We Live in Exciting Times
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.
Ten years ago, whenever I’d mention medical call centers to people outside the industry, I’d get blank stares, as if I was talking in another language. My have things changed. Now many people know what I’m talking about when I mention healthcare call centers, while the rest usually give a nod of understanding once I give them an example.
Medical call centers will continue to play an important role in the provision of healthcare services and support. And their significance will grow over time to meet increased patient needs, cost-containment pressures, and expectations for improved quality of care. We live in exciting times. This industry is never boring, that much is sure.
As our industry grows, Medical Call Center News will grow with it, too. We plan to provide you with expanded coverage and more content in 2017 and beyond.
To make this possible, a group of leading vendors has given their support to Medical Call Center News. These sponsors—patrons, if you will—provide the means for us to do what we do:
If you’re familiar with these companies, please join us in thanking them. And if you’re not familiar with them, please go to their websites to learn more.
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.
Enhance Your Communication Skills
By Dr. David Thompson
Using verbal communication is known to decrease patient stress, while increasing satisfaction, rates of compliance, and symptom resolution. Consider these steps to enhance your communication effectiveness when talking with patients:
- Slow Down: What you say is familiar to you, but it’s likely new to the patient. Make sure they have the best chance to hear you by talking slower and more deliberately.
- Use Plain Language: Explain things in patient-friendly language. Instead of “chief complaint,” say “reason for calling.”
- Include Visual Aids: Use pictures or drawings to explain concepts. For telehealth encounters, using a diagnostic platform with an “image recommended” prompt may help patients who have trouble describing what their condition is. On the telephone this is hard to do, but not impossible. Paint word pictures or send a follow up email with relevant images or links.
- Explain Important Concepts: Convey the most important concepts, and use repetition to enhance patient recall.
- Teach-Back: Ask patients to repeat your instructions back to you. Better yet have them explain what they need to do.
- Encourage Questions: Create a shame-free environment, enlist family and friends, and promote the Ask-Me-3 (What is my main problem? What do I need to do about the problem? Why is it important for me to do this?)
- Body Language: Physical behaviors like sitting rather than standing can improve communication. Body language also applies when talking over the phone. Sit up straight, smile, and relax your shoulders.
- Keep it Simple: For written communication, use plain language that is appropriate for your patients’ age and culture. Write at, or below, a sixth grade reading level. Use short paragraphs or bulleted lists, type in a large font, and use words with one or two syllables. These are great tips when sending emails to follow up on phone calls.
Follow these eight tips to enhance your communications skills.
David Thompson, MD, serves as CEO and chief medical officer for Health Navigator, Inc.
Healthcare Call Center News
TriageLogic Announces Continuwell
TriageLogic Management and Consulting, LLC, launched Continuwell®, a telehealth product for businesses and organizations to decrease employee healthcare expenses and reduce employee sick days. This service is designed to complement and enhance existing wellness or telemedicine offerings already in place or as a turnkey solution.
You take care of your patients, but who takes care of your staff? When your patients have a medical issue arise, they call your office or triage line to evaluate their symptoms and get professional advice on what steps to take next. Why not extend triage services to your staff by making Continuwell part of your employee benefits package?
Continuwell is a telephone healthcare service with a network of experienced registered nurses and doctors. Continuwell provides 24/7 on demand nurses and doctors to evaluate employees or members and determine appropriate care for their symptoms.
Continuwell differentiates itself with its nurse-first model, where nurses use doctor-written guided protocols to evaluate callers and determine the care needed to resolve their symptoms. Their nurses are able to provide the necessary care without the need of a doctor in three out of four cases, saving the cost of a telehealth doctor visit and making the system affordable for employers and employees.
For more information call 844-258-4325 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Record Revenue Helps Usher in Customer Direct’s 20th Anniversary
Customer Direct—a provider of outsourced contact center services in multiple industries, including healthcare—has entered its twentieth year of operations on the heels of record revenues.
What started in 1997 as an idea to deliver best-in-class, onshore, competitively-priced contact center services, has since grown into one of North America’s leading outsourced contact centers, with facilities in St. Ann and Arnold, Missouri, as well as an extensive work-from-home program. In addition, Customer Direct’s footprint is expected to grow with a significant expansion planned for the first half of 2017.
Based in St. Ann, Customer Direct provides multi-channel, multi-lingual Live Agent reservations, customer care, technical, and back-office operations support to leading companies throughout the U.S., and the world. Industries served include hospitality, publishing, healthcare, IT, retail, and e-commerce.
Spok to Add 60 Employees in Minnesota to Support Accelerated Solution Development
Spok, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Spok Holdings, Inc. announced the company’s expansion of its Minneapolis/St. Paul presence by approximately 45 percent, with the addition of more than sixty employees over the next two years, the majority of which will be added in 2017. As part of Spok’s ongoing capital allocation strategy, which includes making key strategic investments in its product solutions and infrastructure, the company is increasing its team to enhance Spok Care Connect®, a healthcare communications platform that is transforming how hospitals coordinate care.
The newly hired associates will be based in Spok’s Eden Prairie, Minnesota, location. There, they will join the company’s collaborative teams that work with technology to create innovative product solutions. Healthcare organizations around the world rely on Spok to improve clinical communications by delivering information to care teams when and where it matters most to improve patient outcomes. Spok® solutions help hospitals evolve their communications strategy and technology from disparate systems to a single communications platform, which supports clinical workflows and allows for the seamless flow of data among departments.
A Thought For Today
“Would the boy you were be proud of the man you are?” -Laurence J. Peter