The March 2021 Issue



Use a Quality Assurance Program to Improve Your Call Center Operation

Work to Enhance Customer Service to Better Meet Caller Expectations

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

What does your healthcare call center do to improve quality interactions with your callers and patients? While some call centers have robust programs in place, others struggle with implementation or following through, and a few keep putting it off. 

Regardless of where you stand on the quality spectrum, too many call centers lack a methodical quality assurance (QA) program that they consistently use to track and improve the quality of the interactions that their agents have with callers.

Here are some thoughts to move forward:

Start Small: Though you could begin with a grand comprehensive plan to have a dedicated QA leader or team evaluate every agent every day, this is too big of a vision for most organizations to start with. Instead think small. Aim to evaluate each employee once a month. This feels manageable.

Though evaluating one call a month may not provide statistically meaningful insights, it does communicate to every employee the importance you place on the quality of their work. It also brings a customer service focus to the forefront of their thinking.

Be Consistent: Now that you’ve evaluated one call per person in a month, repeat the process. Do it a second month and then a third. Some employees will catch the vision right away, while others will have a wait-and-see attitude. But as you consistently assess one call per agent per month, your staff will see your commitment and take the goal of quality seriously.

Celebrate Wins: Instead of evaluating calls to discover where agents fall short, seek to catch them doing something right. Focus on the positive whenever possible. Yes, you must address some errors immediately, but even in this case frame them between what they did right. 

Let them self-identify areas to improve. For example, listen to a call with them and ask, “What was good about this call?” You may need to prod a bit, provide suggestions, or offer affirmation. After they’ve identified several areas of success, then ask them, “What is one thing that could’ve gone better?” Then offer instruction, encouragement, or support as needed to help them turn this one weak area into a strength.

Grow as Needed: Once you have a system down and have consistently evaluated one call per agent per month, look to expand your program. Seek to assess two calls per month. This will also be an ideal time to train other people in your QA process so that they, too, can help appraise calls. Continue to add calls to the process until you have a statistically significant dataset for each employee each month. 

Also, be sure to allocate time for your QA manager or team so they can complete their call evaluation work. Don’t expect them to squeeze this task in among many others. If you do, something will suffer, and I suspect it will be your QA program. 

Your employees—and your callers—deserve better.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is the publisher and editor of Medical Call Center News and AnswerStat.  Read more of his articles at PeterDeHaanPublishing.com.


Featured Sponsor:  Call 4 Health

Call4Health

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Nurse Triage Reporting to Improve Patient Care: Geo-Mapping and Heat Maps

By Dr. Ravi Raheja

Understanding your patients and the environment around them is vital to the success of a practice or healthcare organization. Data and statistics are the building blocks for making prudent choices for your institution. Having software that can effortlessly gather that information is valuable for maintaining proper patient care and creating service offerings to best serve your communities. A low-cost place to start is by evaluating the kinds of symptoms an organization handles from patient phone calls.

Nurse triage software allows nurses to use guided protocols to evaluate patient symptoms when they call and has detailed reporting capabilities. The software reports can help medical organizations and institutions pinpoint information such as the main reasons for the call, the amount of call volume during specific times, and any clusters around phone calls and symptoms. Here’s how it works and how it can help.

Function: Once a nurse takes a patient phone call, the data can then be used to create reports. Examples include the number of phone calls and the percentage of each disposition given. In addition, managers can evaluate the entire operation. This includes call back times and number of calls taken per hour.

Linked with data analysis software, the nurse triage software can build geographic heat maps based on US zip codes. Applying these zip codes and the protocols used during the nurse triage calls, allow for the tracking of trends by location.

Filter by any criteria captured in the data to analyze time periods, users, protocols, and dispositions. Examine these data points to determine trends or deep dive into different areas of care.

Uses: In addition to simple filtering, analytics users can drill down further to find even more specific data points. For example, many marketing mailers are priced per zip code. Targeted marketing to specific zip codes (using an image of a heat map, showing cases in their area) can provide a visual aid to patients and reinforce the importance of getting a yearly flu shot. The heat maps can look at specific symptoms in a particular area and use the information to evaluate population education and intervention to assist a certain geographical location based on issues presented. In addition, year-to-year comparisons can clarify additional needs and trends.

Nurses can send handouts and customize doctor orders based on provider preferences. Users can export reporting in a jpeg or csv file format for further analysis and comparison with other health data. 

Reporting features such as geo-mapping and heat maps allow users to understand a patient base and the local environment, focusing efforts to communities that need it the most. 

Email TriageLogic at info@triagelogic.com to get details about MyTriageChecklist and its reporting features.


Healthcare Call Center News

TriageLogic Releases Data on Remote Nurse Triage Calls pertaining to remote nurse triage in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of this study provide insight into how triage nurses can help hospitals and healthcare organizations provide high-quality remote care for patients during major public health episodes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how doctors and health facilities care for patients. Between lockdown orders and public fear of going to doctor’s offices or hospitals, telemedicine and remote nurse triage has become a vital service for the healthcare industry. Through these changes, TriageLogic has tracked patient sentiments, attitudes, demographics, and triage outcomes to help providers and hospitals better understand their patients. 

The insights from their white paper “Nurse Triage: Patient Phone Calls About COVID-19” demonstrate the importance of telephone triage and remote patient care. The numbers clearly support the fact that patients, in times of anxiety and genuine sickness, turn to these lines because they are an effective, convenient, and safe alternative to going to the emergency room or doctor’s office. This has helped alleviate pressure on the healthcare system during a time of record hospital admissions due to COVID-19.

Learn more: info@triagelogic.com

Email us updates about your healthcare call center for the next issue of Medical Call Center News.


A Thought for Today

“What is the opposite of two? A lonely me, a lonely you.” -Richard Wilbur