Strategies for a High-Performance Revenue Cycle

Baptist Health South Florida operates a centralized call center, which services not only Baptist Hospital of Miami but also other outpatient diagnostic departments spread throughout the Southeast Florida area. The center schedules approximately 40,000 to 42,000 patients per month and provides diagnostic test results to physician offices.

Despite such volume, the center strives to answer 80 percent of all calls within 20 seconds, with a call abandonment rate of less than 5 percent. Large, highly visible monitors are located throughout the center that continuously track call activity, wait times, and other metrics so that agents and their managers can continuously observe their own, as well as the overall group's performance.

Such real-time feedback helps managers quickly attend to performance aberrations and provide additional support as needed. Transparency of tracking also serves as incentive for agents to reach the same performance levels as high achievers.

In addition, all calls are recorded, with 10 randomly selected calls per agent per month reviewed jointly by a quality analyst and the scheduler for both content and tone. As an incentive for meeting desired measures, agents earn performance points that can be used to "buy" various rewards.

To encourage employee buy-in to its aggressive use of metrics and metric-based goals, Baptist ensures agents have the support they need to succeed. Training processes are designed to provide the necessary foundation of skills and knowledge. This includes exposure to not only information on the scheduling system, scripting, quality standards, and the like, but also courses on medical terminology and human anatomy.

New hires shadow "good" employees-first observing, but eventually transitioning to actually taking calls and scheduling appointments. Notably, new employees also are taken on a site visit to all of the locations for which they are scheduling so they can be familiar with locations, directions, and even equipment at the facilities when speaking with patients.

Use of metric-based goals and processes in a setting seen as rigorous but fair provides a solid base for performance excellence.

Publication Date: Thursday, November 05, 2009