The July 2014 Issue

Is Universal Call Distribution the Answer?

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

I’ll admit it; I’m an idealist. I think life should be fair; everyone deserves equal opportunity. That’s why I favor impartiality when distributing calls in the call center, with each call handled in the order received and going to the next available operator: universal call distribution.

However, we must remember that, whether for profit or nonprofit, a call center must function with a business mindset. Therefore, doesn’t it make the most sense to give priority to the calls with the most value?

I propose – in partial jest but with thought-provoking seriousness – we consider a different model. Let’s deviate from universal call-distribution idealism. Instead, let’s use the worth or anticipated worth of each call to route it.

A person looking for a family doctor represents a lifetime of service and billing opportunities. Perhaps answer that call first. It’s not as important as the person wanting to make an appointment – that has less value. Of course, some procedures are worth much more than others, with heart bypass surgery ranking much higher than an annual checkup, which is worth more than an appointment for a sore throat. Of least importance might be calls for information readily available through others means, as well as the person who skips automated routing or messaging by pressing zero.

Then, to be bold, let’s tweak calls by giving higher priority to people who are nice to staff and don’t complain, with lessor importance given to rude callers and complainers. After all, if a call will go unanswered, wouldn’t you prefer it be a mean person instead of a nice one? Lastly, factor in payment history. Why make it a priority to answer a call from someone who has trouble paying or won’t pay at all?

I’m still not sure how serious I am with all this, but it sure merits consideration.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, 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.

Call 4 Health Adds Maryland Location

Call 4 Health has opened another call center location in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. “We celebrated our seventeenth anniversary by starting a new chapter and opening another office in Linthicum Heights, Maryland,” said Bryan Weinstein, Call 4 Health VP of business development and contracts. “[It was] on the same day seventeen years later!”

Nationwide Call Center Releases Article on How Obamacare Affects Businesses

Many businesses have questions about the Affordable Care Act and how it affects their organization. So, Sound Telecom tapped Sydney Morgan Diamond, their resident expert on the matter, to create an article that would help clarify the situation.

The piece opens with a brief background of the law, how the delays have played out, and the basic principles upon which the Affordable Care Act is founded. It touches on how the law affects individuals, insurance companies, and business, but it focuses on Obamacare issues relevant to companies.

The article explains how Obamacare affects businesses differently depending on the size and structure. It examines five tiers, from self-employed individuals to companies with 100 or more full-time equivalents, explaining how the Affordable Care Act affects each type, what they must to do abide by the law, and the most recent dates for compliance. Also, a helpful segment outlines how to calculate full-time equivalents so businesses know which category they fall into.

Finally, the article notes seven interesting items about the Affordable Care Act that also affect companies. For example, if one company buys another company but elects to maintain separate legal entities, the law still looks at the combined number of employees to determine which category the business falls under.

“I recommend that every company, every business, no matter what the size or how many employees it has, ensures that it has someone to keep abreast of new knowledge and changing requirements regarding Obamacare,” stated Diamond.

AnswerPro Honored with Business Excellence Award of Merit

AnswerPro Limited received a 2014 Kansas Regional Business Excellence Award of Merit, according to Doug Gregg, general manager. The awards were presented during Kansas Business Appreciation Month by the Kansas Department of Commerce. Criteria for award selection included proven business growth and development, outstanding business practices, and a dedication to community leadership and betterment. One hundred businesses across Kansas were honored in four categories: manufacturing/distribution, service, retail, and hospital/non-profit. AnswerPro was recognized in the service category.

AnswerPro Limited is a customer-focused, technology-based communications center for business. Founded in 1956 as Lee’s Secretarial Service, today AnswerPro specializes in private-sector critical response for healthcare-related businesses, including physicians, nurses, home health providers, and other medical facilities. Additional client segments encompass private companies ranging from manufacturers and small businesses to contractors and delivery services. AnswerPro offers “front office” service to customers so they don’t need to go to the trouble and expense of setting up a traditional office.

“We view ourselves as long-term partners to our clients. Our commitment to them includes seeking to better understand their communications needs and then providing service that exceeds their expectations,” added Gregg.

For more information, contact Ashley Cook at 913-348-1212 or

A Nurse’s Guide to End-of-Life Care

How do you support and provide the best care for dying patients and their families?

Although vital components of patient care, this poignant question is rarely answered with conviction in the healthcare industry. In the new book To Comfort Always: A Nurse’s Guide to End-of-Life Care, Second Edition, Linda Norlander, MS, BSN, RN, helps nurses navigate end-of-life care and communication by serving as a skilled clinician, advocate, and guide.

“All nurses experience death either professionally or personally, so all nurses should have a basic knowledge of how to care for dying patients,” Norlander said.

Published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), this newly revised version provides readers with additional tools and resources and expanded content on chronic illness, dementia, care planning, clinical management, ethics, suffering, and grief to empower nurses to serve as advocates for both the patient and family members.

Norlander is an award-winning author and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow with more than thirty years of experience in nursing. She has dedicated her career to providing better care to patients at the end of their lives, inspired by the poorly managed medical care she experienced when her mother was ill.

“Our population is aging and experiencing more long-term chronic illnesses, including dementia,” Norlander said. “These all are eventually fatal, and we need to be able to care for these patients in a compassionate and holistic way.”

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