1Call Integrates with QGenda to Enhance On-Call Scheduling

1Call announced that healthcare customers who manage on-call and physician scheduling with the 1Call and QGenda scheduling platforms, can now deliver calls and messages to the right people, at the right time thanks to an integration initiative between 1Call and QGenda. 1Call’s comprehensive healthcare on-call scheduling and communications suite works seamlessly with QGenda’s physician scheduling software to provide a fully integrated scheduling platform.

The integration ensures that schedule assignments in both platforms are synchronized at all times. The result is a powerful tool that plays a critical role in helping nurses and doctors save lives each day.

“The 1Call on-call scheduling platform is utilized by healthcare organizations for critical communications and secure HIPAA-compliant messaging,” said Tom Curtin, president of Amtelco and the 1Call Healthcare Division. “This integration makes it possible to update on-call schedule shift assignments on a real-time basis in our Intelligent Series software with information originating in the QGenda application.”

1Call, a division of Amtelco1Call systems send roughly 14.5 million messages a day or 5.25 billion messages a year. QGenda provides automated physician scheduling for more than 170,000 providers, covering 20 million monthly shift hours.

The April/May 2018 Issue of AnswerStat

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



Feature Content:

When Patient Satisfaction Matters, Consider Contact Center ImprovementsWhen Patient Satisfaction Matters, Consider Contact Center Improvements, by Allison Hart
A call to a hospital’s contact center is sometimes a patient’s first contact with the organization. Investing in contact center optimization is a must for creating a welcoming and satisfactory first impression. Even for patients who are not new to an organization, a hassle-free experience is appreciated… read more >>

Vital Signs: Is Your Call Center a Profit Center or a Cost Center? by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Even if your call center doesn’t directly handle sales or take phone orders, you can still work to establish yourself as a profit center. It just takes a bit more effort… read more >>

Vendor Spotlight on TriageLogic
Using Data Analytics to Improve Value-Based Care
Providing a quality medical call center that patients can access 24/7 is a great first step in transitioning to value-based care. Providers and hospitals can then gather information from the patient callers to further improve their service while containing costs… read more >>

Guest Column: The Call Center: Coordinating Care and Managing Transitions, by Mark Dwyer
It’s critical that all aspects of the patient’s care be accessible by the call center nurse. A coordinated effort delivered by the call center can improve the coordination of care for numerous individuals while successfully reducing unnecessary costs tied to the delivery of multiple redundant programs… read more >>

Is BPO a Key Enabler in the Push for Better Patient Outcomes? by Anand Natampalli
Today, BPO partners take an active role in helping provider organizations manage change, internally and externally. This puts them in a better position to take advantage of the opportunities found by optimizing patient experience journeys… read more >>

Ten years ago: Increase Employee Retention: Give Them a Dose of Nurses’ Medicine, by LeAnn Thieman
Implementing these ten tips creates a “care plan” that does not coddle employees; instead, it strengthens and empowers them. This transcends to their work, which promotes a positive company culture, increased productivity, promotes creativity, inspires loyalty, and leads to a healthy bottom line… 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: TriageLogic


TriageLogic


Using Data Analytics to Improve Value-Based Care

As practices and organizations move to value-based care, medical call centers can play a crucial role in improving the patient experience and the quality of care while containing costs. An effective way to find a solution is to evaluate data from nurse triage call centers on patient concerns, caller demographics, nurse triage disposition and effectiveness, and other measures to improve the call center and the patient experience.

Value-based programs focus on the quality of the care given, rather than fee-for-service. Ensuring patients receive the right level of care for their symptoms is an important action to decrease healthcare waste. Providing a quality medical call center that patients can access 24/7 is a great first step in transitioning to value-based care. Providers and hospitals can then gather information from the patient callers to further improve their service while containing costs.

Studies show that incorporating data analytics into value-based care programs can reduce healthcare spending by $300 billion. Healthcare providers need to be able to gather, analyze, and report on patient data to show they are improving the quality of care. This quantitative method is especially important in medical call centers. Call center software should include a data portal to easily evaluate key metrics to spot trends or areas needing improvement.Value-based programs focus on the quality of the care given, rather than fee-for-service. Click To Tweet

Gather Data

For new call centers and those selecting a new platform, start by evaluating data you’ve already collected and what you need to know to help the patients and the practice. For example, TriageLogic’s data portal collects information on the number of calls per protocol, calls per nurse, dispositions, and disposition override. Call centers also get data on nurse performance, such as the number of calls per hour and percentage of patients told to seek emergency care. Information on nurse performance provides a valuable tool to evaluate nurses and determine the focus of further training.

Analyze Data

While gathering the data is a crucial first step, the platform also needs to have a simple dashboard for the manager to monitor the key metrics of patient calls and nurse performance. For example, the TriageLogic data dashboard allows the user to break down the data by date, location, nurse, and so forth. Reviewing the various data sets can help caregivers gather insight on the performance and find ways to improve care.

For example, with the data dashboard, users can see the percentage of the dispositions given to the patient callers. Users can also see the actual data as the number of calls and the percentage of the total, as well as graphs that illustrate any trends of the different disposition percentages.

Report on Data

After analyzing the data from medical call centers, physicians or organizations can better understand their patient population. Look for a quality call center platform that allows call center managers to easily export the information in various formats and then share it with their practices. This is an important feature to improve coordinated care between the office and the call center.

Physicians can see what concerns their patients have after-hours and make positive changes that can address those concerns ahead of time. For example, an increase in stomach pain related issues may mean that a virus is hitting their population.

Another important use of data is to compare the number of patients you prevented from going to the ER. The number of those patients shows how much value the call center is creating for the practices (ROI), and it may motivate hospitals and providers to continue encouraging patients to call a nurse line before going to the ER.

Secure Data

When collecting patient data, it is vital that all data from the call center software be fully secure and that products are evaluated and updated as technology and standards change. When evaluating call center software, make sure you understand how it stores and secures patient data. Also, ensure you can share the information with providers securely or without any PHI.

The goals of value-based care are to provide better care for patients, create a healthier population, and reduce healthcare costs. A nurse call center system armed with good data analytics allows you to identify the quality of the clinical call center and improve the efficiency of the nursing staff while helping patients at the same time. Having access to this data, analyzing it, and sharing the information with providers improves patient care, while at the same time showing the value of your call center service and saving valuable healthcare dollars.

TriageLogicFounded in 2006, TriageLogic is a URAC accredited, physician-led provider of high-quality services and software for telehealth. TriageLogic is a leading provider of top-quality triage technology, mobile applications, and call center solutions. The TriageLogic group serves over 9,000 physicians and covers over 18 million lives nationwide.

Registration Open for 1Call’s 2018 Leadership and Training Seminar

1Call opened registration for their 12th Annual 1Call Leadership and Training Seminar. The conference will be September 18-20, 2018, at the Park Hotel, located on Madison, Wisconsin’s Capitol Square.

Topics will focus on MergeComm, miSecureMessages, and Genesis. It will also cover best practices for implementing IS and how 1Call provides a reliable, cost-effective enterprise solution.

This event provides attendees with a unique opportunity to learn how to use 1Call solutions to streamline communications throughout healthcare organizations. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to network with other healthcare communication professionals. Attendees can also talk directly with Amtelco implementation specialists, software developers, project managers, and field engineers.

According to Mike Friedel, senior vice president of sales, “We are anticipating another record-breaking conference and are looking forward to a fantastic seminar. Each year, we welcome many new attendees, as well as many returning attendees. The open atmosphere of sharing between attendees and Amtelco personnel makes it an extremely positive experience for everyone. Please join us this year.”

1Call, a division of AmtelcoFor more information contact 1Call at 800-225-6035, seminars@1call.com, or https://1call2018.eventbrite.com.

Is Your Call Center a Profit Center or a Cost Center?



Positioning Yourself as a Profit Center Will Help Drive Budget Success

 By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Peter DeHaan, Publisher and Editor of AnswerStatI once heard of a hospital marketing manager who identified their call center as their most cost-effective form of marketing, offering the highest return on investment (ROI). It was a profit center. Further shocking was learning that the entire call center operation fell under the budget of the marketing department. I imagine the call center director had little trouble getting the appropriate budget each year to operate the call center.

The Downside of Being a Cost Center

If upper management views your operation as a cost center, they’ll see your line item on their budget as an expense to control and decrease whenever possible. This results in a scarcity of funds and makes it hard to operate a call center as needed to produce the best outcomes for patients and callers.

Each new budget cycle produces a predictable challenge of fighting to maintain the status quo of your funds. And receiving approval for additional expenditures on software, services, and initiatives to better serve your organization’s clientele looms as a formidable challenge.

If this is your reality, I feel for you. But there is hope: reposition your call center as a profit center.Look for ways that you contribute to the revenue stream of your organization. Click To Tweet

The Benefits of Being a Profit Center

However, if you’re call center generates revenue—either directly or indirectly—you stand a much better chance of coming out on the plus side for each year’s new budget. If you’re a pharmaceutical or durable medical equipment manufacturer, it’s easy to make your case. You track sales, which you then use to offset the cost of your operation. Any expense that produces more sales becomes an easy request to justify.

Even if your call center doesn’t directly handle sales or take phone orders, you can still work to establish yourself as a profit center. It just takes a bit more effort. For example, if you’re a hospital call center, as in the above example, look for ways that you contribute to the revenue stream of your organization.

How to Become a Profit Center

For example, each time you make a referral to a physician or clinic in your system, what’s the value of that connection? Even more significant, what is the lifetime value of that new patient to your organization? Suddenly that single phone call has a value of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, maybe more.

What about appointments? Each time you set an appointment for one of the providers in your system, what’s its revenue potential? And often that initial interaction leads to a series of follow ups. Though these subsequent appointments may or may not go through your call center, the additional engagements would not have occurred had you not secured the first one.

Without your call center, these things would not have happened. As such, you deserve credit for the critical role your call center played in bringing this new business—and revenue—into your organization.

Start tracking these types of revenue-producing transactions. But don’t just note the number of calls. Instead report the immediate value and long-term revenue potential from each of these interactions. In doing so you’ll help shift your call center operation from a cost center to a profit center. And this will make a huge difference when it comes time to negotiate next year’s budget.

 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.

The Call Center: Coordinating Care and Managing Transitions


LVM Systems


By Mark Dwyer

Historically, nurse triage and marketing referral services have been the cornerstone of most healthcare call centers. But recent healthcare reform initiatives have positioned healthcare call center nurses to play a far broader role. Their experience in assisting patients with complex care needs, supporting specialty referral, offering disease management, overseeing transfer management, providing behavioral health intake, delivering medication management, and even providing hospital readmission reduction programs have positioned the call center nurse as an integral player in the organization’s overall population health initiatives.

For the purposes of this article, we will define population health as a proactive solution with personalized care and a focus on wellness that includes all aspects of health (physical, mental, etc.), as well as social determinants of health. Population health goes beyond traditional disease management and incorporates both preventive and chronic care needs. It requires collaboration among healthcare providers to identify gaps in care on evidence-based guidelines and builds on practices to ensure high-quality, efficient healthcare.The failure to prevent hospital readmission adversely affects a healthcare organization’s bottom line. Click To Tweet

As a healthcare organization responsible for patient care, today’s nurse call centers must ensure patients have easy access to healthcare resources and that they take necessary steps to prevent adverse health outcomes.

To effectively engage patients in proactive management of their health, the call center needs to change from a focus on episodic care in response to inbound calls to one of outbound interactions to leverage the full power of the call center to positively impact patient’s lives. The cornerstone of such a strategy is an effective care coordination program that automates a series of defined interventions and supports communication with all stakeholders. A successful care coordination program must support multi-morbidity patients and include detailed health education materials, associated surveys, and targeted next steps.

The best care coordination programs support the management of individuals with co-morbidities. These plans focus on preventive standards of care based on age and gender, along with education and interventions for managing chronic conditions. Patient-centered care, as well as patient engagement and activation, are necessary to succeed in population health management. Self-management support contributes to increasing patients’ confidence and skill, so they can be the manager of their illness. This not only lowers costs but also redefines healthcare as an activity that encompasses far more than sick care.

The more we learn about the Affordable Care Act, the more we understand that prevention and management are of increasing importance. In many cases, the failure to prevent hospital readmission adversely affects a healthcare organization’s bottom line. When managed correctly, the call center can effectively decrease the penalties tied to high readmission rates. Active management of follow-up calls to verify the patient has filled and is taking the right prescriptions, scheduled and attended a follow-up visit, and is adhering to other post-discharge instructions are all verifiable through scheduled follow-up calls or other forms of communication conducted by the call center nurse.

Using an in-depth, post-admission course of care can greatly reduce the probability of the patient returning during the initial thirty days post-discharge, as well as facilitate behavior change over time. It represents the best in evidence-based theory and application.

Whether you choose to invest in a single-source solution to manage these population health components or select best-in-breed solutions interfaced with other internal patient data systems, it is critical that all aspects of the patient’s care be accessible by the call center nurse. A coordinated effort delivered by the call center can improve the coordination of care for numerous individuals while successfully reducing unnecessary costs tied to the delivery of multiple redundant programs.

LVM SystemsMark Dwyer is a 32-year veteran of the healthcare call center industry. Mark is in his sixteenth year at LVM Systems where he serves as COO. LVM Systems provides healthcare call center software. For more information or a demonstration of LVM’s call center solutions contact Carol Zeek, regional VP, sales, at 480-633-8200 x279 or Leann Delaney, regional VP, sales at 480-633-8200 x286

When Patient Satisfaction Matters, Consider Contact Center Improvements



By Allison Hart

When Patient Satisfaction Matters, Consider Contact Center ImprovementsThere is no question that hospitals and health systems strive to deliver the best possible clinical care. But today, organizations aren’t just focusing on providing exceptional clinical services; they also invest resources into efforts aimed at driving superior healthcare experiences at every touchpoint. For hospitals, maintaining high patient satisfaction is more important than ever, primarily because the financial impact of patient experiences has increased due to consumerization and value-based payment programs.

As a result, patient experience has become a force behind process improvements and facility upgrades. The push to improve patient experiences exists in cafeteria and dining service improvements, luxury hospital suites, and even redesigned hospital gowns. But what is surprising is that while hospital and health system teams vigorously work to make their facilities more welcoming and comfortable, many organizations are unknowingly greeting patients who call into their contact center in a much less welcoming way.

To deliver more uniformly satisfying patient experiences, hospitals and healthcare systems can take actions to optimize their contact center—the place where many patient experiences initially begin.Hospitals have more control over each caller’s experience when all calls route through one main gateway. Click To Tweet

Calling a healthcare provider or organization shouldn’t be difficult or unpleasant for patients—even if that organization is a large hospital or health system. However, patients frequently run into issues that lead to frustration, when they attempt to connect with their healthcare team because they:

  • Do not know which phone number to call to find the help they need
  • Are transferred or put on hold multiple times
  • Must repeat personal information or reason for their call several times
  • Have trouble navigating automated options
  • Struggle to find the resolution they need in a timely manner
  • Do not feel their call is a priority

At least one in two patient callers will get “lost” in their healthcare provider’s automated phone system when calling into a hospital or large provider organization. That means at least one in two patients will not have a positive experience when they attempt to communicate about their healthcare needs.

Difficult-to-navigate automated phone systems require patients to be on the phone for longer periods of time. But patients say they appreciate efficient communication experiences. West surveyed more than 500 U.S. consumers to better understand communication preferences and how to define high-quality customer experiences.

Survey responses revealed that when customers or patients initiate an interaction, 77 percent of them rate speed to resolution as the best indicator of good service. Multiple transfers, repetitive conversations, and other confusing issues extend call times and hurt patient satisfaction.

Regularly evaluating the functionality, efficiency, and ease of use of automated phone systems is important for creating positive and welcoming communication experiences. But few healthcare organizations prioritize regular contact center testing. In fact, just over half of healthcare organizations occasionally review their automated phone systems to ensure they work correctly and provide value to patients.

Beyond testing the functionality of their automated systems, hospitals and health systems that want to deliver high-quality experiences can work to accomplish the following items.

Ensure Their Contact Center Serves as a Single Entryway for Their Organization

With a single point of entry for all patients, it is easier for organizations to guarantee every patient experiences a consistently branded user experience. It also means less confusion and frustration for callers and staff.

Routing calls through an automated centralized phone system increases efficiency. Overall, hospitals have more control over each caller’s experience when all calls route through one main gateway.

Offer Intelligent Predictive Interactive Voice Response

Interactive voice response (IVR) systems allow hospitals to automate call routing and handle higher volumes of calls. But IVR must be intelligent enough to make navigation easier for patients by detecting what they need.

Ideally, when a patient calls a hospital, the IVR system will authenticate the patient, identify possible reasons for their call, and connect them to the appropriate destination. The right IVR technology will not only make communications more efficient but also more patient centered.

Implement Automatic Data Pass with Every Transferred Call

Healthcare staff can better and more quickly assist callers if background information transfers with each incoming call. Without automatic data pass there is typically a lot of duplication during communication. Staff may end up asking patients for information they provided already to another representative during the same call.

Rather than having staff repeat work by asking questions about information already collected, teams can rely on technology to automatically provide necessary data. This helps patients feel as though they are heard and that the individuals they speak with are knowledgeable and focused on helping them.

Conclusion: A call to a hospital’s contact center is sometimes a patient’s first contact with the organization. Investing in contact center optimization is a must for creating a welcoming and satisfactory first impression. Even for patients who are not new to an organization, a hassle-free experience is appreciated. Giving patients positive communication experiences is not difficult; it simply requires that hospitals and health systems dedicate a bit more attention to call center functionality and optimization.

Allison Hart is an advocate for utilizing technology-enabled communications to engage and activate patients beyond the clinical setting. She leads thought leadership efforts for West’s TeleVox Solutions, promoting the idea that engaging with patients between healthcare appointments in meaningful ways will encourage and inspire them to follow and embrace treatment plans—and that activating these positive behaviors ultimately leads to better outcomes for both healthcare organizations and patients. Hart currently serves as vice president of marketing for TeleVox Solutions at West, where the healthcare mission is to help organizations harness communications to expand the boundaries of where, when, and how healthcare is delivered.

Is BPO a Key Enabler in the Push for Better Patient Outcomes?



By Anand Natampalli

In the emerging value-based world, healthcare providers and payers increasingly align incentives to drive improved patient health outcomes, more patient-centric services, and reduced medical cost for individuals. BPO (business processing outsourcer) service providers can bring a neutral consultative perspective, with design thinking and innovation, to meet the provider’s complex challenges.

To solve individual provider’s specific needs, BPO organizations bring customized solutions using a service incubation approach. It incorporates the following:

  • A new breed of patient engagement and experience solutions, with a consolidated, targeted strategy
  • Data management and integration, sharing intelligence from different segments of the collective healthcare ecosystem, including payers, providers, pharmaceutical companies, and durable medical equipment (DME) providers
  • Process optimization through automation and analytics, with a population health management (PHM) focus

A New Breed of Patient Engagement and Experience

Often, consumers of healthcare services encounter confusing phone directories, difficult-to-navigate-websites, and representatives who may not have the training or resources to make a patient encounter meaningful and productive. One of the most critical areas where BPOs can contribute is by helping provider organizations improve the patient experience and drive better health outcomes.

With the added patient choice in today’s marketplace, patient engagement, and experience—an area traditionally of lesser importance to health systems—is now critically paramount to attracting and retaining patients, driving healthier outcomes, and achieving higher ratings.

Patient engagement and experience is often a critical missed opportunity for provider organizations of all sizes. Patient access centers are legitimate business departments and have an important role to play in the transition to value-based, patient-centric care. They have the potential to create new streams of revenue. They engender patient brand loyalty. Most importantly, access centers are a critical first impression that ultimately determines whether a patient chooses to purchase healthcare services.

In a patient-centric healthcare economy, BPOs offer the right balance of technology and talent for seamless, patient-experience delivery. BPOs play an effective front-line role to drive revenue and patient satisfaction, reduce no-shows, and eliminate the need for patients to fish around for answers to their questions. These partners can more effectively employ their analytics and automation expertise to make the patient experience as easy as possible through both personalization and self-service—striving for that perfect balance between automated bots and live, human-touch interaction.

Data Management and Integration

In the new healthcare landscape, PHM is a key area of focus for providers. According to a May 2017 Deloitte Center for Health Solutions survey of hospital CEOs, population health analytics investment is the highest-rated analytics priority for healthcare organizations.

The amount of data attached to every patient has grown exponentially. This must be gathered, integrated, and interpreted according to compliance guidelines and processes that can vary widely between payers and providers. Additionally, the datasets held by payers and providers can be different. For example, payers possess data on claims, financial analytics, and risk models. Providers have administrative and clinical data that includes case histories and outcomes.

BPOs with both payer and provider expertise can best assist, by bridging the data gap between these two organizations. For example, BPOs not only have claims data from provider groups but also from payers. By leveraging this comprehensive information, providers have a better, more holistic view of patient health. Armed with this intelligence, providers can positively affect a patient’s health outcomes, through PHM processes that also bend the cost curve.

Further to this point, each data set is valuable, but in isolation it doesn’t provide a holistic and contextual perspective of the patient. Providers need to leverage health plan data to move from episodic care to delivering outcomes-based care across the care continuum. Payers need access to patient information to work with providers to establish appropriate care plans for their members. Again, this is where BPOs bridge the gap for providers, as well as payers.BPOs offer the right balance of technology and talent for seamless, patient-experience delivery. Click To Tweet

Automation and Analytics with a PHM Focus

With better patient engagement and data integration to leverage PHM, there is an ideal scenario for best use of automation and analytics. BPO partners can bring the requisite advanced automation and analytics, as key drivers of business improvements or process changes. With more understanding and awareness of the data coming downstream, BPOs know how to analyze these data points and decouple nonessential activities with automation for a positive impact on health outcomes and to drive costs down.

They also can offer “automation and analytics as a service,” relieving organizations of the capital and time investment of developing these abilities in house. Today’s cognitive computing capabilities will affect more complex, judgement-based activities (like origination and underwriting) with compliance objectives, too. Agility, speed, and accuracy are all positive customer satisfaction results derived from these transformations. Most impactful may be the automation data and applied analytics that will dramatically improve outcomes, for more forward-thinking strategies.

Conclusion

Today, BPO partners take an active role in helping provider organizations manage change, internally and externally. This puts them in a better position to take advantage of the opportunities found by optimizing patient experience journeys. By selecting the right partner, hospitals and health systems can position themselves to gain a competitive advantage in the present, while setting themselves up for an even brighter future.

Anand Natampalli is a senior vice president, global business development, for HGS, a provider of end-to-end business process services for numerous Fortune 100 health insurance companies and large provider organizations.

The February/March 2018 Issue of AnswerStat

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



Feature Content:

Telephone Triage Research: Right Staff, Right Stuff¸ by Sheila Quiler Wheeler
With telephone triage, the challenge is to get the patient to the right place, at the right time, for the right reason. This research on telephone triage decision-making safety and system research provides key insight into how to best accomplish these telephone triage goals… read more >>

Vital Signs: Voice AI in the Healthcare Call Center, by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
With AI and machine learning, the potential exists for an intelligent interface to provide the conversational bridge between patients and triage protocols… read more >>

Vendor Spotlight on LVM Systems
LVM Systems Celebrates 30th Anniversary
Throughout LVM’s history, three critical components come to mind: providing comprehensive, efficient software; using recognized, quality clinical content; and building positive relationships with clients across all company departments…  read more >>

Guest Column: Answering Services Can Help Medical Clinics Do More for Less, by Janet Livingston
Answering services that integrate with clinics’ EMR systems and provide sophisticated smart phone integration distinguish themselves from other less-equipped providers… read more >>

Ten years ago: Pairing Nurse Triage with Medical Answering Service, by Ken Bleakley
After-hours telephone services for physicians must be able to address both administrative questions and clinical concerns from patients. Both physician and patient need to be confident that all inquiries will receive a prompt, caring, and authoritative response. This requires the deployment of two different skill sets: medical answering service and registered nurse triage… read more >>

Industry News:

LVM Systems       Ameridial

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.

Answering Services Can Help Medical Clinics Do More for Less


Call Center Sales Pro, providing proven healthcare call center solutions


By Janet Livingston

Everyone in healthcare knows the key challenges the industry faces: do more, do it better, and do it for less. These pressures confront healthcare providers, coming from both the insurance companies that reimburse them and the patients that they serve.

But how can providers achieve these objectives of doing more, doing it better, and doing it for less, when these goals run counter to each other? Finding a solution requires innovative thinking and doing things in new ways.

Enter the venerable telephone answering service. Today, leading answering services are stepping up to this challenge.

For decades answering services have provided telephone support to the healthcare community by answering calls, taking messages, and dispatching emergencies. They’ve done this afterhours and 24/7. When it comes to supporting medical clinics and healthcare practices, answering services can do these things. But they can also do much more.

Two Key Considerations

EMR Integration: One key way to make your answering service invaluable to a medical clinic or healthcare facility is to integrate your answering service platform with their EMR (electronic medical record) system. This allows you to automatically transfer the information you gathered from the clinics’ patients to the clinics’ EMR platform.

Without this capability, one of two things will occur. Either someone will need to manually rekey the information, or the information will forever remain isolated. Neither scenario is a good one.

The first instance requires hours of labor each day to reenter the information. Plus, as with any manual process, there’s a chance of data-entry errors. This will then put into question the reliability of the information and reflects badly on your answering service, even though the problem occurred after the data left your facility.

In the other scenario, though you’ve provided important information to the clinic, it’s of little value to them because it sequestered in an isolated database that’s not integrated with their main systems.

This is why EMR integration is so critical. Any answering service that can provide it distinguishes themselves from the competition. Plus, grateful clinics will form long-term relationships with their answering service because they don’t want to lose this valuable feature.

Smart Phone Integration: Virtually everyone in healthcare carries a smart phone (and sometimes more than one). This mobile technology has become indispensable in today’s business world, including the healthcare industry.

Leading answering services offer a data portal to their clients. This portal provides a powerful tool to access their account and the information in it. The next step is extending this functionality to the smart phone, such as with Amtelco’s miTeamWeb. This and other similar products enable answering service clients to review their answering service information, make updates, and manage their account at any time, from anywhere, using a smart phone app. This puts control of answering service accounts literally in the hands of its clients.

These apps work great out of the box and require little configuration for basic functionality. However, the most powerful answering service apps allow for customization in how the information is displayed, as well as to create widgets to accomplish specialized tasks and enhanced integrations.

For all its value and power, creating the widgets—especially the more complicated ones—requires technical knowledge and carries the need for programming skills. Not every answering service can do this, but those who can provide tremendous value to their clients.

Again, this enhanced service offering distinguishes one answering service from most others. It allows an answering service to better serve its clients in ways that the competition can’t match.

Conclusion

Most answering services can work for medical clinics and healthcare facilities. However, answering services that integrate with clinics’ EMR systems and provide sophisticated smart phone integration distinguish themselves from other less-equipped providers.

Which type of answering service do you want to be?

 Call Center Sales Pro, a full-service healthcare call center consultancyJanet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier consultancy and service provider for healthcare call centers and answering services. Contact Janet at contactus@callcenter-salespro.com or call 800-901-7706.

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