Build, Develop and Achieve with Healthcare Boot Camps


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Co-authored by Aspect and Healthcare Intelligence

Managing a staff and their performance is tough. Managing the same staff in a healthcare contact center is tough and complex. Your healthcare system’s contact center staff is often your patient’s’ primary touch point. Yet somewhere along the line, they became guardians of handle times and hold times, rather than of the relationship between patients and providers. To have a successful staff that fosters the patient-provider relationship, your managers need the right training – better known as the Healthcare Call Center Management Boot Camp.

This Boot Camp explores the intricate world of care coordination, triple aim compliance, and call center service levels and personnel engagement. Enable your managers to harness the synergy that arises from linking soft skills, technical skills, and a deep commitment to key performance indicators.

This Boot Camp has 7 components that are key determinants in successfully managing a healthcare contact center:

1. Contact Center Operations

The contact center world is very different from clinical operations.  Your staff is expected to perform at a high level of quality while maintaining a low abandonment rate.  The contact center will flourish because you have the capability to standardize workflows and cross train your workforce. As a healthcare contact center manager, you must simultaneously appreciate clinical operations and have the creativity to meet the needs of varying disease lines without creating multiple workflows that prohibit cross training.

2. Workforce and Absence Management

Staffing and trending is a pivotal part of contact center management. Understanding the ebbs and flows of call volumes, seasonal trends along with behavior patterns of specific patient demographics allow your managers to construct accurate staffing plans. Accuracy in forecasting and shrinkage management goes a long way to ensure that your staff has work-life balance.  When your staff has a level, consistent workload and the ability to take time off, they are less likely to burnout and leave their position. When attrition does occur, recruitment of appropriate candidates is critical to ensure that 90% of your positions are filled at all times. Strong relationships with recruiters will make this process easier to manage.

3. Interval and Intraday Reporting

Contact center staffing is very dynamic and varies greatly from one 15 minute interval to the next.  You must be adept at using trends to forecast staffing needs by 15 minute intervals to give your managers the opportunity to shift staff to cross-cover during peaks on a specific service, utilize an overflow service to take additional calls, employ members of an internal float pool, or, activate a queue optimizer to level call volumes.  These strategies ensure that no patient is left hanging on the line during a time that may be critical to their personal well-being.

4. Quality Assurance and Quality Management

Soft skills are just as important as technical accuracy in a healthcare organization.  Your training program ensures that your management staff has the skill set to determine key communication points during the call to capture insurance information, patient demographics and potentially complaints while maintaining a professional and empathetic tone.  Creating a quality assurance program allows your managers to educate their staff on proper techniques for extracting valuable pieces of information while assuring patients or the referring providers.  This process ensures that the agents project the image and vision of the healthcare organization through the telephone.  Quality Management takes quality assurance to the next level of performance.  It establishes targets and expectations that increase incrementally as the staff becomes more comfortable with quality assurance touch points. Your managers will need to simultaneously be teachers, coaches and motivators to drive their staff to the next level of performance.  Management through consistency, honestly and understanding will be critical to the ongoing success of the quality management portion of the Boot Camp.

5. Disease Management Discussions

Agents and managers must have empathy for the struggles that patients go through to combat their illness. Discussions with caregivers can open the agent and the management’s eyes to crucial details surrounding the patients’ mood, questions and needs.  These meetings allow members of the clinical team and staff to connect and form a bond. Healthy dialogue creates mutual understanding of the clinic’s model of operation along with the contact center’s tools and patient support techniques.

6. Agent Performance Dashboard

Your managers must ensure that your staff understands that their individual performance has a tremendous impact the healthcare contact center’s performance. Weekly meetings are critical to discuss performance within service levels, accuracy within tasks, soft skills and quality assurance.  Managing an employee’s expectations and linking their performance and behavior to the vision of the organization promotes buy in, decreases role ambiguity, and promotes consistency and trust.  Communication about difficult topics becomes routine and ensures that fairness and equality are prevalent.

7. Employee Engagement and Activities

Taking call after call can be monotonous. To relieve some of the tedium and stress, you need to remember to have some fun during the work day!  Empower your staff to plan small diversions on a weekly basis. Your managers should promote humor, education, communication and team building.  These are basic needs that transform your contact center from a tiring workplace to a nurturing environment.  Assisting critical and terminal patients can take a toll on morale; your staff must receive positive reinforcement, rewards and recognition for their acts of valor, kindness, compassion and advocacy.  Promoting engagement allows your managers to encourage their staff to have a passion and love for their jobs and the patients they serve.

Now that you have had a glimpse of our Boot Camp, are you ready to get started? Find out how Aspect can help! The right training for your managers will ensure that your patients, caregivers and employees are pleased with their outcomes.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kathleen Schroeder
Kathleen Schroeder, Senior Product Marketing Specialist, has over 25 years' experience representing the voice of the customer through global event presentations, webinars and integrated multi-national campaigns for numerous verticals ranging from education to transportation and tourism to telecommunications. Kathleen creates customer-facing programs and content to bring the value of next generation customer contact solutions to various market segments.


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