The Critical Role Hospital Call Centers Play During and After a Disaster Part 2 of 2
Part 2 of 2
Benefits of Cloud Technology and Virtual Servers
Communications failure is not an option during a disaster. Having the ability to route calls to another center in the event of an emergency is crucial. For example, if a call center is physically located in an area that has become inaccessible or damaged due to a catastrophe, calls can be sent to operators off-site, using cloud technology on a virtual server. A single virtual server, located anywhere in the country, can bring call centers together to operate seamlessly - even if they all use different PBX telephone systems.
Using web-based call center communication software, any computer may become a secure, professional telephone agent station that can be accessed through the Internet. Calls are handled by operators located in a different center, or home-based agents; and all of the tools used by in-house operators are accessible to the virtual agents.
Hospitals and clinics that are part of a larger healthcare enterprise use this technology to provide backup call handling within their own system. Rossi Fraenkel, Business Analytics Team Lead for Allina Health in Minneapolis, Minnesota comments, “In the event that any of our other clinics were to have a power outage or go down, those calls roll to us at the contact center. We provide our organization with a really good, strategic value. It's absolutely critical that we take calls no matter what.”
Disaster Recovery and Relief
Hotlines managed by agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are activated to provide callers with assistance related to government disaster aid, insurance claims, home repairs and more.
Hospital call centers experience an influx of calls from people who are inquiring about hospitalizations of loved ones, safety advice, and help for themselves. Individuals who witness or experience a catastrophic event are often negatively affected by it. Coping with the shock of a disaster can make a someone feel fearful, confused, and suffer from anxiety.
Call center agents can connect callers with disaster crisis counseling to help people who have been affected by traumatic events. Callers who are patients of a healthcare organization who participates in telehealth, may be able to take advantage of instant, secure video access to mental health professionals.
Including hospital call centers in a coordinated call center system, is crucial when developing a disaster preparedness and recovery plan. Establishing a comprehensive policy may require a significant time commitment and thoughtful input from a variety of agencies and organizations; however, the effects of organized communication and efficient use of community resources during a crisis, helps save lives and speeds recovery efforts.