Robocalls in Healthcare

What happens when you receive over 4,000 automated calls in less than 2 hours?

April 30, 2018,9:30am-11:30am, it happened at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA

Recently, automated phone calls have been increasing in volume for not only the everyday person, but for businesses and they are not showing any signs of slowing down. Who would have ever thought robots would be causing havoc in healthcare, let alone in this way?

Now potential suitors for medical attention and phone line representatives are fighting a new threat we never saw coming. In an industry where every second counts, the invasion of automated robocalls has healthcare facilities racing to find out how to regain control of their phone lines. Emergency response phone representatives cannot guess what’s a real phone number versus a robocall. In light of the task at hand, saving lives, this is unacceptable. If the volume of robocalls continue to increase at this rate, medical emergency response time will be cut dramatically.

Even though technology has advanced, and solutions can be found, the relationship works both ways! Technology companies are creating tools for business to use that will monitor and identify automated or robocalls, but these automated calling systems are becoming more sophisticated and trickier to identify. Now, robocalls are blending in with local phone numbers to mask their appearance combating the tools created to stop them. There have been attempts by the Federal Communications Commission to find and fine the culprits of the robocalls. But this attempt has been stalled in rewriting the anti-robocall regulations. And that just applies to the United States. There are robocalls originating from out of the country as well.

It doesn’t stop there! The automated calls healthcare facilities have been experiencing just didn’t happen on the receiving end, but for outgoing calls as well.

Imagine this, you have a loved one in the hospital and you receive a call from a number that is identical to the hospitals, but instead of a hospital representative speaking, it’s an automated voice giving information about insurance. This tactic used is called “neighbor spoofing”. It resembles either your phone number or a phone number that you will be able to identify, increasing the possibility of the call being answered. We can only imagine the anxiety caused by the possibility of what could be on the other end of the phone line for that person. Especially if a loved one is currently admitted in the hospital.

The impact and severity of robocalls has invaded our healthcare community disrupting the primary mission of providing patient care. Who will save us?


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