All posts by Peter Lyle DeHaan

Peter DeHaan is the president of Peter DeHaan Publishing, Inc., (https://peterdehaanpublishing.com) the publisher and editor of Connections Magazine, AnswerStat, TAS Trader, and Medical Call Center News. Peter DeHaan (https://peterdehaan.com) is a published author and blogger.

Sales and Marketing Book Released

Peter Lyle DeHaan Publishes New Book: Sticky Sales and Marketing

Peter Lyle DeHaan released his latest book, Sticky Sales and Marketing: Produce Positive Long-Term Results and Relationships on December 1. Sticky Sales and Marketing addresses sales management, sales tips, marketing management, and marketing tactics.

In Sticky Sales and Marketing, Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD breaks down sales and marketing strategies in a coherent story-driven process and highlights what works and what doesn’t.

No matter if you’re selling products, services, or ideas, Sticky Sales and Marketing teaches why some sales and marketing techniques work—and others don’t—and what impacts the bottom line the most.

Through insightful stories and examples, you’ll learn how to:

  • Close more sales and gain repeat clients.
  • Understand the keys to a high-producing sales team.
  • Know what marketing channels will work best for you.
  • Apply marketing tactics proven to work.
  • Feel confident in your sales and marketing ability.

Sticky Sales and Marketing will not only teach you the building blocks to marketing that stick, but how to escape marketing failures that could hurt your reputation and your business.

Sticky Sales and Marketing is book two in the beloved Sticky series. Book one is Sticky Customer Service. Future titles include Sticky Leadership and Management, and Sticky Living.

Sticky Sales and Marketing is available now in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time. Read more of his articles or his book, Healthcare Call Center Essentials.

Integrate Your Call Center

Facilitate Better Communication and Connectivity Within and Outside Your Operation

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.

With the staffing challenges that most every healthcare call center faces, it’s more critical now than ever to optimize your operation for greater effectiveness and increased efficiency. One way to do this is to integrate your call center.

Let’s consider some ways for enhanced contact center integration.

Integrate Your Staffing

To integrate your call center staffing is essentially a move from specialists to generalists. This means cross training. It includes both cross training on types of contacts (such as give information, transfer calls, take messages, schedule appointments, and so forth) and channels (such as phone, text, email, and social).

Granted, you may have some areas where cross training doesn’t make sense, but these should be rare exceptions and not the norm.

Cross training improves operational efficiency, increases employee skill level, and better serves patients and callers. Cross training also moves your operation closer to FCR (first call resolution), which produces both caller-centric and center-centric results.

Integrate Your Tools

How often do your employees need to rekey information? Ideally the answer is never. Yet reality falls short of this ideal. Not only is re-entering data time consuming, but it’s also error prone. And although a cut-and-paste transfer helps in both areas, it’s not a solution but more of a shortcut.

Related to this in integrating your auto-attendant with your agent screens. Making an agent ask in person for information the caller has already shared electronically wastes agent time and infuriates callers.

The simple solution is to integrate your call center technology and smartly avoid this needless duplication.

Integrate with Your Organization

Next is to integrate your call center operation with other departments or divisions within your organization. Move from an us-versus-them mentality to a holistic we-and-us team approach. Seek proverbial win-win outcomes as opposed to clinging to a win-lose mindset.

This may be the most challenging integration initiative as it requires a shared perspective to reach a mutually beneficial result. Without having a common goal, the altruistic call center manager can fall victim to the me-first mentality of a predatory counterpart.

Integrate with Your Stakeholders

The final consideration is to integrate your call center with your stakeholders. For the inhouse call center, this means a better information flow between you and other departments, such as marketing. For the outsourcing operation, this means a better data exchange between you and your clients.

Also don’t overlook your staff. Seek to better integrate with them and their needs. Look at schedule development and posting, performance reviews, and handling the compensation aspects of their work. This integration is even more critical now in face of a worker shortage. Although your primary stakeholders are those you serve, without your staff, you’d have no chance to serve them.

Conclusion

Pursue integration initiatives to make your call center operation be more effective and a nicer, saner place to work.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.

Who Owns Me?

The Enterprise Nature of the Call Center in Healthcare

By Robert Kobek

Given two very long and I believe distinguished careers in the contact center industry and the hospitality industry, I’m not surprised about how little patient feedback information is shared between stakeholders in a company.

Being new to the healthcare industry, I’m keenly aware of the requirement to survey for Medicare reimbursement. What about the rest of the journey?

Very few of us executives have the luxury of focus. We look at the entire landscape, ecosystem, culture, call it what you will. There are times when focus can be misunderstood. One specific example is the way an organization views its contact center.

It’s imperative to use horizontal/peripheral vision. This phenom is what will create an enterprise view of how your contact center remains a profit center. From appointment to billing, the contact center is the point of the spear in managing the relationships between you and your patients.

Later I will use three examples to show the impact of a contact center report on at least seven departments or silos in an organization.

And in the case of gathering patient experience for the contact center where there are at least two outcomes, enhancing the patient experience through process improvement.

There is also a big difference between research and online feedback management where measurement of every key performance indicator is reported to more business silos.

Invariably, there is someone in the company who will treat a contact center like they are an orphan. Here is some guidance: Do what you can to help them understand what goes on in that critical, tip-of-the-spear part of the business. Contact centers are profit centers. Treating it any differently is a mistake.

Measuring the patient experience (PX) at the point of the omnichannel contact center/phone call has significant benefits when measuring the appropriate KPIs.

Applying them to training, retention efforts, net promoter scores, customer effort scores, and a host of other important process improvement efforts, requires dedicated energy. With measurement, effort becomes a project, a project becomes executable.

The beginning of the complete process to measure to enhance the patient journey has begun. The complete journey with qualitative and quantitative data, both structured and unstructured data (reporting).

What is particularly interesting (if you are anywhere near the data geek I am) about measuring the voice of the patient is how it compares with the way your dialing machine tracks a distinct set of KPIs.

And, depending on your contact center stretch goals, there are comparisons between average speed to answer and a customer effort score (CES) question to the patient. Comparing those measurements with the disposition given by the agent and you have quantifiable evidence of a disconnect.

 A positive experience on the initial patient call sets the tone for the rest of the journey. Like the golf tournament precedes a trade show. With the enhancement of the patient journey at the contact center, the enterprise journey walks in step with the patient.

An example will help. The following comes directly from an NPS report.

In this case, there are several stakeholders inside your organization that can benefit from a customer comment. At a minimum:

  • center management
  • training
  • scheduling
  • patient experience professionals

This verbatim comment is the result of a patient responding negatively to one question “would you recommend us?”

Another example, and perhaps more important—the CES question. “Did xxx made it easy for me to do business?”

On a 7-point scale, one being they made it hard, seven it was easy, wouldn’t it be good to know why the scores from one to five were so low? Who should care?

  • accounting
  • marketing
  • training
  • center management

Then yet a third, the email delivery report. This one drills down on your ability to communicate effectively with the patient, at all levels. A clean list is a happy list.

Who benefits:

  • the patient
  • center management
  • IT—data managers
  • digital marketing
  • patient EX management

Who owns the feedback? Every stakeholder in the enterprise owns the obligation to enhance the patient experience.     

The lesson here: work with the patient throughout their journey by asking them about their experiences. Every stakeholder in your organization should play a part in deciding what the voice of the patient should be. Then use that information to enhance that experience.

There will be certain outcomes for sure. Your patient will remain loyal to you and in the event you are billing Medicare your star ratings will come in much faster and higher.

It will be an honor to work with you at your convenience.

Robert Kobek is the president of Mobius VP, LLC, and Patients-Count®.

Ambs Call Center Wins Customer Service Awards for 12 Years Running


Ambs Call Center is an award-winning call center that has been in business since 1932. It is a mission-driven company that has stuck to its values through decades of fluctuating market conditions, only to emerge as a frontrunner in high-tech business communication.

For the twelfth year in a row, Ambs Call Center has won customer service awards for excellence from CAM-X and ATSI, two trade organizations that recognize outstanding operations in the industry.

Ambs Call Center CEO Aaron Boatin is proud of his company’s consistently high performance. He explains, “The core of what we do is help our clients communicate better with their customers. Customers are fed up with the frustration that offshore call centers create with language barriers. Our team solves this with friendly voices on every call which makes our clients’ customers happy. That’s what makes this independent recognition so gratifying.”

Now in its fourth generation of family ownership and operation, the leaders at Ambs Call Center have created a business model that supplies a distinct experience for people, elevating the importance of the customer experience, call success, and the lost art of courteousness. These priorities are baked into operations, staff training, and performance evaluations.

Ambs Call Center offers a full suite of telephonic answering services for businesses in all industries, including healthcare, IT, property management, and more. Services include virtual receptionists, secure text messaging, call centers, and automated attendants.

Case Study: MD Anderson Cancer Center

The Technical Side of Operators Working from Home

By Nicole Limpert

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is named after Monroe Dunaway Anderson, a banker, and businessman born on June 29, 1873, in Jackson, Tennessee. His family began buying and selling cotton in 1904 and in 1907 MD Anderson moved to Houston, Texas to grow the family business. Monroe established the MD Anderson Foundation in 1936 before his death in 1939. When the Texas Legislature authorized The University of Texas to establish a hospital for cancer research and treatment, the MD Anderson Foundation matched the $500,000 that was appropriated for the hospital which was then named for its benefactor.

MD Anderson is the largest cancer treatment center in the United States and ranks number one in cancer care by U.S. News & World Report. MD Anderson is also a degree-granting academic institution and research center. MD Anderson employs more than 22,000 people, including 1,788 faculty members, has more than 680 inpatient beds, several research buildings and outpatient clinic buildings, two faculty office buildings, a patient- family hotel, and other off-site facilities for clinical and research use, making it one of the largest cancer centers in the world.

The Road to Remote Operators

The askMDAnderson service, formerly known as the Welcome Center, was established to provide answers, resources, and expertise to people with a cancer diagnosis. According to MDAnderson’s website, askMDAnderson (askMDA) can help people:

  • Make an appointment
  • Understand treatment options
  • Learn about research studies
  • Navigate the MDAnderson website
  • Find out about patient amenities (such as travel and support resources)
  • Access prevention and screening services
  • Find accurate cancer information
  • Locate community cancer resources

When a pandemic was declared in March 2020, MD Anderson required non-direct patient care personnel to work remotely. This included the operators for the askMDA line. “Before April 2020, our operators had never worked remotely,” says Ninette Thomas, askMDA Operator Manager. “We began to look at the resources we already had to develop a hybrid remote call center and realized we were not harnessing the full capability of the technology available to us. That lead to a collaboration with a lot of other departments at our organization to establish our hybrid remote call center.”

IT Mobilization

“The very first step was to determine the feasibility of allowing our operators to work from home. Luckily, we were already investigating the prospect of working from home, but the pandemic fast-tracked all our ideas and testing for how operators could work from home. We knew it was a possibility and we needed to figure out a way to make it happen,” says Jeffrey Cain, Applications System Analyst.

Once the IT team determined it was technically feasible for the operators to work from home, they began preliminary testing. That was followed by a new hardware roll out, new software installation, technical testing, and regression testing. Jeffrey says, “We had a mixture of technical and regression testing. We simulated a remote workflow in our testing environment and included our regression testings and scripts to determine if we needed to change anything in our ANI (automatic number identification) screening table.”

Custom call center agent scripting guides operators through each call no matter where they are located. Remote operators are provided with the exact information they need to provide the best patient experience and reduce call center error rates.

Michael Wolf, Principal Applications System Analyst and Technical and Support Lead for the IT team that supports the operators adds, “As IT support we had been working remotely one or two days a week for years. So, for our ongoing support, we were already working remotely using our call center software for regression testing, developing new call scripts, and modifying call scripts. We were able to go through the entire workflow for a couple of years which helped us transition after COVID-19 hit.”

IT Challenges and Departmental Collaboration

One of the biggest challenges the team faced was that all their operators worked on-site and used desktops. The IT team replaced all the desktops with laptops for each operator for a total of twenty-two new laptops. Each laptop required:

  • A docking station
  • The hardware operators needed to use the laptops in their homes
  • Installation of all the relevant call center software used by operators and managers
  • USB headset, wireless keyboard and mouse, and a mouse pad

New hardware and applications had to be used and integrated to ensure the system ran smoothly, “The introduction of the other applications meant we had to familiarize ourselves with these applications that interface with our call center platform because they had become an integral part of the operator’s workflow,” says Jeffrey.

Testing, planning, and coordinating how to work from home wasn’t just for the askMDA operators. All of IT had to go remote in April 2020. This meant deploying thousands of laptops to people across MD Anderson’s institution to give them the ability to work remotely.

Michael says, “It was a huge undertaking with a lot of coordination between IT groups. A command center was set up in our main administrative building for people to come in and get any equipment they would need to work remotely. This took some work and collaboration between our colleges on the Voice Engineering Team and us on the Applications Support Team. We had to work out all the kinks, but it did work thanks to a lot of cooperation and collaboration.”

Remote Operator Setup, Training, and Support

Working remotely meant new workflows and procedures would be introduced. Operators had to be trained on using VPN access, two-factor authentication or Velo-Cloud, and establishing audio just to log in. Ninette comments, “We wanted to make sure our operators had the exact same setup they had at home as they did on-site. They also got a pager so when we have a situation like a code blue, they know it went through successfully even though they are at home.”

“The operators were using physical desk phones and their extensions are tied to the ANI screening table and the call center software. We needed to be sure that they could now transition seamlessly back and forth from their desk phone when they’re on-site to working from home,” says Jeffery.

Additional procedures were also established such as:

  • Following a specific login order to ensure nothing disrupted the system and it remained operable
  • Steps to be done when returning to campus
  • Using RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) so IT can access the remote machines and make administrative changes

“Our training is 100 precent on-site because we want operators to be comfortable using all the applications before they go home. They are required to work 100 precent on-site for the first thirty days so they can ask questions,” says Ninette.

Remote Challenges

Web-based communication is fast, secure, improves communication times, adds efficiencies through remote access, and reduces the number of potential errors caused by miscommunication and absences. Yet, challenges still exist but they can be overcome with solid procedures and backup solutions.

Outages: Houston, Texas experienced a winter storm in February 2021 that essentially shut down the entire city. This demonstrated how important it was for MD Anderson to have remote procedures in place because some employees were unable to leave their homes. During and after the storm, many team members were without power which can be a downfall of working remotely. However, this organization has backup systems and procedures so communications could continue.

“We have backup procedures in case of a server or phone outage. There is a phone line that isn’t connected to our server so we can use that line for Code Blue and other emergency communications. If the phone system is down, we have landline phones that are hardwired into the building that are designed to work for codes,” says Ninette.

Staff management: Ninette comments, “We’ve been utilizing the reporting functionality of our call center software a lot more now that operators are remote. When we’re in the office and working together, I can hear my staff and know that they are working on calls. Now I’m using the reports a lot more than in the past to monitor productivity and availability. What was surprising to me was that I anticipated having a problem with performance when they went home, but what I found was that our productivity actually went up.”

Remote Benefits

MD Anderson had a separate “ride out” location in another building that was specifically designated as the location all the operators should go to in case of a disaster. The operators would relocate to this command center, which was outfitted with two desktop workstations and multiple open phone ports, where they could resume their normal workflows.

“We are now more prepared for hurricane season. We have less staff required for ride out because we have more people who are available to work remotely—provided they have power and internet. All we need is a power source to continue to work. We can literally work from anywhere,” states Ninette.

Michael adds, “Now that the operators have the ability to work remotely, the IT department has experienced benefits such as decreased overhead to maintain the equipment or perform quarterly tests and reduces our support time.”

Another benefit that came about with the operator’s ability to work remotely was schedule flexibility. After the thirty-day on-campus training, operators were able to go to a four-days-a-week/ten-hours-a-day schedule. The department originally offered only three shifts to cover their 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week operation, but that has increased to seven shifts for more flexibility.

The team rotates the schedule so each operator is located on-site for only two days per week. This results in more flexibility for the operators, easier commutes, and they can limit the number of people on staff in compliance with their institution’s response to keep their employees safer during the pandemic.

Patient and employee safety are paramount. Even though between 82 to 91 percent of the operator staff work remotely per shift, there are still at least two operators in the building at all times in case there is a communication outage. Having a redundancy of operators on-site ensures normal operations without any interruptions.

“As a team, we have the difficult task of balancing patient safety, employee safety, and employee satisfaction. We have made every effort to make sure we are not putting anyone in harm’s way by taking unnecessary risks. Implementing a hybrid remote call center in the middle of a pandemic was challenging. However, the collaboration between the different IT groups and the askMDA operator team have made this a successful transition,” says Ninette.

Nicole Limpert is the marketing content writer for 1Call, specializing in offering enterprise-wide communication solutions for healthcare organizations.

TriageLogic Publishes E-book on How to Create a Successful RPM Program

While healthcare providers acknowledge the value of remote patient monitoring (RPM), many have found it difficult to set up a successful program. TriageLogic recently published an RPM e-book that outlines the common reasons why providers may experience setbacks with implementation, along with the steps they can take to overcome them.

These solutions have been shown to reduce medical expenses, offer income to providers in the form of reimbursements, and greatly improve patient health outcomes.

What Is RPM?

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is part of a new era of remote medical services and technology. Most remote patient care takes place over the phone or a two-way video. RPM goes one step further by helping doctors regularly collect and evaluate patient data using electronic medical devices. 

These RPM tools track patients’ vitals like blood pressure, glucose, and pulse ox, and relay this data back to their providers for review. At minimum, a successful RPM program depends on having the right amount of reliable RPM devices, as well as enough staff to monitor recorded data, identify when devices are being used improperly, and notify patients when symptoms indicate possible medical concerns.

The Case for Implementing RPM Technology

The main reason for developing remote patient monitoring was to improve a provider’s ability to catch changing vitals in chronically ill patients.

Some changes may be sudden or happen between normal patient follow-up appointments. Others may simply be undetectable until it’s too late to respond. RPM serves as an early warning symptom that enables providers to intervene even before patients experience troubling symptoms. 

Considering how much money is required cumulatively to treat patients with chronic disease, and the fact that six in ten Americans suffer from at least one type, it should come as no surprise that a successful RPM program can offer substantial benefits to patients and the healthcare system.

For providers, this means insurance companies are now open to reimburse them for remote patient care. 

Challenges for a Successful RPM Program

While this technology offers greater visibility over the changing health of chronically ill patients, RPM isn’t without its own challenges. These can range from RPM vendor selection to properly billing for RPM. One of the biggest issues is the ability to manage and respond to the regular influx of health data.

That’s why TriageLogic expanded their nurse telephone and telehealth triage services to include data review for remote patient monitoring. When healthcare providers want to outsource this service, TriageLogic will put them in touch with an established RPM partner.

That partner will supply the number of needed devices for the provider to administer, while TriageLogic will review health data from those devices through their call center of registered nurses.

Their RNs go through a strict hiring process to verify their knowledge and capabilities when it comes to patient symptom evaluation, allowing them to identify when RPM readings are enough of a concern to warrant notifying the provider and the patient. Nurses also use device-specific and disease-specific protocols to evaluate patients. 

The Future of RPM

As more healthcare providers adopt this technology, their patients will experience greater health outcomes. Charu Raheja, CEO of TriageLogic, understands firsthand what a powerful effect this can have: “When my father passed away from a massive heart attack in 2009 because he did not call a healthcare provider to evaluate his symptoms, our mission became that much more important to me. I could see … how providing remote health care … to address [patients’] symptoms could save lives.”

Implement Your RPM Solution

Providers who are interested in creating a successful RPM program can download TriageLogic’s e-book. Those who wish to partner with TriageLogic’s outsourced RPM data review can contact them directly at 800-723-4290 or through their contact form.

Founded in 2007, TriageLogic is a URAC accredited, physician-lead provider of high-quality telehealth services, remote patient monitoring, nurse triage, triage education, and software for telephone medicine. Their comprehensive solutions include integrated mobile access and two-way video capability. The TriageLogic group serves over 9,000 physicians and covers over 25 million lives nationwide.

Multichannel Contact Center Scheduling

Staff Your Operation with Agents with the Right Stills to Work at the Time They’re Most Needed


By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.

You run a multichannel contact center for the healthcare industry and have staffed it with well-trained agents. Some specialize in one specific channel, others can handle related channels, and some are cross trained on all channels. This is a great start. Now comes implementation; now comes multichannel contact center scheduling.

Schedule Channel-Specific Agents First

Start with the channel that receives the most interaction, and schedule agents for that channel. By way of example, let’s assume the majority of your contacts are via the telephone. Schedule telephone agents, across your hours of operation, to take a percentage of those calls.

If they can cover 50 percent of those calls overall, don’t schedule them to cover 100 percent on some shifts and ignore other shifts. Instead populate your schedule so that your telephone-only specialists can cover 50 percent of those calls throughout your hours of operation.

Repeat this for your next highest used channel.

Continue this process for each channel that has enough traffic in any given time slot to call for scheduling a specialist to handle it. As you work through this, you’ll find a particular time-of-day or day-of-week that doesn’t have enough traffic to keep one agent busy. Don’t schedule a specialist for those time slots. Instead move them to an area with enough work to fill their scheduled hours.

Schedule Partially Cross-Trained Agents Next

With your single-channel specialists scheduled, next fold in those who are trained on more than one channel. Let’s assume you have an agent trained to handle both text and email contacts. Place them on the schedule where there will be enough activity from one channel or the other to keep them busy.

Depending on the dynamics of your traffic, they could spend their shift bouncing between the two channels or primarily receiving contacts on one channel or the other. This is to be expected, and they need to be aware it could happen. The key is to not schedule them for shifts where there isn’t enough potential traffic in either of the channels they’re trained to handle.

Schedule Fully Cross Trained Agents Last

Once you have your channel-specific agents and partially cross-trained agents on the schedule, fill the remaining open slots with agents who are fully cross trained to handle any channel. This is the last step of multichannel contact center scheduling.

At minimum you should have one fully cross-trained agent on every shift throughout the day. They’ll serve as your buffer, able to pick up traffic from whatever channel has the greatest need.

Assuming you have enough staff, the fully cross trained agents will smooth out your schedule. They’ll pick up the slack on the channel where they’re most needed.

You can use these fully cross-trained agents in two ways. And their personality may align with one approach or the other.

Although able to take contacts on any channel, some agents will want to start on one channel and focus on those interactions until you move them to another channel—or until some preset condition exists, signaling them to make the switch themselves.

Other fully cross-trained agents are completely comfortable bouncing between channels from one contact to the next. They thrive on the moment-to-moment variability, which ideally positions them to pick up the moment-to-moment traffic changes that occur within any multichannel contact center.

Scheduling Tools

Knowing the philosophy of multichannel contact center scheduling forms the foundational understanding of what to do. Now comes the challenge of making it happen. For smaller operations with minimal channels, you can do this with some degree of proficiency on a spreadsheet.

A better solution, however, is scheduling software. But don’t try to use a single-channel scheduling package. Instead look for a solution that can take historical inputs from multiple channels and allow you to match agents according to the projected need.

Having a full-featured, robust scheduling solution will make the task of multichannel contact center scheduling much easier—once you’ve mastered the foundational staffing strategy.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time. Read more of his articles or his book, Healthcare Call Center Essentials.

Addressing Healthcare Workplace Violence with Integrated Contact Center Software and Secure Messaging

By Nicole Limpert

When you think of the most dangerous careers in the United States, it’s understandable to think of farmers, loggers, law enforcement, and construction workers. But would you consider adding nursing to that list?

Violence experienced by healthcare workers in the United States has been a major concern for years and unfortunately, it is getting worse. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published a fact sheet about workplace violence in healthcare between 2011-2018 that showed the industry’s workplace violence was on the rise. It found that “healthcare workers accounted for 73 percent of all nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses due to violence.”

A more recent survey from Perceptyx, an employee insight platform, found that over a 30-day period in early 2022, 92 percent of health workers experienced or witnessed workplace violence. It also reported that “Three in four (health workers) have also experienced verbal and physical assaults in the past month and almost half of them had to call security or a colleague to assist them.”

Understanding Healthcare Workplace Violence

According to research published in May 2022 by JAMA Network Open, patients and visitors were the most frequent source of violence towards healthcare staff. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) includes the following reasons as risk factors that contribute to violence in a healthcare setting:

  • Working alone
  • Lack of means of emergency communication
  • Lack of training and policies for staff
  • Under-staffing in general, and inadequate security staff
  • Lifting, moving, and transporting patients
  • Presence of firearms
  • The perception that violence is tolerated, and reporting incidents will have no effect

There are numerous studies that show many incidents of violence are not reported by healthcare workers even though formal reporting processes are in place. Verbal abuse and bullying are especially prone to under-reporting.

Reasons for under-reporting include lack of faith in the reporting system, fear of retaliation, and because the people who have chosen healthcare as a career path feel they have an ethical duty to protect patients—even when the patients cause harm to their caregivers.

Include Contact Center Scripting in Emergency Action Plans

On June 1, 2022, a shooter opened fire in the Natalie Building, part of the Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The gunman was a patient who blamed his surgeon for pain following back surgery. He injured an unspecified number of bystanders and killed four people, including himself and three others who were hospital staff.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) states active shooter incidents are commonly over within 10 to 15 minutes. During the Saint Francis Hospital shooting, officers responded within three minutes when the initial call was received by 911. Their fast action undoubtedly saved more lives.

It is imperative that hospitals include their contact centers as part of their emergency action plan (EAP). According to the DHS, an effective EAP includes, “Contact information for, and responsibilities of individuals to be contacted,” and “an emergency notification system to alert various parties of an emergency.”

Handling calls quickly and correctly is of utmost importance. Scripting software can be customized to efficiently guide operators through scripts for any type of call, including emergency, crisis, and code calls. Contact center scripting software helps to streamline enterprise-wide hospital communications and processes by:

  • Speeding up call processing
  • Providing accurate information
  • Reducing operator errors
  • Improving efficiency and productivity
  • Supplying detailed call analytics and reporting

Integrate Emergency Notifications with Secure Messaging

Every healthcare facility has unique security risks that can affect patients, visitors, and hospital staff. Most organizations have a security management plan that is designed to identify and manage security risks.

Security teams manage and mitigate risks they find on a hospital campus and are supported by local police departments. The security teams often work together with a hospital’s telecommunication center because hospital call center operators also handle calls for security assistance and can monitor emergency phones and other security technology at the hospital.

When a security team needs to communicate an alert to the staff of a hospital campus, it is common for the hospital’s call center operators to send the notification because their call center software contains a complete personnel directory.

Contact groups are built in advance, so notifications occur with one click. Seconds matter and so do the number of keystrokes it takes for them to send out emergency notifications to multiple contacts and devices.

An efficient way to communicate these alerts is via the secure messaging app employees use on their smart devices for work. Many hospitals have replaced their outdated pager technology with secure messaging apps to improve notification speeds and response times. These apps are used by providers, lab techs, building maintenance, environmental services, contact center, security, and other departments within an organization.

Notification systems can integrate with a hospital’s secure messaging app and use automated notifications to communicate critical alerts and security instructions to reach more people in less time.

Some apps can also track message activity, complete with message histories, indicating whom messages were sent to and when messages were read so an organization can have confidence in knowing critical messages were delivered and read.

According to OSHA, healthcare workplace violence is preventable when an effective program is in place. They cite five key program components:

  • Management commitment and worker participation
  • Worksite analysis and hazard identification
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Safety and health training
  • Record keeping and program evaluation

Technology used by a healthcare organization’s contact center should be included in a violence prevention program. As the hub of communication for a hospital system, their call center already has updated contact information for departments and employees and uses highly effective communication tools to get critical alerts to staff members.

Nicole Limpert is the marketing content writer for 1Call, a Division of Amtelco.

Vendor Case Study: LVM Systems’ SOC 2 Type 2 Examination

LVM Systems Completes 2022 System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 Type 2 Examination

By Jake Johnson

LVM Systems’ successful completion of its 2022 System and Organization Controls (SOC®) 2 Type 2 Examination affirms that our practices, policies, procedures, and operations meet the SOC 2 standards for security, availability, processing integrity, and confidentiality.

Completing this examination demonstrates LVM Systems’ commitment to the security and integrity of our platform. LVM Systems selected 360 Advanced to perform the demanding third-party examination.

Throughout the examination, 360 Advanced audited LVM against the AICPA Trust Services Criteria. The examination’s outcome ensures that the company’s controls meet the criteria of the selected trust services.

These trust services criteria encompass the following five categories:

1. Security

Protects data and systems against unauthorized access, disclosure, or damage.

  • LVM has a security team that includes a security officer, a compliance officer, and an incident response team to ensure LVM is up to date with current security best practices and that LVM complies with its security policies and procedures. In addition, LVM performs annual risk assessments, evaluating every aspect of the organization for improvement and ensuring LVM policies and procedures align with current regulatory requirements.
  • Background checks are performed on all prospective employees. New employees must review and sign the LVM security agreement, ensuring employees maintain a high level of security integrity. In addition, before working with LVM systems or processes, new employees must receive mandatory security training.
  • Quarterly security training ensures employees understand LVM security policies and procedures and are vigilant about new security threats.
  • Third-party systems monitor vulnerability and penetration testing to ensure systems remain secure.
  • Development teams undergo ongoing training on secure software development lifecycles and secure coding. In addition, third-party security code analysts review the software for known vulnerabilities to ensure LVM development teams use current best practices.
  • LVM utilizes encryption standards to ensure all private data access or storage is secured.
  • For hosted solutions, LVM utilizes Microsoft Azure as the preferred cloud provider. Microsoft Azure has a security team of over 3,500 members, over ninety security certifications, and has invested over $1 billion in security R&D to ensure client systems and data are protected.

2. Availability

Information and systems are available for operation.

  • System monitoring ensures systems are running smoothly. If anomalies are detected, appropriate LVM resources are notified.
  • Backup, redundancy, and recovery standards follow industry best practices.
  • Disaster recovery development and testing ensure LVM can rapidly recover systems.

3. Processing Integrity

System processing is complete, valid, accurate, and timely.

  • Development processes include rigorous quality assurance (QA) reviews to ensure processing integrity within LVM’s software. QA utilizes automated testing tools, manual test scripts, and data comparison tools to assure all areas of code are thoroughly tested.
  • QA also tests the latest operating system patches to ensure compatibility.
  • Security and information technology (IT) teams ensure the processing integrity of LVM’s hosted solutions.

4. Confidentiality

LVM protects information designated as confidential.

  • LVM follows a data retention policy and conducts activity tracking.
  • LVM maintains an asset inventory and destruction policy.

5. Privacy

LVM collects, uses, retains, discloses, and disposes of personal information following industry best practices.

  • Notices and communication of objectives
  • Choice and consent
  • Collection, use, retention, and disposal
  • Disclosure and notifications
  • Monitoring and enforcement

As caretakers of our customer data, and as security concerns grow, healthcare organizations choose LVM Systems as their core platform and engine of growth.

Jake Johnson is the CIO of LVM Systems.

MobiusVP Expands into Healthcare Market with Launch of Patients-Count

Offers customized platform to capture, measure, and improve patient and employee experience

Mobius Vendor Partners (MobiusVP) expands into the healthcare market with the launch of its latest product, Patients-Count®. Patients-Count is an online enterprise feedback management system tailored to the healthcare industry to capture, measure, and report patient and employee experience at each step of the care journey.

“Patient experience and employee satisfaction have never been more important as we’ve faced unprecedented healthcare challenges. We’re launching Patients-Count to help healthcare providers measure and manage every important key performance indicator at every touch point of a patient’s journey to help them meet their strategic goals,” said Bob Kobek, president of MobiusVP, a business process design, management, and performance improvement company.

Patients-Count is an extension of MobiusVP’s signature customer feedback solution, CustomerCount®, which launched in 2007 in the hospitality, timeshare, and contact center industries and has expanded into numerous vertical markets and industries.

“While the hospitality and healthcare industries are distinct, there are many similarities when it comes to measuring the guest and patient journey,”Kobek said. “Our 24-year, experienced consulting firm is very skilled in learning business processes, and we have over fifteen years of experience understanding customer and employee feedback in the hospitality industry. We’re well-positioned to enter the healthcare market and help healthcare organizations meaningfully measure and manage their patient and employee experience.”

Patients-Count offers a customized survey platform that enables healthcare providers to measure not only episodes of care, but every step of the patient journey, including between-care episodes. It also features the strategic ability to capture and report the experience of all stakeholders, including family members and critical members of the care team to understand and improve the wholistic patient experience.

“Many healthcare organizations rely on traditional survey methods to capture patient feedback and are missing key opportunities to use that data to improve outcomes,” Kobek said. “Our customized platform and consulting experience will help arm organizations with reliable data, robust reporting and actionable results to improve patient and employee experience and meet their strategic goals.”

To launch into the healthcare industry, Patients-Count went through months of a rigorous application process to earn its HIPAA certification. Patients-Count also complies with global, federal, state, and industry data privacy regulations, including W3C, TCPA, GDPR, and CCPA.

Patients-Count supports over forty languages with seventy report templates that help remove barriers to accessibility and understanding. It also features the ability to deploy surveys via email, SMS, QR code, WhatsApp, website, telephone, and mail (via scanning technology).

Watch a video of Patients-Count. Visit www.MobiusVP.com for more information about Mobius Vendor Partners, Patients-Count, and CustomerCount. Follow Mobius Vendor Partners and its products on LinkedIn.