The Newest Tool to Improve Healthcare – The Telephone? Part 3

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In the last post, we examined the benefits of the core tools of monitoring and recording. Once you have implemented these, it is time to bring your program to the next level. Advanced tools such as Quality Management, Workforce Management, and Speech Analytics can further improve the quality of your program, resulting in better patient care.

Quality Management

We already examined how recording can be used to evaluate practitioners and improve patient care. By adding a formal quality management module to a recording platform, users can begin to evaluate calls in a comprehensive and efficient way. There are two types of Quality Management systems available today – a manual and an automated. A manual Quality Management system is great for smaller groups where a supervisor can randomly select calls to evaluate. It then presents them with a scorecard that can be used to evaluate the calls while listening. An automated Quality Management system offers the same scorecard capability, but it is done on all of the calls taking place. Each call is scored based on parameters set. This takes out all subjectivity from the scoring since it is automatically handled by a system, rather than several individuals. A quality management module allows for systematical evaluation of practitioners, ranking them in an objective manner, and identifying areas for improvement.

Workforce Management

Many healthcare facilities already use some kind of workforce management software for scheduling employees. Scheduling a workforce can be difficult, as it is based on patient load, the number of procedures scheduled, skillset, and other factors.

With workforce management software specifically designed for telephone calling, users can schedule practitioners based on historical calling trends. This is especially useful if you have an inbound component to your quality system. For example, with workforce management software, you will know that based on past history, calls may spike in the evenings or on weekends. You can discover how many people you need to take the calls to ensure minimal waiting.

The benefits are:

  • Improved patient satisfaction through minimizing or eliminating hold times
  • Reduced costs by matching staffing to predicted call trends
  • Reduced costs by demonstrating where cross-training can reduce the total number of staffing requirements
  • Greater employee satisfaction by allowing flexible scheduling and on-line shift bidding

As you can see, the objective is to provide excellent service to patients while minimizing staff expenditures.

Speech Analytics

Once you have streamlined your operations with quality and workforce management, it is time for the last piece in the puzzle. Speech Analytics allows users to analyze 100% of patient interactions. With Speech Analytics, you can start evaluating conversations without having to have supervisors listen to them. You can see which employees are meeting objectives and which need additional training or coaching.

You can also find hidden “gems” in your patient interactions. For example, suppose you had a large number of conversations with the words “I don’t understand the instructions”. This could call attention to the need to revise discharge instructions or do a better job explaining them.

You can also look for trends in terms like “infection” or “waiting time”. With Speech Analytics, you can truly mine your conversations for actionable information.

Once you have implemented all the technologies, you will find that your overall patient satisfaction increases and the potential decrease of your re-admission rates, leading to higher payments, reduced costs, and increased satisfaction scores. Who would have thought that this could all be done with a telephone and some back-end tools!

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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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