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Balancing Patient Care with Data Security and Privacy Starts with the Contact Center



By Tim Critchley

The stakes have never been higher for healthcare providers to deliver a positive patient experience. According to a recent study by Prophet, 81 percent of consumers are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience, while only 40 percent believe providers are best meeting their needs. At the same time, data breaches in the healthcare sector are at an all-time high—occurring at a rate of more than one per day in the United States. These security incidents not only jeopardize patients’ privacy but also put both patient trust and brand reputation at risk.

All the while, medical practitioners, hospitals, and insurers are pressed to keep up with the ever-evolving regulatory compliance landscape. This not only includes the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) but also the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and a long list of individual state regulations and data breach notification laws. With HIPAA violations alone incurring fines as high as 50,000 dollars (for each violation or exposed record), healthcare organizations are finding themselves wedged between conflicting objectives: how do you protect patient data and maintain compliance, without losing sight of providing the best possible patient experience?Data security and privacy are key to providing positive interactions with your customers and patients. Click To Tweet

Contact Center Security

While you can’t please every patient, you can strike a balance between care and data security. The first place to address this is your contact center.

Although online interaction tools and patient portals are gaining in popularity, you can’t underestimate the value of the voice channel. Research by PatientPop shows that 58.5 percent of patients still prefer to schedule an appointment via phone. As such, your contact center is often the go-to point of interaction for your patients and can set the tone for their entire experience. But this also means that your contact center intrinsically holds, processes, and stores copious amounts of personally identifiable information (PII), from medical records to payment card data. This makes the contact center an alluring target for fraudsters and hackers.

However, it’s not only devious cybercriminals who threaten your patients’ data. Company insiders, such as rogue patient service representatives (PSRs) or contact center agents, pose a massive threat, especially if they have access to patient data given over the phone or stored in desktop applications. In fact, 58 percent of all healthcare data breaches and security incidents are the result of insiders, according to Verizon’s Protected Health Information Data Breach Report.

Security Best Practices

With inside and outside threats, as well as vulnerable legacy systems serving as entry points for enterprise-wide breach incidents, contact centers are undoubtedly a weak link in your security chain. But protecting PII, maintaining compliance, and providing a positive patient experience first involve a hearty dose of security best practices:

  • Treat all data as potentially toxic: The more information that is available in the event of a breach, the easier it will be for a malicious insider or cybercriminal to steal a patient’s identity or access their private medical records.
  • Train all employees and always perform thorough background checks: Go beyond basic employee vetting and background checks, especially when hiring for your contact center environments. Educate PSRs and customer service agents on data security best practices and how to spot social engineering and phishing tactics.
  • Prepare your response management policy: Have an incident response management policy and process in place, preferably as part of an information security management system. Prepare for a worst-case scenario, and test your incident response plan at least annually.
  • Tokenize data: Replace PII with a meaningless equivalent, so even if a breach is successful, the hacked data will be of no value to the cybercriminal. This approach can also assist in the event of a social engineering attack, which can put even the most trustworthy employee at risk for exposing PII.
  • Enforce the principle of least privilege: Give employees the minimum level of access required to perform their job function at the appropriate time. Introduce exception procedures for when emergency access is needed.
  • Authenticate the user to authenticate the service agent: Prevent PSRs and agents from accessing patient data until the PSR has received the right data from the user. This means that until the caller has been successfully identified using the appropriate secure authentication approach, deny access to detailed PII.

Descoping Technologies

With these tactics creating a foundation for security in your contact center, you can introduce descoping technologies. Such technologies not only strengthen data security and compliance by removing sensitive data from your infrastructure, but they also garner a positive patient experience and journey.

For the voice channel, in particular, dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) masking solutions hold great promise, allowing patients to discretely enter numerical PHI, such as payment card, insurance, or account numbers, using their phone’s keypad. The keypad tones, however, are masked with flat tones, so they are not exposed to anyone but the patient. The data collected is encrypted and sent to a compliant third party, bypassing the contact center’s environment completely.

While this process may invoke notions of automated interactive voice response (IVR) systems, it is not quite the same. Here, agents and PSRs can remain on the line in full voice communication with the patient, guiding them through the transaction, answering questions, and even handling wrap-up tasks. There are no challenges with misheard or miskeyed data, which can lead to premature hang-ups and abandoned calls. In addition, patients have full control over inputting their information and can enjoy peace of mind that their data is protected. This makes for a better overall customer experience.

Conclusion

Data security and privacy are key to providing positive interactions with your customers and patients, and there really is no longer any need to compromise in either area. A combination of security best practices, strategies, and emerging descoping technologies are ideal solutions to achieve both. No matter which route you take, the less PII you hold and handle, the better off you’ll be. Remember, no one can hack the data you don’t hold.

Tim Critchley is the CEO of Semafone.

Call 4 Health Announces 5th Annual User Conference

Call 4 Health announced details for its 5th Annual User Conference, January 16-17, 2019 at the Delray Beach Marriott. The intensive, two-day event will focus on customer service satisfaction, in which participants will acquire the essential tools, resources, and solutions necessary to manage and elevate their business’s healthcare footprint. Conference features include informative industry lectures, networking opportunities, and interactive discussion pods to bring businesses to the next level and beyond.

“The Annual User Conference is our way of equipping industry clients and partners with the influential tools they need to thrive in the healthcare industry,” said Joseph Pores, CEO of Call 4 Health. “This year’s schedule of training sessions, networking opportunities, and entertainment is sure to make the 2019 conference unparalleled.”

This year’s keynote speaker is Kevin Ames, Director of Speaking and Training at the O.C. Tanner Institute, a global center focused on strategic employee culture and engagement. Ames is one of the highest ranked presenters at the Evanta Leadership Summit and has delivered addresses for Fortune 500 companies all over the world, including Dow Chemical, Frito Lay, and Bose. His presentation is entitled, “Influence Greatness,” and will focus on empowering employees and leadership to create a successful and productive company culture.

Call 4 HealthSponsors include 1 Call, Compass IT Compliance, Commonwealth Purchasing Group, Crown Castle, and BlueStream. For more information visit call4health.com.

The December 2018/January 2019 Issue of AnswerStat

Read the December issue of AnswerStat, the information hub for healthcare contact centers.



Feature Content:

Secure Text Messaging and Email Security for Healthcare, by Aaron Boatin
Dealing with HIPAA and HITECH is challenging, but doing nothing risks your organization’s wellbeing and your patients’ protected health information (PHI).… read more >>

Vital Signs: Ideas to Better Retain Call Center Staff, by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Today’s workers seek five core things when they evaluate a position and their long-term commitment to it and the organization.… read more >>

Vendor Spotlight on Call Center Sales Pro
Learn about some of the key services CCSP provides to the healthcare call center industry.… read more >>

Guest Column: A Proven Solution to the Top 3 Challenges Facing the Medical Practices of Today and Tomorrow, by Matt Miller
Learn how a medical call center partnership provides solutions to the top three challenges facing medical practices, while remaining focused on the future state of healthcare.… read more >>

Should Your Answering Service Be a Generalist or a Specialist? from MedConnectUSA
When it comes to handling the communication needs of healthcare providers, do you want to be a general answering service or a medical answering service specialist?… read more >>

Ten years ago: Call Centers Should Work with Marketing and Physician Relations, by Brenda Beukelman and Christine Rhodes
Bring the talent and resources of the call center staff, marketing, and physician relations together to create a significant market differentiating service.… read more >>

Industry News

        

Call4Health      TriageLogic

1Call      Startel

TeamHealth Medical Call Center      Ambs Call Center

AAACN       Citra Health Solutions

Call Center Sales Pro, providing proven healthcare call center solutions      Pulsar360


About AnswerStat
AnswerStat is the information hub for healthcare contact center news and resources, published specifically for hospital and medical contact centers and distributed free to qualified readers, decision makers, and influencers at hospitals and healthcare contact centers worldwide.

For more information, email Peter DeHaan.

Vendor Spotlight: Call Center Sales Pro


Call Center Sales Pro, providing proven healthcare call center solutions


Call Center Sales Pro Helps Healthcare Call Centers Achieve Better Outcomes

In 2014 Janet Livingston formed Call Center Sales Pro (CCSP) to help outsource call centers and telephone answering services. Since then the business expanded rapidly to cover all aspects of call center operation, with a focus on the healthcare call center industry and medical answering services.

Here are some of the key services CCSP provides to the healthcare call center industry.CCSP is a reliable, full-service call center consultancy that specializes in healthcare call centers. Click To Tweet

HIPAA Training

HIPAA compliance training by CCSP will educate your healthcare call center employees about HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), why it’s important, and how to follow its guidelines. This includes learning about PHI (protected health information), how to recognize it, and the essential steps to protect it. Also covered is the critical understanding into how PHI is transmitted between covered entities (CE) and business associates (BA).

This online video course has a live instructor and takes about 45 to 60 minutes. To avoid costly litigation and protect patients’ health information, HIPAA training is essential to your healthcare workforce.

Here is the key information about HIPAA training and certification:

  • HIPAA training is required for anyone with access to PHI.
  • Organizations must provide HIPAA education for all staff, with periodic refresher training.
  • CCSP’s online video course has a live instructor and takes about 45 to 60 minutes.

Healthcare Call Center Consulting

CCSP provides full-service call center consulting to help healthcare call centers with almost any facet of their operations, not just phone answering. Their professional call center consultants can assist organizations with call center operations, accounting and finance, IT, customer service, training, human resources, call center acquisitions and mergers, and other administrative tasks, as well as sales and marketing.

To help you make your call center better, CCSP can:

  • Add expertise to supplement your management team.
  • Optimize systems, protocols, and processes for optimal results.
  • Pursue new opportunities.
  • Solve problems that hold you back.
  • Change the direction of your call center.

CCSP is a reliable, full-service call center consultancy that specializes in healthcare call centers. Their team of professional consultants can assist healthcare organizations with their call center operation, customer service, and agent training. They can also address staffing, disaster recovery planning, and call center technology.

1Call Infinity System Optimization

The preferred call center system provider for many leading healthcare facilities is 1Call, a division of Amtelco. And CCSP, a contracted services provider, is an expert resource on mastering this powerful technology and harnessing it to achieve maximum results. Their contracted services can provide:

  • Strategic planning and logistics
  • Technical support and system engineering
  • Agent training and coaching
  • System setup, configuration, and optimization
  • Medical answering service functions

With CCSP as your strategic call center partner, you can expect these highly sought-after outcomes for your healthcare call center:

  • Help patients better manage their healthcare.
  • Increase per-patient revenue.
  • Maximize patient lifetime value.
  • Move your call center from being a cost center to a revenue center.

CCSP Fuzion Data Portal

Today’s leading call center systems produce an array of detailed reports to help management make informed decisions. Unfortunately call center managers and supervisors often spend too much time tracking down this information, merging it from disparate sources, and trying to make sense of it.

In the worst-case scenario, they simply ignore the data. That’s why CCSP developed CCSP Fuzion, to provide easily actionable information to healthcare call center management.

The CCSP Fuzion data portal provides one-stop management resource for call center supervisors and managers. It was developed by CCSP, who understands the importance of timely data presented in easy-to-digest formats. CCSP Fuzion comes with key reporting tools and evaluation instruments as standard components of this comprehensive portal:

  • Message logs
  • Customized agent QA and report cards
  • Agent productivity stats
  • Scheduling data
  • Center KPI and SLA metrics

Call center leaders need accurate tools that allow them to measure and manage in real time. They also need to be able to look at historical metrics to make solid decisions on running a call center. Everything call center leaders need to effectively gauge agent and call center performance is included in CCSP Fuzion.

Find an Outsource Call Center

CCSP offers a call center and medical answering service locator service. If you need a healthcare call center or medical answering service, CCSP can find the perfect match to meet your exact needs. With CCSP’s locator service, you can remove the hassle of vendor selection, tap the benefits of superior call center consulting services, and enjoy the convenience of a one-stop consulting solution.

If you need a call center or medical answering service provider to handle your facility’s communication needs at an economical price, then let CCSP take care of this for you. Because they have access to a wide network of providers, their call center locator service can find you the best provider for your needs and budget.

Call Center Sales Pro, a full-service healthcare call center consultancyContact CCSP for a free, no-obligation consultation on how they can help your healthcare call center or medical answering service. Learn more at 800-901-7706, contactus@ccsp.us, and www.ccsp.us.

Should Your Answering Service Be a Generalist or a Specialist?



From MedConnectUSA

Most telephone answering services take on a wide range of clientele, from roofer, to funeral home, to property management company, to consultant, to attorney. Oh yeah, they’ll handle healthcare too.

These answering services try to be all things to all people. They’re generalists. Some do okay at it and others not so well. As the saying goes, “They’re a Jack (or Jill) of all trades but a master of none.”

Other answering services are specialists. They focus on one industry, such as healthcare.

Do you want your answering service or call center to be a generalist or a specialist?Do you want to be a general answering service (or call center) or a medical answering service specialist that focuses on healthcare? Click To Tweet

A Generic Answering Service

All answering services that want to stay in business know they need to grow. They realize that with growth comes increased economy of scale. This helps them serve their clients with greater efficiency and increase their bottom line. Because of this push for growth, some are willing to handle any type of business or situation.

Sometimes they end up taking on some strange accounts. Such as a clown or a rock star or an entrepreneur with a questionable business ethic. Add the medical field to their eclectic mix of clients. For them, every call is completely different because every client is completely different. Sometimes they handle this client-multitasking challenge well and other times, not so well.

When an operator at a generic answering service answers the phone for a medical practice, imagine what type of account they handled just before that, how the caller acted, and the way they responded. Does this prepare them to talk to the patient with excellence and treat them precisely the way they should be treated? Some telephone answering service operators can make this mental transition, whereas others struggle.

A Medical Answering Service Specialist

Seeing the downside of these generic, one-size-fits-all answering services, some answering service leaders realize that trying to be all things to all people doesn’t work out so well. They decide to specialize. When they specialize, they become experts in their niche. This allows them to provide a higher level of service then what would be possible if they remained a generic answering service, taking all types of clients.

They decide to specialize in healthcare. They become a medical answering service—a medical answering service specialist, if you will. This allows them to focus on things that are important to their clients in the healthcare field. This includes being empathetic to callers and their health situation, knowing how to handle health emergencies and on-call personnel, and the importance of taking appointments to maximize provider effectiveness.

The result of this is a high level of patient-centric service that meets the needs of the healthcare industry, including medical practices, clinics, hospitals, and healthcare networks.

Summary

When it comes to handling the communication needs of healthcare providers, do you want to be a general answering service (or call center) or a medical answering service specialist that focuses on healthcare? How does this answer apply to the strategy you have for your answering service or call center?

Should you be an answering service generalist or specialist?

Kurt Duncan is the director of operations at MedConnectUSA, a leading provider of medical answering services, that specializes exclusively on the communication needs of the healthcare industry.

Secure Text Messaging and Email Security for Healthcare



By Aaron Boatin

Most healthcare providers send text messages and emails throughout their day. Unfortunately many choose unsecured methods of transmission. This is bad news for protecting patient data and worse yet, a clear HIPAA violation.

Embracing technology to increase the speed of healthcare is a good thing, but only if it’s done right. This means encrypting protected health information (PHI), to ensure the privacy protection mandated by HIPAA and HITECH.

Managing Protected Health Information with Secure Text Messaging

Standard texting on cell phones and alpha/text pagers is not HIPAA compliant. However, implementing secure text messaging for providers is a painless process, and allows users to receive HIPAA-compliant, secure text messages using a smartphone.

Secure messaging apps allow medical practices to stay on top of their customer service, anywhere they may be, and remain HIPAA compliant. App capabilities vary, but look for one with powerful enterprise paging and messaging application built for Apple iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets. This can replace or supplement current paging technology and enables instant two-way communications.

It’s ideal for organizations where HIPAA compliance is a necessity or when sensitive data needs to be securely delivered to mobile devices. When the recipient receives a new message alert, the secure message can be viewed instantly using the secure messaging app. The secure messages are kept separate from email and text messages.

Many apps allow staff to acknowledge they’ve received the call without having to speak to a call center agent. This saves time, money, and improves response time to patients. Faster response can have a big impact on patient satisfaction scores.Embracing technology to increase the speed of healthcare is a good thing, but only if it’s done right. Click To Tweet

Socket Layer (SSL) Technology

Call centers that serve the medical community should seek solutions that offer compliance, privacy, and sender/receiver authentication, using 256-bit encryption SSL technology. This exceeds compliance standards and is the same technology that protects sensitive information on major websites that offer secure online transactions.

Other ways that most secure messaging apps are useful to medical practices complying with HIPAA and increasing efficiency include:

  • Reporting with an audit trail of all messages with all message events.
  • Issuing persistent alerts to the recipient’s mobile device, helping ensure immediate action.
  • Allowing users to designate high priority messages, displayed at the top of the message list.
  • Providing encrypted message delivery and message read receipts, indicating that the device received the message or the recipient opened the message.
  • No need to add a text messaging plan; the app bypasses traditional SMS messaging.
  • Free secure messaging between devices; no text charges apply.
  • Ability to send secure broadcast messages to a group.

Management of Secure Text Messaging for Medical Practices

The management of secure text messaging users is easy. For some apps, the management of devices is done through a web portal so that staff can add, delete, or change user settings. If a device is lost or stolen, the data on the phone can be deleted using the remote wipe function.

Secure text messaging solutions work by hosting the encrypted PHI on hosted secure servers. The phones then access this secure data via the secure texting app. This is a great solution for medical practices where most providers use their own phones. It fits in perfectly with BYOD policies in place at large healthcare organizations.

The best apps mimic the ease of use of regular text messaging, making adoption easy and intuitive. They also bring several nice enhancements and integrations. For example, the ability to send and receive images (x-rays for example) and audio files saves an enormous amount of time.

Many medical practices that have implemented secure text messaging have seen boosts in productivity. Aside from HIPAA compliance, the speed of communications accelerates dramatically. This has a direct positive effect on patient care.

Encrypted Email

Standard email is not HIPAA compliant. Without email encryption, email sent from one user to another is vulnerable at any point along that transfer route. Using unencrypted email not only puts the content of the information at risk but also the identities of the sender and receiver.

To provide additional protection for email communication in transit and keep electronic communication from prying eyes, companies often apply encryption methodologies to their electronic communication. Encrypted email refers to the process of encoding email messages in such a way that eavesdroppers or hackers cannot read it, but that authorized parties can.

There are two popular options for encrypting email. They are TLS and Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) encryption methods.

TLS Encryption: Transport Layer Security transcription (TLS) protocol prevents unauthorized access of emails while they are in transit. TLS is a protocol that encrypts and delivers email securely for inbound and outbound email.

It helps prevent eavesdropping between email servers. It’s worth noting that email messages are encrypted only if the sender and receiver both use email providers that support transport layer security.

Not all email providers use TLS. Not sure if an email server has TLS enabled? Use this online tool to test an email address.

S/MIME Secure Email: S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) is a widely accepted method for sending secure email messages. It allows users to encrypt emails and digitally sign them. It gives the recipient the peace of mind that the message they receive in their in box is the exact message that started with the sender.

It also ensures the person receiving the email knows it really did come from the person listed in the “From:” field. S/MIME provides for cryptographic security services such as authentication, message integrity, and digital signatures.

Conclusion

Putting it all together is a challenging endeavor, but doing nothing is risky for your organization and the patients’ PHI that is vulnerable for interception.

Aaron Boatin is president of Ambs Call Center, a virtual receptionist and telephone answering service provider, that specializes in medical answering services. His passion is helping clients’ businesses succeed. Melding high tech with high touch to provide the best customer service experience for clients is his core focus.

A Proven Solution to the Top 3 Challenges Facing the Medical Practices of Today and Tomorrow


TeamHealth Medical Call Center


By Matt Miller

 Navigating the ever-changing landscape of healthcare is becoming increasingly difficult. Rising patient demands, growing administrative requirements, and high operating costs are only a few of the many obstacles medical practices face as legislation continues to evolve and outside influence on care decisions continues to grow.

In some cases, these challenges prove to be too much for independent practice staffs to handle, so they end up selling to larger healthcare organizations or hospital systems. According to a recent study, three of the top challenges facing medical practices today include:

1. Patient Satisfaction

All healthcare providers want happy patients, because happy patients return for services, make recommendations, and are likelier to comply with post-care recommendations. However, patient satisfaction has become directly linked to financial performance through federal and private insurers that link reimbursement directly to patient satisfaction scores.

A main indicator of satisfaction is the perception that a provider has communicated effectively with the patient, and the patient received the appropriate treatment. The key word is communication. If patients feel they aren’t being heard—or that the overworked staff simply doesn’t care—satisfaction can drop significantly.

Not only does a practice need enough clinicians to handle the increasing patient loads, but these clinicians must also possess the training and skills to communicate effectively with patients to ensure the treatment is correct and the patient is ultimately satisfied. Not having adequate staffing to handle the resulting administrative paperwork can have significant effects on the business. Click To Tweet

2. Administrative Requirements

Even if a practice has a staff that has mastered the communication skills required to provide excellent patient care and maintain positive satisfaction scores, not having adequate staffing to handle the resulting administrative paperwork can have significant effects on the business.

Documentation and recordkeeping requirements are on the rise, and often practices must use clinical personnel to handle these administrative chores, leaving revenue on the table. By having staff dedicated to staying on top of these requirements, practices can free up clinicians to do more of what they do best: treat patients.

These first two obstacles can be managed successfully with the right staff. Unfortunately, the process of recruiting and maintaining such a staff often requires more time, money, and effort than a practice can afford. It isn’t only about hiring enough “warm bodies” to handle the workload; it’s about having the right people in the right places to successfully handle all the different external practice challenges, while continuing to provide the highest quality patient care and compliance. This is where the third challenge comes into play.

3. Staffing Turnover

According to a 2015 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, employee turnover in healthcare had reached an all-time high of 19.2 percent. The same study revealed that nearly 40 percent of clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers were planning to leave their job within the next two years, and a staggering 69 percent were planning to leave within five years.

Perhaps the most concerning finding to come out of this study was that higher patient caseloads contributed to a seven percent increase in the chance of patient death. This final challenge is perhaps the most significant, as it often prevents practices from effectively addressing the initial two. So how can practices possibly deliver outstanding clinical services as they minimized costs and ensure all relevant documentation is done, while continuing to develop positive, long-lasting relationships with patients?

The Solution

The solution is closer than you think and starts with a partnership with a proven medical call center.

Partnering with a medical call center provides proven solutions to all three of these challenges. A medical call center utilizes a staff of RNs specially trained in communication and sensitivity regarding the unique needs of patient callers.

Medical call centers also offer post-triage patient engagement programs focused on care recommendations and compliance. As stated earlier, patient satisfaction directly correlates to the ability of a caregiver to focus on the needs of a patient and provide the most appropriate care advice.

Partnering with an experienced call center ensures patients will receive undivided attention and respect when they have a medical need. Call centers can document the entire triage process and enter the information in a practice’s patients’ EMR, reducing the administrative load and allowing clinicians to focus solely on patient care.

Medical call center partnerships also help practices eliminate the time, effort, and cost associated with hiring and maintaining an adequate staff. This not only frees up existing staff to focus on patient care, but it also allows more physical space within an office setting to provide care. Medical call centers can provide consistent, dedicated staff to ensure a practice never experiences a critical drop in service levels as patient loads increase.

While issues facing medical practices continue to grow and get increasingly complex, the solution to handling these challenges is easy. A medical call center partnership provides solutions to the top three challenges currently facing medical practices while remaining focused on the future state of healthcare.

TeamHealth Medical Call CenterMatt Miller is the marketing coordinator for the TeamHealth Medical Call Center. He joined THMCC in 2015 and has more than fifteen years of marketing and communications experience within the healthcare industry. The TeamHealth Medical Call Center is a premier provider of medical call center solutions. Contact them today to learn more about their daytime and after-hours telephone triage services and how they translate to solutions that address practice challenges.

1Call Reminds Healthcare IT Professionals to Save-the-Date for the HIMSS19 Conference

1Call, the division of Amtelco that specializes in offering enterprise-wide communication solutions for healthcare organizations, will exhibit again at the 2019 HIMSS conference, taking place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida on February 11–15, 2019.

1Call will be at booths 4549 and 1971. This year’s theme is “It’s All About the Why” to highlight 1Call’s commitment to deliver fast, secure, and accurate communications to help provide the best patient experience.

Demonstrations of their HIPAA-compliant miSecureMessages secure messaging app will be done at both booths to show how easy it is to send secure text, photo, audio, and video content.

Follow 1Call during HIMSS19 using the hashtags #How1CallHelps and #Why1CallHelps.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference & Exhibition brings together over 45,000 health IT professionals, clinicians, executives, and vendors from around the world. Exceptional education, excellent speakers, cutting-edge health IT products, and powerful networking are hallmarks of this industry-leading conference.

1Call, a division of AmtelcoFor more information on 1Call at HIMSS19, contact 1Call at 800-225-6035 or info@1call.com.

Ideas to Better Retain Call Center Staff

Instead of Hiring New Employees, Seek to Retain Existing Healthcare Call Center Staff

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.

Peter DeHaan, Publisher and Editor of AnswerStatWith low unemployment rates, the task of finding qualified employees to work in healthcare call centers grows more challenging. This makes it even more important to take steps to retain the employees we have. Here are five areas to focus on. While these ideas are nothing you haven’t already heard, perhaps you can take a fresh look at them.

Today’s workers seek five core things when they evaluate a position and their long-term commitment to it and the organization. This applies to healthcare call center employees. Here are the five essentials to retain call center staff:Every call provides an opportunity for your call center staff to make a difference. Click To Tweet

1. Compensation

I’ve never met a person who thought their pay was too high, though I’ve met many who didn’t feel their pay was enough. How much is enough? I don’t know, but if you want to attract a higher skilled, more committed worker, you’ll need to pay more. Just be sure that when you raise your starting hourly rate, you raise your hiring expectations accordingly.

2. Benefits

Today’s workers want more than money. They’re seeking benefits too. This includes flexible hours and paid time off. And even part-timers want to go on vacation. Make sure you provide a way for them to do so. Offer them a retirement plan too. Not all will take it, but for future-focused employees, this makes a huge difference. But the big kicker in benefits is healthcare coverage. And being in the healthcare industry, we should have the inside track on how to address this. Right?

3. Learning Opportunities

Employees also want to be able to learn new skills in their job. Yes, in some cases the training you provide them will help their next employer more than you, but as you better retain call center staff, you’re more likely to realize the benefits of that training.

4. Growth Potential

As your staff learns more job-related skills, they’ll want the opportunity to apply them. That is, they want to see the potential for growth, both within their existing position and into advancement opportunities. Help them see that they have a future with your organization, and show them how they can get there. That will help them stick around.

5. Make a Difference

Last, but of increasing importance, is making a difference. Yes, every call provides an opportunity for your call center staff to make a difference. But if they don’t agree, help them see the ways they can make a difference every week, on every shift, and possibly on every call. But beyond making a difference within their job, consider ways that they can make a difference in their community. Surely, there’s a nonprofit organization that you can come alongside and help.

Conclusion

In upcoming issues of AnswerStat, we’ll unpack each of these five items in greater detail. As we move forward in this initiative to retain call center staff, the main thing is to consider shifting some of your hiring and training budget into the area of retention. Yes, it will take time to realize the results, but when done wisely you’ll eventually see your hiring and training costs decrease as you watch your retention rate increase. And who doesn’t want that?

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.

Technology Solutions for the Home Healthcare Industry


Pulsar360: strategic partners with the TAS industry


In addition to being a strategic partner with over 160 medical-centric call centers. Pulsar360, Inc. has partnered with MEDsys, provider of web-based home care and private duty care management solutions.

A key component is their electronic visit verification solution, “which is where we come in,” states Michael Dozier, president and CEO of Pulsar360. “Our customized interactive voice response application and highly reliable network integrated with their software provides mobile visit verification, integrated scheduling, payroll, and billing into one platform that is available every hour of every day.”

This customizable solution provides real-time data exchange to manage the check-in and check-out visit confirmation through IVR and GPS technology and the scheduling component. This also provides a security component for the agency and their staff.

Upon arrival at the patient’s home, the caregiver calls a toll-free number to clock-in and enters their MEDsys secure ID number, which automatically clocks them in. When their shift is over they call their toll-free number and enter their MEDsys secure pin. That clocks them out. The caregiver can also add the plan of care into the phone, which Pulsar360 updates in real time.

“As the home health industry continues to embrace technology, MEDsys will lead the way through workflow automation,” said Ritch Adams, CEO of MEDsys. “President Obama signed into law The Cures Act which will mandate electronic visit verification for every State Medicaid program by 2019. MEDsys is a leader in providing EVV to state, MCO Medicaid, and private pay programs. We continue to receive positive feedback for our workflow automation that saves state Medicaid programs millions of dollars while improving patient care.”

Pulsar360: strategic partners with the TAS industryMEDsys’s VinCENT software solutions integrated with Pulsar360’s technology solution support Medicare, Medicaid, skilled and non-skilled private duty, pediatrics and adult nursing. VinCENT electronic visit verification is a leading time and attendance product. It supports state and MCO Medicaid programs as well as with home care agencies.