What We’re Reading: October Edition

Posted by Carolyn Edwards on Wednesday, October 31, 2018

If we’ve learned anything from the news this month, it’s that November is definitely coming. Politics have dominated the news cycle, including a report released by the White House itself on The Opportunity Costs of Socialism, and it’s safe to say there will only be more noise in the coming weeks. In the middle of all of the chatter, though, we did find a few good healthcare reads that paint a really interesting picture of where our industry is heading.

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Key Takeaways from the 2018 Healthcare Call Center Conference

Posted by Carolyn Edwards on Wednesday, July 25, 2018

We recently attended Healthcare Call Center’s Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, and had the opportunity to discuss with business leaders and industry heads some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in the healthcare call center world. This year’s event hosted the largest number of physician practice call centers in attendance since the conference’s inception 30 years ago, and it’s no wonder. With call centers playing a critical role in the healthcare ecosystem, more executives are realizing that these centers are on the front line and critical to the patient experience.

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7 Ways to Accelerate Your Healthcare Call Center

Posted by Brad Veach on Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Healthcare call centers play an important role in the healthcare ecosystem. Some are performing outreach to close gaps in care, others are receiving inbound calls from patients trying to book appointments, and so on. Whether the focus is inbound or outbound, one issue remains, identifying the right provider and booking the appointment is difficult.

Typically, massive spreadsheets and/or three-ring binders full of provider information and scheduling rules must be combed through by agents to find the right provider. Once the provider is located a three-way call must be initiated so the call center agent can find a time that works for both the patient and the provider for an appointment. Many times, these three-way calls are unsuccessful, and even when they are successful, they are always tedious and time-consuming.

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The Big Picture of Patient Self-Scheduling

Posted by Brad Veach on Tuesday, January 23, 2018

For decades, most patients have made appointments by calling their physician’s office. But now that is all beginning to change. In the age of smartphones, where consumer-centric technology is ever-present, health systems are starting to adapt. Patient self-scheduling is on the rise. In fact, a recent study by Accenture estimates that 66% of US health systems will offer patient self-scheduling by the end of 2019. The primary reason? A better patient experience. For example, the same Accenture study also shows that 77 percent of patients think the ability to book, change or cancel appointments online is important. 

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Intelligent Scheduling from Behind a Portal

Posted by Brad Veach on Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Patient portals are becoming a mainstay of how healthcare providers connect with patients. However, patient adoption can be challenging – if only for the reason that it’s another username and password for the patient to remember (we all have too many of those!).

When seeking to make a patient portal as useful and attractive as possible, access is paramount. Access to medical records, past appointment information, prescriptions, etc… are all important, but many portals leave out the most important thing – access to providers.

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Reduce wait times with a digital network

Posted by Brad Veach on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The consequences of long wait times can be severe, especially for patients. Direct correlations can be drawn from longer waiting times to increased ED utilization. If the costs associated with unnecessary ED visits weren’t enough, add to that the cost of missed appointments. According to data collected by MyHealthDirect, included in a recent article published by The New England Journal of Medicine, the longer patients wait for an appointment, the greater the chance they won’t show up. The correlation couldn’t be clearer: long waits mean more no-shows.

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How waitlist technology can optimize provider utilization

Posted by Brad Veach on Tuesday, May 16, 2017

No-shows are costly. This study in the Journal for Healthcare Quality found that the cost was $210 per missed appointment.

Dr. Barron Lerner, M.D, writes in the New York Times, “no-show rates range from 5 to 55 percent”. Even with a no-show rate at 20%, it’s easy to see how the costs can quickly grow to tremendous levels.

What can be done to fill at least some of these appointment slots – and recover the revenue?

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How health plans can use self-scheduling

Posted by Mary Tackbary, RN, MSN on Tuesday, May 9, 2017

No one can argue that self-scheduling of provider appointments is a bad idea. It is like Uber – once someone does it, they keep doing it and won’t go back to the old way. It provides a convenient and fast way to book appointments and corrects a persistent source of frustration and complaints related to access. And as a bonus it improves quality and reduces costs.

However, it isn’t easy for a health plan to determine the best role they should play with this technology. There are many options:

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