Advances in information technology software and telephony systems have led to a transformation in how hospital systems deliver patient care and increase patient satisfaction. Similar to many other industries, changes in healthcare can trigger fear in patients, front-end staff, and clinical providers. Change can be defined as:
“A modification to a person’s environment, situation, or physical-mental condition that results in circumstances that challenge their existing paradigms. What our definition implies is that humans have a tendency to define how their world is supposed to work. Whenever something happens in our personal world or to our own being that is inconsistent with the way we feel the world should be, we encounter change” (Dachis, 2013).
Healthcare is evolving at a rapid pace. With the increased amount of affordable healthcare plans, the number of patients seeking access to clinical care has grown. This creates a higher demand for patient-centric scheduling, and the need for providers to offer greater access to their patient populations. To meet the needs of their patients, hospital systems are switching from volume-based care to value-based care, and patient-centered models are being implemented.
For many hospital systems, increasing patients’ access to providers and resources is becoming more challenging. In order to manage the increasing number of patient demands, several hospital systems are implementing a centralized scheduling, contact center model. Centralized scheduling increases appropriate patient access, and creates visibility into multiple departments at once; this combination makes leveraging network-wide capacity possible (Datamark, 2014).
Implementing centralized scheduling within a hospital system has several valuable benefits; however, for some front-end staff and clinical providers, centralization can generate fear and uncertainty. Prior to the implementation of a centralized scheduling model, clinical providers may be concerned that a separation between contact center agents and clinical staff could form.
Additional fears include: a loss of touch points with contact center personnel, and the weakening of the relationships between their offices and their patient populations. Clinical providers may also be concerned that they will have less influence or involvement in determining their scheduling preferences, and how other patient scenarios should be addressed. Many providers also have a personal connection with their staff and have a difficult time imagining the day to day work life without them.
Creating a culture of provider confidence and patient satisfaction is what Aspect’s innovative software aims to accomplish. Aspect offers several software solutions that will help with accomplishing these goals.
In smaller practices with decentralized call hubs, calls may take much longer to be answered. Front end staff often have to split their focus between checking patients in and answering incoming calls. Aspect Patient Connect improves patients’ experience and increases satisfaction by allowing each patient to speak with a live person when they call into your contact center. Patient abandonment rates can decrease exponentially when a friendly voice picks up in an expedient time frame. This new level of accountability creates confidence in the efficiency of the practice.
Smaller offices are often understaffed and are unable to organize and handle the influx of calls during peak times. Aspect Healthcare—Workforce Management ensures that the appropriate number of front-end staff are readily available to respond to any incoming patient scheduling requests. Centralization allows for cross training and better management of the call volume. Aspect’s Workforce Management provides staffing recommendations and leveling options to divide the distribution of calls evenly amongst available agents.
Providers often fear that they will lose the personal touch with their patients. Aspects Healthcare—Proactive Engagement connects patients to their providers or providers’ clinical staff to answer critical medical questions in a timely manner. Proactive Engagement streamlines patient-provider communication so that all patients receive their medical information through optimized access to front-end or clinical personnel. This software also encourages patients to consistently work with their healthcare providers to create personalized treatment plans.
Implementing a centralized scheduling model within your healthcare system doesn’t have to create fear for your front-end staff or clinical providers. Aspect offers several software solutions that will help increase patient satisfaction and access, while also optimizing and meeting each clinical providers’ unique scheduling preferences and needs. By implementing Aspect’s software solutions, you will ensure that your healthcare system’s transition to a centralized scheduling model will be smooth, easy, and beneficial for your front-end staff, clinical providers, and patients.
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- The New Patient Advocate in the Back Office: Workforce Management - September 22, 2015