The Newest Tool to Improve Healthcare: Part 2

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As we discussed in the last blog, the telephone is very important to improving healthcare. For many institutions, the first step to improve healthcare is by using a comprehensive post-discharge patient follow-up program. This will reduce hospital re-admissions.

With a properly run program, providers can:

  • Catch symptoms early before they lead to re-admission
  • Ensure that patients and caregivers understand and follow post-discharge instructions
  • Identify patients needing follow-up care such as home healthcare, nurse visits, changes in medication, etc.
  • Identify patients who are dissatisfied with their hospital experience and provide them with a way to voice and address their concerns, resulting in higher HCACPS score

With such obvious benefits, it is critical to run a program using these best practices. Hospitals are finding that existing contact center solutions are ideally suited for managing and improving the effectiveness of a post-discharge calling program. 

These solutions include:

  • Silent monitoring of calls to ensure quality care
  • Recording of calls to reduce liability, document conversations, and provide coaching opportunities for those making calls
  • Quality management software designed to formally evaluate agents on the phone
  • Workforce management to optimize staffing and reduce costs
  • Speech analytics to provide automated quality measures, quickly catch patient dissatisfaction and spot trends

Specifically, silent monitoring and call recording can be used to improve patient care. These solutions can then be combined with the remaining solutions to round out a patient calling program and achieve dramatic results.

Silent Monitoring in Healthcare

Once you have committed to following up with patients via the telephone, the next step is to ensure the quality of the follow-up calls. Consider these questions when evaluating your current process:

  • Are the nurses or other practitioners following the protocols established?
  • Is proper information given to the patients?
  • Are there areas that can be improved to help overall patient care?

Without a comprehensive program to monitor the calls, there is no way to answer these questions. Charts can only provide limited information. They cannot discover the nuances of the interaction. With silent monitoring, a supervisor or senior practitioner can listen to calls in real-time. This provides the ability to immediately evaluate the callers and provide needed coaching where necessary.

Call Recording

In addition to monitoring, the recording of calls is critical. Call recording can yield a number of benefits, including:

  • Create an adjunct to the medical record. Instead of just notes, a link to the actual call can be placed in the EHR for future reference.
  • Provide protection in the case of litigation. With a recording of the call, there can be no question as to what was said on the call or if instructions were properly provided.
  • Provide supervisors the ability to review calls for quality. By listening to a sample of calls, users can evaluate the performance of  staff, ensure that procedures are followed, and offer the opportunity to coach agents for improvement.

Whenever you call into your credit card company, bank, or cable company you hear, “This call may be monitored or recorded for quality purposes". There is a reason they are doing this. The reasons are equally valid in a healthcare setting.

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Mitchell Weiss joined ISI in 1994. He holds a Bachelor's Degree Management Information Systems from the University of Illinois and a Masters in Business Administration from the Stuart School of Business in Chicago.  He is an industry leader in all phases of managing Unified Communications.  At ISI, Mr. Weiss is responsible for the vision, strategy, and implementation of a suite of Unified Communications products including Voice and Video Recording, SIP Trunk Management, and Traffic Management.  Mr. Weiss also brings his knowledge of Cloud Computing to ISI, allowing the company to create new cloud based models for its software and services.

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