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Essential Metrics for Improving Access Center Experience: Delighting Patients as Healthcare Consumers

Analytics | Patient Experience | Patient Access | Access Center


As health systems pursue strategic initiatives around improving patient experience and expanding access, capturing the right metrics is critical to ensuring their goals are met. Historically, health system access centers have used "call time" data to measure their efficiency and value, attempting to keep patient calls short in order to handle a higher volume of calls. And while this metric may make sense for other consumer industries, a call time KPI is no longer the most important metric to track for health systems. Why? With market competition rising and consumers prioritizing experience, access centers should instead measure how easy it is for a patient to get to the right provider at the right time.

So, how do we begin to track this? Here are 3 metrics to help your access center understand and enhance your access center experience.

First Call Resolution

Did your agent connect the caller to the right services on the first call? Looking at historical call data can help you track the percentage of patient engagements that are completed on the first call as a measure of experience. Because first call resolution is a strong predictor of how satisfied a patient is with your services, it is important to make sure your agents take the time–and have the resources needed–to address all of the patient’s needs on a single call, including appointments, pre-requisites, testing, and patient/provider availability. In some cases, this may mean increasing overall call time.

Call Outcome

What was the outcome of the call? Access centers should also track call outcomes as well as data associated with those outcomes (e.g. was the appointment scheduled? And if not, why?). Collecting this type of granular data can enable a health system to understand whether their provider network meets consumer demand and identify barriers to conversion. With these actionable insights, health systems can take steps to improve patient access and experience, like hiring more providers in a particular area or specialty to better meet demand or offering consumers more convenient care options such as urgent care clinics.

Appointment Appropriateness 

Did the agent match the patient with the right provider at the right location at the right time? To assess visit appropriateness, access centers can review patient interactions to understand if searches take into account key patient clinical or personal needs such as clinical condition or office location. Alternatively, health systems can send surveys to patients or providers to keep a pulse on appointment quality coming out of the access center. Using this feedback, your team can identify opportunities to improve matching in order prevent callers from seeking care elsewhere.

Transitioning to a patient-centric view of access center operational metrics may seem challenging at first, but doing so will pay long-term dividends in today’s patient-as-consumer environment. Taking a data-driven approach to enhancing your access center experience will not only improve resource allocation and access center effectiveness, but also enable your organization to improve acquisition and retention moving forward.

To learn more about how your organization can leverage analytics to power your access and experience initiatives, download our white paper: Six Essential Patient Access Metrics.