The November 2019 Issue



5 Reasons to Be Thankful for Your Job

Working in a Medical Call Center is Hard, but Don’t Forget the Good Parts

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan-call center

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.

Have you ever left your call center and wished you didn’t have to come back? Of course you have. Yet you return. Having this feeling means you care and proves you’re normal.

Working in a medical call center has its stresses, difficulties, and frustrations. But don’t let this cloud the good parts. And there are many. 

Let’s press pause for a moment and reflect on what you can be thankful for through your work at a medical call center. Here are five ideas to get you started.

1. Enjoy Financial Provision: At a basic level we work to earn a living. Yes, every employee wishes they made more and thinks they should. But overall you’re doing great. Your job covers your basic needs and then some. Don’t look at the 1 percent in the United States who have far surpassed you. Consider the 99 percent in the rest of the world who wished they had your standard of living.

2. Work with a Great Team: Every day you work alongside some amazing and talented people. Yes, there may be one or two that irritate you, but this is true in every job, as it is with every family and every social gathering. Remember, you’re a team, and you get things done. Together you’re stronger, more effective, and meet your mandate call after call.

3. Help Others: Handling call after call can have its drudgery. But remember that each caller is a real person who needs your support. They’re calling you for assistance. And you’re able to help. Call after call, you help people. Because of you, their lives are little bit healthier. You’re doing your part to make our world a better place.

4. Save Lives: Working in the medical call center can also have its life and death ramifications, especially if you’re doing telephone triage. Though it may not happen every day, each life you save is the ultimate reward that enables you to persevere. But beyond saving physical lives, all healthcare call center work helps save people emotionally, spiritually, or financially. Each call represents an opportunity for you to make a difference in the caller’s life.

5. Possess Purpose: Some jobs are boring, and others carry no meaning other than a paycheck. Not so when you work in a medical call center. You have purpose, a critical purpose. You and your coworkers help others on every phone call and save lives—whether literally or figuratively—on a regular basis.

Conclusion: You’re bound to have bad days in your call center. That’s normal. But don’t let them obscure the good days. Remember how much you have to be thankful for. You have a job that provides for you, benefits society, and carries significance.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is the publisher and editor of Medical Call Center News and AnswerStat.


Featured Sponsor: Pulsar 360

Pulsar360 provides carrier services and disaster recovery for medical answering services

Pulsar360 provides SIP Trunking and disaster recovery solutions for medical answering services. Pulsar360, Inc. has served the telecommunications requirements of SMB to enterprise business customers since 2001 and the medical call center industry since 2008.

Pulsar360 services over 170 medical-centric answering services, meeting their special requirements, which includes at no additional charge: 20 percent burstable SIP trunking; SIP trunking, toll-free number, and national network redundancy; T38 faxing that meets HIPAA compliance regulations; carrier services; and an infinite number of automatic failover alternatives.

In addition, Pulsar360 offers hot-standby business continuity/disaster recovery solutions designed for medical call centers. If the call center’s premise system is down or cloud system is off-line, calls automatically failover and are delivered directly to operator desktops with calling party ID and customer name or account number. Also included are cloud-based IVR, multiple call queues, and skills-based routing when in failover mode.

With Pulsar’s SD-WAN offering they can provide QoS over the internet to their data centers. Their 24/7 internet quality of service monitoring and issue alerting, which includes scheduled VoIP quality tests with archived test results, insures they deliver the reliability to meet and exceed their customer’s expectations.


Customizing Care for Patient Populations with a Nurse Triage System

By Ravi K. Raheja, MD

Patients today have more options than ever to receive care outside of their primary care—if they even have one. Having more options may seem like a good thing. However, many times the consumer is confused about the best care to address their symptoms. In the process, they end up either over-utilizing services or underestimating serious medical symptoms, creating both a drain to the healthcare system as well as a possible threat to their lives.

In a population health setting, this can lead to inappropriate use of resources which ends up frustrating the patient and expensive for the health system. Managing patient populations requires providers to use a customized approach to provide better care for patients, create a healthier population, and reduce healthcare costs. Providing access to a robust, nurse triage call solution with custom orders is a critical step in enabling this approach.

Managing multiple chronic diseases for a single patient requires complex scheduling, medicine regimens, and monitoring tasks, not to mention the counseling and patient education that is crucial to effective self-care. In addition to caring and helping their patients, providers benefit from offering high-quality telephone care for their chronically ill patients because it improves treatment effectiveness and compliance. Time and cost burdens for managing a whole population of such patients can be a significant problem for providers.

Key Features of a Nurse Triage System

  • Incorporate Gold Standard Protocols from Schmitt-Thompson
  • Record all calls
  • Use licensed registered nurses
  • Call back time less than 30 minutes
  • Customizable standing orders where the nurses follow instructions specific to practice or physician
  • HIPAA-compliant secure texting to the MD’s smartphone
  • Encounters sent via fax, email, FTP, or online access to notes
  • Optional integration module
  • Optional telehealth app

Telephone triage nurses serve as a continuation of a provider’s staff, allowing patients access to medical care and appropriate advice beyond the employed staff and their hours. Triage nurses use a combination of protocols and clinical directives. When a nurse triage service allows for custom orders, the nurse can follow tailored instructions based on physician or practice preferences once the nurse has determined the appropriate level of care. 

For example, some doctors prefer their patients use specific brands of medications when necessary. Other examples include a particular urgent care center or ER if patients need immediate treatment. This option allows the nurse to help patients without having to contact the doctor after every call. The software should also provide data analytics reports allowing doctors and practices to understand their patient groups and frequent questions better.

Ravi K. Raheja, MD is the COO and medical director of the TriageLogic Group. Founded in 2005, TriageLogic is a URAC accredited, physician-led provider of high-quality telehealth services, nurse triage, triage education, and software for telephone medicine. For more information visit www.triagelogic.com and www.continuwell.com


Healthcare Call Center News

TeamHealth Medical Call Center Rebrands as AccessNurse: Started in 1996 to support TeamHealth physicians, TeamHealth Medical Call Center evolved over time, outgrowing its brand identity and core message, which is a natural part of every dynamic, growing business. Now, more than two decades later, they have evolved to become a premiere provider of medical call center solutions, offering services to more than fifteen thousand providers in individual and group practices, hospital systems, universities, community health centers, and other medical organizations across the United States. Today they are more dynamic than ever, and their new brand of AccessNurse reflects this reality.

1Call Expands Architecture Solutions Team: 1Call, a division of Amtelco and a leader in developing software solutions and applications designed for the specific needs of the healthcare call center marketplace, announced the promotion of Amber Schroedl to solutions architect. “Amber has been a key part of our success, and brings a unique, real-world set of skills to our department,” said Kevin Mahoney, director of solutions architecture. “We are thrilled to promote her to this important position and serve our customers better by reducing implementation and go-live times.”

Email us with your news for the next issue.


A Thought for Today

Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it. -Henry David Thoreau