In our recent webinar, The Changing Role of the Modern Access Center: Transitioning from Transaction to Experience, Sarah Kier, Director of Operations at Emory Healthcare, and Kelli Kessack, Director of Access and Engagement at USF Health described how they’re growing their organizations to expand access to care and deliver the ideal patient experience. During this webinar, they shared their experiences scaling their respective organizations to champion patient access and provider utilization.
Missed the webinar? Here are some key takeaways:
If you’re not sure where to begin, start with data: The first step towards modernizing your access center is taking a hold of the call data at your health system. Our panelists admit, it may be messy at first, but it is essential to invest in technology to understand the types of calls you receive across the system to help make decisions around centralization. In addition to the hard numbers, engage your patients directly to understand their experience gaining access to care— their feedback will likely influence how you prioritize changes.
Recognize and reward to empower employees: If agent engagement is low and turnover is high, maybe it’s time to look at the job descriptions and career paths within your team.
Emory and USF invest heavily in their staff, which initially means taking over the onboarding and QA responsibilities. Today, they prioritize continual career growth, regular raises, and make a point of publicly recognizing of agents who receive positive patient feedback.
When working with physicians, use the word “partnership” - and mean it: Bringing schedule management into the access center is critical to streamline operations, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To get provider buy-in, you must understand what it means to “schedule correctly” with each provider. It’s helpful to set guardrails with clinical leadership, but ultimately, it comes down to individual meetings with your providers. Ask questions about their financial targets and the types of patients they like to see to avoid the feeling of lost autonomy. By following their lead at the beginning, you will ultimately build a process that satisfies everyone.
Champion access metrics within your organization: To create a truly modern access center, it’s important to elevate the presence of your team within the health system. As a lynchpin of the patient experience, your access centers should align its performance metrics with broader organizational goals around patient access, such as schedule utilization or new patient appointments. With your first-hand pulse on patient demand and experience, you are uniquely positioned to identify and communicate access barriers throughout the organization.