Top 5 Challenges Faced by Patients when Interacting with Medical Information Contact Centers and What to Do About It

When seeking information and guidance about their medical conditions or treatments, patients often turn to pharmaceutical company Medical Information (MI) contact centers. However, several challenges can hinder their interactions, and impact their experience with these centers and ultimately the pharmaceutical company. Understanding these challenges and implementing effective solutions can significantly improve the patient experience and ensure patients receive the necessary information and support throughout their treatment journey. 

 Top 5 Challenges Patients Face: 

  1. Patients' expectation of receiving medical advice from MI contact centers leads to disappointment when they discover that such advice cannot be provided. 
  2. Patients feel frustrated when they realize that contact centers can only provide limited information about the product or treatment, often restricted to prescribing information and clinical trial data. 
  3. Complex medical terminology poses a significant barrier for patients, as contact center staff are unable to interpret or explain complex terminology in layman's terms. 
  4. Patients frequently experience confusion regarding the purpose and identity of MI centers, leading to uncertainty during their interactions. 
  5. Patients often lack awareness of the legal and regulatory limitations that govern Medical Information contact centers, leading to misconceptions, misunderstandings, and frustration. 



Solutions Medical Information Contact Centers can Enact to Improve the Patient Experience: 

  • Create a Welcoming Environment: Patients are contacting the MI center for help. Agents can provide a safe space, validate patients' questions and concerns, and ensure they feel heard and valued, even if specific medical advice cannot be given. 
  • Take Ownership and Accountability: Even if the agent is unable to answer specific questions, focusing on what they can provide and taking accountability to ensure the patient knows where they can get the help they need, can be empowering for a patient navigating the complex healthcare system.  
  • Use Inclusive Patient-Friendly Explanations: Equipping agents with resources to explain complex medical terminology using accessible, precise, and simple language empowers patients and enhances their understanding of their condition and treatment. 
  • Positive Language: Provide agents with positive scripting they can utilize to explain the importance of seeking personalized advice from their healthcare provider. Informing patients in a positive way will help them feel supported and understood. 
  • Continuously Improve Agent Resources: Capture and regularly update frequently asked questions (FAQs) to provide agents with comprehensive resources to address patient questions effectively and efficiently. 
  • Comprehensive Patient Education: Proactive communication to patients about the limitations of MI contact centers can be done through various channels, including websites, patient resources, and automated voice prompts during calls, managing patient expectations, and ensuring they understand the centers' role as information resources.  
  • Explanation of Data Collection: Clear communication regarding the reasons for collecting demographic or adverse event information helps patients understand legal requirements, pharmacovigilance obligations, and the benefits of accurate reporting and analysis. Taking the time to build trust by explaining the reason for these requirements can remove barriers and help patients understand why the collection is beneficial.  
  • Evolving to Meet Patient Needs: MI centers are traditionally set up to handle healthcare provider inquiries and have developed their resources for these types of interactions. However, more patients are turning to these centers for help. Adapting MI centers to meet the increasing demand from patients by equipping agents with patient-friendly resources ensures more successful interactions. 
  • Continuous Training and Development: Invest in continuous training and development programs for MI agents. This training can cover medical advancements, regulatory updates, communication skills, and product knowledge. Ongoing education and support will enhance the agents' abilities to address patient needs and keep them informed about changes in the healthcare landscape. 
  • Expanded Information Resources: MI teams and pharmaceutical companies can collaborate with regulatory authorities to explore options for expanding the information that can be shared with patients, advocating clearer guidelines without compromising patient safety. 

Patients face various challenges when interacting with Medical Information Contact Centers, which can hinder their access to accurate and comprehensive information. MI agents can also be placed in challenging positions when attempting to navigate these interactions. By addressing challenges with proactive measures, such as comprehensive patient education, improved communication strategies, and patient-friendly resources, we can enhance the patient experience and ensure that their needs are effectively met. By fostering understanding, providing clear guidelines, and promoting transparency, MI contact centers can become valuable resources that empower patients to make informed decisions about their healthcare. 

At Centerfirst, every day we work towards our Just Cause of living in a world where every patient's voice is clearly heard, and every patient's need is completely addressed. We understand how crucial it is to listen to the voice of your patient and continually strive to improve the patient experience.  

Are you ready to improve your patients' experience? Contact us to learn more.      

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