Category Archives: Industry News

News for the healthcare contact center industry

Coronavirus and the Healthcare Call Center


LVM Systems

By Mark Dwyer

Healthcare call centers face unprecedented challenges in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. At a time when efficient call processing is even more critical than usual, due to increased call volumes, call times have lengthened. Much is attributable to the plethora of misinformation individuals have readily available to them over the internet, via the media, and from family and friends. Now, not only do call center nurses need to calm the caller, they must correct the caller’s misunderstandings.

Add to this the pace at which medically valid updates occur. Triage call centers must keep up with the weekly, and sometimes daily, changes to the guidelines for handling possible COVID-19 calls.

COVID-19 has generated tremendous activity related to telehealth as a method of triaging and treating those who are infected. Given that COVID-19 symptoms can vary from very mild to severe and that the virus spreads through close contact, telehealth can be a powerful tool in combating the crisis.

Health center providers may now deliver in-scope services via telehealth to individuals who have not previously presented for care at a health center site and who are not current patients of the health center for the duration of this public health emergency. These include triage services with or without initial consultations. Some of the specific changes include:

  • Continuation of zero member liability (such as copays and cost-sharing) for care that is delivered via telehealth.
  • Any services provided virtually will be eligible for telehealth coverage.
  • All prior authorization requirements for telehealth services will be lifted for dates of service from March 17, 2020, through June 30, 2020.
  • Telehealth services may be delivered by providers with any connection technology to ensure patient access to care.
COVID-19 has forced healthcare to look at all aspects of its care delivery system. Click To Tweet

New Telehealth Policies Expand Coverage for Healthcare Services

Numerous states have taken steps to waive their requirement that a physician is licensed in the state to provide care to patients through their declarations of statewide emergency. More states are sure to follow.

According to Gregory A. Hood, MD, an internist in Lexington, Kentucky, who is on the advisory board of Medscape Business of Medicine, “The waiving of state licensure requirements should help ease a number of stress points of the current crisis in ways that benefit society.”

Healthcare providers, supported by states and payers, can leverage telehealth in ways not possible in previous epidemics to triage, diagnose, and treat patients while effectively protecting healthcare workers and reducing the spread of the disease. States that have broad authority as payers can play a crucial role in driving the use of telehealth as a method of treatment by implementing reimbursement policies that enable providers to offer virtual care services to patients.

Like many other aspects of the United States’ healthcare industry, when COVID-19 ends, the healthcare call center will never be the same. We will work smarter, more efficiently, schedule more creatively, and support more remote staff. We will embrace telehealth, tele-triage, and telemedicine with video calls, chat, and online physician consults. More insurance companies will reimburse for online physician visits enticing more to participate. Triage call centers may also have more opportunities to work with EMS and police stations to help triage patients. Finally, data sharing will increase to the patient’s PCP into their EMR records or other approved endpoints. Data aggregation and reporting will enable call centers to analyze better yearly trends leading to heightened prediction and prevention of disease. 

COVID-19 has forced healthcare to look at all aspects of its care delivery system. May we all be the better for it. 

LVM Systems logo

Mark Dwyer is a veteran of the healthcare call center industry and serves as COO of LVM Systems.

1Call Offers Free Licensing to Customers and Advice in Response to COVID-19 Crisis


1Call-call center

1Call, a division of Amtelco, announced the offering of free licensing to their customers during COVID-19.

“1Call has recently expanded its mission statement, adding ‘It’s All About the Why,’ said Tom Curtin, president of Amtelco and their 1Call Healthcare Division. “This has been implemented company-wide to reaffirm the reasons why we do what we do through the original company motto created in 1976—to provide the most innovative solutions backed by the industry’s best customer support.”

1Call is offering free operator, supervisor, and call recording licenses to all customers to assist with the increased call volumes because of the COVID-19 virus. They are also advising their customers on how to leverage their existing 1Call solutions during this crisis. 

Examples include:

  • Implementing a work from home model using a concurrent licensing structure and free additional licensing offer
  • Creating new custom codes specific to COVID-19
  • Utilizing 1Call software’s inherent skills-based call routing tool to ensure specific calls go to the right operators
  • Producing new scripted workflows to help guide new operators through any scenario
  • Leveraging group messaging and mass notification capabilities, which references directory listings, on-call schedules, statuses, and preferred contact methods
  • Recording new automated greetings and pre-call announcements to guide callers to the appropriate departments
1Call, a division of Amtelco

1Call features a complete line of modular solutions specifically designed to streamline enterprise-wide healthcare communications, save an organization’s limited resources, and help them bring wellness to their patients and their bottom line. For more information visit 1Call.com and contact them at 800-225-6035 or info@1call.com.

TriageLogic Offers Remote Patient Monitoring

TriageLogic announced it will apply its thirteen years of industry-leading phone triage experience in the emerging remote patient monitoring (RPM) market. As monitoring technologies continue to gain traction, the healthcare industry views RPM as a tool to help control the cost of care for those with chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure, COPD, asthma, and diabetes.

TriageLogic announced it will apply its thirteen years of industry-leading phone triage experience in the emerging remote patient monitoring (RPM) market. Click To Tweet

Monitoring devices collect large amounts of patient data—blood pressure, blood sugar, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and more. Each device has its own data algorithm that flags abnormal conditions. Results from these devices are typically displayed on dashboards provided by the device company. A physician or their staff that’s monitoring multiple patients with multiple conditions would need to spend a significant amount of time reviewing every dashboard regularly. This is time taken away from face-to-face patient care.

“Digital health technology is sophisticated and has tremendous potential to help patients better manage their health,” said Ravi Raheja, M.D., TriageLogic medical director and CTO. “However, the amount of data that’s generated is vast. A medically trained professional must review the information and evaluate it in the context of the individual to determine the appropriate action. We have the history, experience, and trained nursing staff to review this data,” said Raheja.

TriageLogic is working with physicians and device companies to bridge the gap that exists between the mountains of data generated by health technology devices and the decisions that need to be made in support of better health.

All monitoring takes place behind the scenes and is seamless to patients. A patient simply uses their device as directed by their physician. TriageLogic’s registered nurses evaluate any alerts or deviations registered by the devices. The patient then receives a call from a TriageLogic nurse who will provide instructions for follow-up care. On January 1, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved reimbursement for some virtual care monitoring, opening the door for more patients to request RPM.

“Most physicians don’t have the time or resources to monitor dashboards for multiple devices,” said Raheja. “TriageLogic’s resources allow physicians to do what they’re best at—spend quality face-to-face time with those who truly need medical intervention. We work closely with each physician group to ensure we understand their preferences and custom care -plans for patients with chronic disease.”

TriageLogic

TriageLogic is a technology-based service provider of remote patient monitoring services and quality telehealth solutions, including comprehensive after-hours call center services and innovative online systems for use in institutional and private practice settings. TriageLogic provides patient call solutions for more than 9,000 physicians and helps manage the care of more than eighteen million individuals.

TeamHealth Medical Call Center Rebrands as AccessNurse

Started in 1996 to support TeamHealth physicians, TeamHealth Medical Call Center evolved over time, outgrowing its brand identity and core message, which is a natural part of every dynamic, growing business. Now, more than two decades later, they have evolved to become a premiere provider of medical call center solutions, offering services to more than fifteen thousand providers in individual and group practices, hospital systems, universities, community health centers, and other medical organizations across the United States. Today they are more dynamic than ever, and their new brand of AccessNurse reflects this reality.

AccessNurse, A TeamHealth Company

Since their conception, providing access to medical care has been the underlying theme and pulse of the call center. Woven into every fabric of their new brand is the word access: from their story to how they treat clients and their patients. The new AccessNurse name is a textual representation of what they offer, believe in, and represent: providing clients and patients with 24/7 access to definitive nurse care. They also supplement this new name with the tagline, “A TeamHealth Company” to reinforce their alignment with TeamHealth and the medical integrity, experience, and resources that go along with that relationship.

1Call Expands Architecture Solutions Team to Support Growing Customer Base

1Call, a division of Amtelco and a leader in developing software solutions and applications designed for the specific needs of the healthcare call center marketplace, announced the promotion of Amber Schroedl to solutions architect.

“Amber has been a key part of our success, and brings a unique, real-world set of skills to our department,” said Kevin Mahoney, director of solutions architecture. “We are thrilled to promote her to this important position and serve our customers better by reducing implementation and go-live times.

The Solutions Architecture Team supports existing and potential customers by performing live product demonstrations, providing custom documentation and templates, and validating customer’s voice, data, internet, and cloud computing application requirements to ensure effective use of all communication solutions.

1Call features a complete line of modular solutions specifically designed to streamline enterprise-wide healthcare communications, save an organization’s limited resources, and make them tremendously efficient by helping them bring wellness to their patients and their bottom line. 

1Call, a division of Amtelco

For more information visit www.1Call.com.

Call 4 Health Wins 2019 Award of Excellence and Call Center Award of Distinction!

On Thursday June 13th, Call 4 Health received the 2019 Award of Excellence (for 5 consecutive years in a row!) and the Call Center Award of Distinction from ATSI—The Association of Teleservices International, Inc.

The Award of Excellence involves an independent firm that “mystery shops” messaging services and grades the service they observe.

The Call Center Award of Distinction is a sister program to the Award of Excellence that focuses on longer, more involved call handling designed to measure the skills of professional call center agents throughout North America.

These awards go only to companies that achieve the highest scores on a broad set of criteria like ring time, accuracy of answer phrase, operator guidance of call, manners, etc.

Call 4 Health

Congratulations to our team for all of your hard work! We couldn’t have done it without you!

Interbit Data and 1Call Deliver Lab Results to Clinicians via Secure Text

1Call, a Division of Amtelco, announced a partnership with Interbit Data, a leader in ensuring hospital staff has ubiquitous access to critical healthcare information. Using Interbit Data’s NetDelivery intelligent report distribution software, patient lab results can be delivered to clinicians via 1Call’s miSecureMessages application. The integration enables a hospital to distribute the critical lab results requiring action to the appropriate clinician’s tablet or smartphone.

NetDelivery intelligent report distribution enables hospitals to send patient information simply and securely, such as lab results, from the healthcare information system. NetDelivery allows a hospital to collate and direct reports to the proper recipients based on user defined rules. It also enables decision-based delivery, speeding and simplifying actionable information to the right clinicians, at the right time and in the right place.

1Call, a division of Amtelco

1Call’s miSecureMessages is an encrypted two-way HIPAA and HITECH compliant messaging app that simplifies hospital communications with fast, reliable, secure messaging to help care teams provide better patient care. MiSecureMessages apps are available for Android™ and Apple® iOS devices, as well as a secure web application for desktop use.

1Call Partners with Trusted Service Provider, American Messaging

1Call, a division of Amtelco, announced their partnership with American Messaging Services, LLC (“American Messaging”), one of the largest private critical messaging companies in the United States.

Combining 1Call’s Operator Console with American Messaging’s critical messaging service, will greatly improve critical communications in healthcare areas that are designed to keep other wireless technologies out. American Messaging’s superior in-building coverage penetrates areas inaccessible to current cellular technology such as radiology labs and deep basements.

Mike Friedel, 1Call’s vice president of sales stated, “Our operator consoles are loaded with features and advanced technologies, but we were missing a traditional messaging component. This exciting partnership with American Messaging elevates the capabilities of our operator consoles to better serve customers who utilize paging services.”

1Call, a division of Amtelco

Dave Andersen, American Messaging chief operating officer noted, “We are thrilled to further integrate our commercial and private messaging networks with the 1Call platform. Paging remains the most reliable technology for critical healthcare communications and our partnership with Amtelco helps to optimize current workflows for our customers.”

Call 4 Health CEO Joe Pores Receives Excalibur Award

The Sun Sentinel honored six business leaders with its annual Excalibur Award, including Call 4 Health’s CEO Joe Pores. The Excalibur awards recognize outstanding contributions to their organizations and communities.

Awarded May 7, 2019, the Excalibur Awards honor business leaders in South Florida for 2018. The awards recognize business achievement and civic contributions each year, starting in 1978. The winners for this esteemed business leader of the year award were selected by a panel of the Sun Sentinel Media Group and nominations from the public.

Call 4 Health is a nationwide service, operating 24/7. It employs 300 people in Delray Beach, with offices near Baltimore and Nashville, where it employs 200 more. The company, which handles 1.5 million calls each month, generates more than $20 million in annual revenues, with an annual 25 percent growth rate.

Call 4 Health

Formed in 1997 as a medical answering service, the company expanded over the years from answering doctor office’s calls to offering advanced healthcare services including patient registration and appointment services for healthcare systems, hospitals, and hospice organizations. Additionally, some hospitals outsource their internal switchboard function to Call 4 Health.

Amtelco’s Newest Genesis Intelligent Series Release Now Rated “Avaya Compliant”

Amtelco, a leading supplier of communication technologies and software communications applications for more than forty years, announced that its Genesis Intelligent Series solution is compliant with key Avaya IX Workplace Calling solutions from Avaya, a global leader in solutions that enhance and simplify communications and collaboration.

The Genesis software switching solution provides the Intelligent Series applications with advanced software-based telephony. Genesis provides an all-inclusive, enterprise-wide call center with skills-based automatic call distribution (ACD), built-in speech recognition, text to speech, and voice services to improve call routing and management. Users can keep metrics with customizable reporting, enhance accountability with call logging and video screen capture, connect remote agents, and manage automated dispatch and on-call scheduling. Genesis can operate in a virtual server environment or in the cloud, enabling businesses to grow without adding additional hardware, helping save time and money.

1Call, a division of Amtelco

The Genesis Intelligent Series release 5.3.6774 application is now compliance-tested by Avaya for compatibility with Avaya IX Workplace components Avaya Aura® Communication Manager 8.0 and Avaya Aura Session Manager 8.0 via a SIP trunk.