What’s Your Call Center’s Position on Video Calls?
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.
Last time we talked about web chat and it’s growing used in the call center. Another interesting technology that will make inroads in the call center is video. Just as text messaging is driving demand for a webchat, the use of Skype, Face Time, and other video apps will spur interest in video calls to your call center.
Here are some advantages of video calling in your call center:
Most communication happens from body language, which puts call center agents at a definite disadvantage. All we can go on are the words spoken and the tone of voice because when we’re on the phone, we miss the visual cues so critical in face-to-face communication. But with video, we open ourselves to a fuller communication experience. This will help us communicate more effectively and build rapport with our callers and patients.
In a telephone triage environment, video calls can pay off huge. No longer is the triage nurse limited to verbal interaction to decide on the best course of action. With video, healthcare practitioners can see the patient and incorporate important images and visual cues in their assessment. Not only will this make for more accurate results, but it will also get there faster.
Elevates the Call Center:
For too many people, especially younger generations, the call center is low on their list of communication choices. Too many view a phone call as an option of last resort, while some dismiss it altogether. However, these same people are open to video. Providing video as an option will draw some reluctant patients back to your call center. They’ll consider it as a viable, and even preferred, the option to find answers to questions and communicate with your organization.
Where do you stand on video for your call center? Perhaps you’ve already embraced it. Or maybe you’re moving in that direction, by researching, planning, and even testing.
Though possibly you’re doing nothing with video. This might be because you’re too busy with other things, worry about how your staff will react to video, or need more technology to make it happen. But doing nothing is not a solution.
Take some time to consider the role of video in your call center. And to help you with this thought process, next time we’ll talk about how video will affect your agents and impact your operation.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D., is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Medical Call Center News. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.
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Responding to New Trends in Insurance Coverage for ED Cases
By Mark Dwyer
The Problem: Denying Insurance Coverage for ED Cases Later Deemed Non-Urgent
According to a December 22, 2017 article in Modern Healthcare by Steven Ross Johnson, Senator Claire McCaskill is taking on insurance giant Anthem over its controversial policy to deny coverage for emergency department treatment for cases later determined not to have been emergent. This policy exists in Missouri, Georgia, and parts of Kentucky. Anthem plans to expand it to Indiana, New Hampshire, and Ohio next year.
“Anthem’s policies are discouraging individuals from receiving needed care and treatment out of fear they may personally be fully financially responsible for the cost of treatment, even though they have insurance,” McCaskill wrote in a letter sent to Anthem’s CEO on Wednesday, December 20, 2017.
Although this new policy will likely be of great value to Anthem, it comes at a price to healthcare providers and the patient’s they serve. While researching his article, Steven Ross Johnson contacted Dr. Ryan Stanton, an emergency physician in Lexington, Ky., and a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians for comment. Johnson learned that during the previous four months, Anthem had denied hundreds of claims from providers all over the state.
Providers are concerned this policy may encourage people to wait at home, allowing their symptoms to become worse, before finally heading to the ED. This may leave physicians unable to help the patient.
Dr. Stanton explained that Anthem often reviews ED cases deciding based solely on diagnostic ICD-10 codes instead of medical records. If Anthem denies a case, the provider can appeal and the insurer may review the patient’s medical records.
Mr. Johnson added that Dr. Stanton warned the policy forces patients to diagnose themselves to avoid the risk of paying out of pocket for their ED visits. He fears such a scenario will increase their health risk.
The Solution is Healthcare’s Best Kept Secret: The Nurse Triage Call Center
Often sequestered in the bowels of the hospital, in off-site locations, or in individual remote nurses’ homes, too many organizations still perceive the triage call center as merely a side program with little real overall value. The limited number of triage call centers across our country demonstrates this.
I have written for years on the importance of the healthcare call center, both clinical and marketing. If you are a nurse triage call center, you know the solution is simple: Right Care, Right Time, Right Place. To accomplish this, while addressing Anthem’s new policy, a patient could be required to contact the triage nurse to determine whether the patient’s symptoms warrant an ED disposition.
If so, the patient receives an authorization code to present upon arrival at the ED. This code would also appear on the patient’s triage chart sent to the ED. Implementing this process not only eliminates non-emergent patients from congesting the ED, it also assures the patient’s insurance will cover the appropriate ED costs.
If your call center provides nurse triage services, especially for patients insured with Anthem in the affected states, consider including pre-ED authorization. If you do not offer nurse triage services, now is the time to consider adding them.
Mark Dwyer is a thirty-year veteran of the healthcare call center industry and the COO at LVM Systems, which provides healthcare call center software.
Make Telemedicine Services Successful in 2018
By Dr. Ravi Rajeha
A new study found that healthcare organizations are opening up to telemedicine and expanding to provide quality services and generate revenue. With this, there are many available telemedicine options. Here are some considerations.
Increased Telemedicine Adoption: A 2017 Foley Telemedicine and Digital Health Survey, revealed that more than three-quarters of those surveyed are using or plan to provide telemedicine services to patients. Just three years ago this survey showed that 87 percent of respondents did not expect most of their patients would be using telemedicine services by 2017.
Improved Telemedicine ROI: The Foley survey shows that telemedicine provides an opportunity to see a financial return. Over 70 percent realized cost savings from telemedicine. Nearly a third saw more than 20 percent savings. Although many companies see a positive ROI, telemedicine service provider selection is key to determine the level of success.
Critical Telemedicine AIMS:
- Adaptive: The healthcare industry continues to evolve. Success requires being able to adapt. Look for a company that listens to clients and makes upgrades to meet needs.
- Integrated: The telemedicine software should integrate seamlessly with current workflows. It needs to be cohesive and allow for easy data transfer.
- Measurable: Choose a platform that includes different portals for clients to look at data and analyze it.
- Supported: The telemedicine service should have training and support available to troubleshoot any concerns.
These are some of the key factors to consider when implementing or expanding telemedicine services. It is important to do research to find which solution will be best for your organization.
Dr. Ravi Raheja, is the medical director at TriageLogic, which is a leader in telehealth technology and services. Visit www.triagelogic.com for more information.
Healthcare Call Center News
Call 4 Health Earns 2017 Award of Excellence
Call 4 Health, headquartered in Delray Beach, Florida, has been honored with the exclusive 2017 Award of Excellence. The award is presented annually by the Canadian Call Management Association (CAM-X). Call 4 Health received the award at the CAM-X 53rd Annual Convention and Trade Show held at the Marriott Pinnacle in Vancouver, BC.
“We are truly honored to receive this prestigious award,” said Joseph Pores, CEO of Call 4 Health. “This achievement underlines our commitment to delivering quality customer service and compassionate care to patients.”
Independent judges are contracted by CAM-X to evaluate message services over a six-month period. The scoring criteria include response time, agent courteousness, call accuracy, account knowledge, and overall impression of the call.
“Huge congratulations to Call 4 Health for winning this prestigious award. The responsibility and effort required to participate, and succeed, in the Award of Excellence program is a direct reflection of the commitment to quality and service excellence demonstrated by Call 4 Health,” said CAM-X President Dana Lloyd.
1Call Announces Major Transformer Update
The 1Call Division of Amtelco announced a major update to the capabilities of the Transformer data importing utility. This update features an improved user interface, along with many new capabilities, saving countless hours for new 1Call customers and current customers upgrading to newer platforms such as Genesis.
The Transformer speeds and simplifies the process of moving data by using a set of utilities to import data (including SQL, LDAP, and delimited files), directories, on-call schedules, ACD tables, agent settings, client information, greetings, and images. These utilities are run separately and include the ability for users to determine how the source data will be transformed.
Vice president of research and development, Kevin Beale, commented, “Our software engineers have spent many hours refining the Transformer tools to meet current and future customer needs. The result is a new streamlined process that has impressed many customers who have already used it.”
A Thought for Today
“What a child doesn’t receive he can seldom later give.” -P.D. James