already difficult to recruit for positions like these and recruiting the right kind of person is essential. Patient access coordinators must be capable of extending the values of care culture over the phone. This means not only meeting the needs of frustrated or emotional patients with compassion and empathy but being able to do so while guiding the conversation, getting the information necessary for treatment, and being on alert for a potential medical emergency at the same time. This can be a very fulfilling position for the right person— it can also be extremely stressful. Coordinators must operate well under pressure to execute sometimes complicated workflows while engaging patients. They also require a high level of emotional intelligence, not only for navigating patient interactions but for the ability to genuinely care about patient outcomes without negatively impacting their own emotional health.

Benchmark Staffing Costs

Recruiting: $1-4k per agent

Training: $1250 per agent

Average Salary: $45k

Average Supervisor Salary: $50k

Recommended number of supervisors per agent: 8

Turnover rate: 33%

Staffing is the costliest aspect of call center operations. The average salary for a patient access coordinator is approximately $45k. This doesn’t include the cost to recruit or train. Additionally, turnover for call centers is high, over double that of other industries, so ROI for staffing is always a moving target. Other considerations, like the need for supervisors, HR, and auxiliary expenses must also be factored into the overall labor cost. This can quickly add up impacting a healthcare call center’s ability to be profitable.

When weighing the costs of labor for an internal call center it’s easy to think of agents in terms of calls handled or seats filled. To ensure the highest level of patient satisfaction, great care must be taken to recruit and train patient access coordinators that can be trusted with the important work of assisting patients and representing your brand. Even the savviest leaders in healthcare can overlook the importance of these roles, so when examining the complexities of your call center workforce we implore you to remember that at the end of the day—

Healthcare is about the people.

Weighing the costs of call center operations? Download our eBook to gain insights into the call center development process and what it takes to build call center operations that are capable of handling the modern demands of healthcare consumers alongside scalable growth.

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Learn more about Envera's PACs.