Advanced Home Care
Advanced Home Care (AHC) is a not-for-profit, hospital-affiliated company that offers full-service Healthcare to patients in their own homes. It services more than 30,000 patients daily from 30 branch locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. AHC is the largest Medicare/Medicaid certified home care organization in the area. Three Contact Centers in High Point, NC; Charlotte, NC; and Kingsport, TN served customers and field sales teams via referral processing, operation and use of equipment and products, delivery tracking, and account management. Each Contact Center operated separately, serving the needs of customers within the local dialing area. AHC leaders were concerned about the effectiveness and overall direction of the Contact Center function. They sought to examine the Customer Support/Call Center operation and provide recommendations to convert the function into a more useful and valuable asset. The goal was to more completely and fully support AHC sales and service goals for both the short- and the long-term. PowerHouse was engaged to (1) validate AHC vision, values, and business drivers; (2) assess the current state of the Call Center(s) related to overall operations, technology, and processes; (3) identify gaps between the current and desired future state of Call Center activities; and (4) identify areas for enhancement, optimization, and alignment to AHC’s strategic initiatives. Our consultants set forth solutions related to a new service model and enhancement of the patient referral process. PowerHouse also offered recommendations related to technology, workforce management, management practices, performance metrics and management, and training.
Bassett Healthcare Network
The Bassett Healthcare Network is an integrated Healthcare system that provides care and services to people living in an eight-county region covering 5,600 square miles in upstate New York. The organization includes six corporately-affiliated hospitals as well as skilled nursing facilities, community and school-based health centers, and health partners in related fields. The Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, NY features a teaching hospital associated with the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and is a nationally recognized leader and innovator in the field of rural medicine. Bassett’s management team, striving to provide improved Customer Service and increased patient satisfaction, created and integrated a Centralized Scheduling Group within the existing Operator Services to form the Bassett Call Center. ACD queues and an intelligent attendant console system in use in the Call Center were deployed to small end-user groups in targeted departments to obtain statistical data and drive cross-functional workflow processes. Despite efficiencies anticipated from these efforts, service levels remained low, call abandonment rates remained high, and patient complaints held steady. Bassett retained PowerHouse to assist with an in-depth review and assessment of call handling processes throughout the organization to identify potential call flow efficiencies and design enhancements. PowerHouse embedded one of its consultants in the Bassett organization to lead the call handling efforts and serve as Interim Call Center Director. Process and technological barriers to call handling in the clinical departments were identified and removed, resulting in more direct routing of calls to the staff best equipped to handle them.
BayCare Health System – Assessment
BayCare Health System is a leading community-based health system in the Tampa Bay area. It consists of a network of 14 not-for-profit hospitals, outpatient facilities, and Imaging, Lab, Behavioral Health, and Home Healthcare services. With more than 280 locations throughout the Tampa Bay area, BayCare is the second largest health system in Florida and connects patients to a complete range of preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services for all Healthcare needs. PowerHouse was engaged to conduct a large-scale assessment of Patient Access Contact Centers across the BayCare footprint that included Scheduling Services, Billing, Switchboards, Physician Referral, and Marketing Contact Centers. The goal was to provide BayCare with a path to leveraging its newly gained 1-800-BAYCARE toll free number as well as set forth prudent and innovative recommendations to improve the Patient Experience and gain synergies and efficiencies across BayCare customer contact points. PowerHouse convened a Strategic Planning Session with BayCare senior business executives. The purpose was to validate key strategic elements and confirm the role of the Contact Centers in facilitating a stellar Patient and Customer Experience. Subsequently, we visited and assessed 21 BayCare customer-facing departments in western Florida. Our consultants analyzed and documented performance within each site including organizational model, technology, key processes, management practices, and operational practices. The assessment provided a set of recommendations centered on stabilizing current Contact Center operations via implementation of standardized management practices, efficient use of new and redesigned technologies, and a scalable, cross-Center “shared services” management model. PowerHouse was subsequently retained to implement our recommendations for an optimized and more efficient Patient Experience.
BayCare Health System – Implementation
In an initial engagement with BayCare Health System, PowerHouse conducted a system-wide assessment of Patient Access across 21 BayCare Contact Centers. PowerHouse also collaborated with BayCare executives to delineate and define the elements of the Customer Experience that were central to the BayCare Brand. These were documented and depicted in a PowerHouse Stra-Tactical map that provided a path to ushering in a new Customer Experience across its many Contact Centers. The PowerHouse consulting team spent 18 months working arduously to ensure that the Contact Centers were aligned to BayCare business goals and able to support 1-800-BAYCARE. We worked across and within Contact Centers to upgrade and optimize Contact Center operations via a series of training and change activities to transform management practices. Many of the process enhancements and efficiency gains were also supported by the introduction of smart Contact Center management technologies. Key accomplishments included creation of Contact Center Governance Board and a cross-functional Contact Center Management Association (CCMA); upgrade of the Contact Center routing platform; a streamlined knowledge management system; acquisition and implementation of new WFM and Quality systems; standardization of workforce management (WFM) across all Contact Centers; and training, frontline to senior management, of new Quality practices. BayCare was able to transform the Customer Experience, elevate Brand messaging, improve operational efficiencies, and align Contact Center operations with business growth and Population Health objectives. A new management structure was implemented to ensure continuation of the remarkable achievements.
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) is a world-renowned research and academic medical institution. CCF sought to accommodate its continued growth while providing “world-class” service at reasonable cost. PowerHouse conducted an Operational Assessment at the Telephone Operations Call Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The assessment included a focused analysis of the hardware, software, applications, utilities, environment, and procedures currently utilized within the Call Center. PowerHouse recommended both short- and long-term solutions related to technology, operations, policy, performance measures, and management.
Cooper University Health Care
The mission of Cooper University Health Care is “to serve, to heal, and to educate” and it has been a leading health system in South Jersey since 1887. Cooper operates an academic, specialist care hospital; a leading cancer center; a children’s hospital; three urgent care centers; and more than 100 outpatient offices throughout South Jersey and Pennsylvania. Cooper continues to grow in communities across the South Jersey region and employs 6,500 individuals, including more than 1,250 nurses and 750 physicians in 75+ specialties. The Cooper Access Center provides for centralized scheduling, referral services, and informational support for such areas as Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Orthopaedics, Cardiology, and OB/GYN. As part of an Access Center Transformation project, leadership planned for several initiatives within the Access Center to optimize operations and intra-/inter-department processes to offer customers and patients easier first-time access to Cooper services. In part, the project sought to identify soft skill competencies and training needs of frontline Patient Access Service Specialists in order to create a scalable, sustainable and standardized Customer Experience Training Program. Cooper business leaders reached out to PowerHouse to identify requisite human competencies and to design custom training that would enhance dialogue with customers and positively reflect the brand of the organization. PowerHouse collaborated onsite with Cooper business leaders and Access Center management to identify desired human qualities, attitudes, and behaviors; brand elements specific to Cooper; and overall phone etiquette and demeanor. We facilitated a focused training design session with designated staff to identify program goals, objectives, and desired outcomes; high-level content and topics; program structure, modules, and duration; training approaches, methods, media, and scenarios; and a branded program theme. Findings and recommendations were documented within a Summary Report and Training Design Blueprint. At the client’s request, PowerHouse also supported the design and development of “Specialty Snapshots” and other job support tools by providing sample formats and branded templates. We also offered recommendations for operational optimization related to Contact Center organizational structure, hiring and interviewing, development/automation of on-the-job support tools, quality management, and performance measures.
MedStar Health – Assessment
MedStar Health (MedStar) is the largest Healthcare provider in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. region. MedStar’s nine hospitals, Health Research Institute, and 20 health-related organizations are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. MedStar Health recognized the importance of Service Excellence and creating the MedStar Experience at every initial point of contact with its patients and customers. Its Call Centers were identified as an area of great potential for enhancing the Patient Experience and driving business to MedStar Health entities. The catalyst was MedStar’s strategic project, Access 2020. Its goal was to delight patients and customers throughout the MedStar Health System by facilitating access to all information and services via streamlined processes, quick responses, and sincere and caring professionals for all customer contact channels. PowerHouse was selected to assist MedStar to standardize protocols and processes across Call Center functions to reflect best-in-class Healthcare services and make the communication experience easy for all. Our consultants, expert in the Healthcare arena, conducted a Call Center Assessment to analyze and document current Contact Center performance across the Health System, including key processes, technology, and operational practices. We also examined processes and operational practices in the key areas set forth by MedStar Health. These included Appointment Scheduling, Patient Registration, Insurance Verification, Information/Marketing, Operator Service, Patient Complaint Management, and Referring Physician Access to MedStar Health Services. Upon completion of the assessment, PowerHouse performed a gap analysis between the current state and that envisioned by MedStar Health’s business leaders. We made recommendations related to Contact Center performance, technology, work processes, staffing and skill sets, reporting relationships, and environmental and cultural factors. Our consultants partnered with MedStar to develop a comprehensive three-year plan for consolidating the Call Center operations, thus streamlining processes, improving service and efficiency, and ultimately enhancing the Patient Experience.
MedStar Health – Centralized Scheduling
In a follow-on project for MedStar, PowerHouse was engaged to support the design and implementation of a Centralized Scheduling function within MedStar Care Connection (MCC) located in White Marsh. MedStar’s strategic project, Access 2020, was the business catalyst for the project. The mission of Access 2020, in part, was to offer a single and shared vision of the Customer Experience; elevate Contact Center standards to a state of the art level; and provide for a centralized technology engine and infrastructure. PowerHouse played a leadership role in the centralization of appointment scheduling for more than 80 Baltimore Orthopaedic specialists and Sport Medicine physicians in the Baltimore and Washington, DC area and for several of MedStar’s newly built Ambulatory Centers. Our consultants collaborated with MCC business leaders, Contact Center managers, and medical department administrators (as appropriate) for completion of key activities within several focus areas. These included facilities design, processes and protocols, network and system design, contact routing and call flows, staffing and workforce management, performance and quality, recruiting and hiring, and custom new-hire learning programs. MCC’s state of the art Centralized Scheduling Contact Center offers an environment that transforms the experience of patients and their families as they access MedStar Healthcare services. The Center provides a unified vision of MedStar’s Patient and Customer Experience, a single point of contact, and a simpler pathway to MedStar services, programs, and information. PowerHouse continues to support MedStar Care Connection as additional orthopaedic practices and Ambulatory Care facilities migrate to the Centralized Scheduling Contact Center. We also manage MCC’s staffing, forecasting, and workforce management (WFM) activities.
New York University Langone Hospitals
New York University Langone Hospitals (NYULH) is a premier academic medical center located in New York City. NYULH was in the midst of a multi-year, multi-building Campus Transformation project that involves the construction of a new clinical care pavilion, necessitating the demolition of an existing building housing the institution’s main enterprise telecommunications platform. PowerHouse was engaged to assist in the development of a multi-year Strategic Telecommunications Plan that fully integrates with the Campus Transformation project. The project included planning the migration of 15,000 extensions from the current environment of multiple Siemens, Cisco, and Nortel PBX’s and multiple disparate Call Center platforms to a single enterprise-wide Voice over IP telecommunications platform and a single Call Center platform. As part of this project, PowerHouse consultants physically inventoried and electronically documented more than 200 wiring closets and technology rooms. Work on this project began in August 2009. Since that time, our enterprise-wide telephony strategy and subsequent multi-year tactical plan for phased infrastructure improvements were approved by the institution’s Executive Board. PowerHouse also developed systems and applications specifications and managed an extensive systems procurement process through to successful contract negotiations with the selected vendor. We were also asked to conduct a survey to ascertain the level of adoption and comfort with IP Telephony among other large health system organizations. PowerHouse reached out to large medical centers, most with more than 14,000 lines; twenty-two surveys were completed. The information yielded from the survey was critical in that NYULH was able to gain valuable information that would ultimately impact the success of future system acquisition and implementation. PowerHouse continues to provide on-going project management assistance to NYULH for the enterprise-wide implementation of new telecommunications platforms.
Penn Highlands DuBois
Penn Highlands DuBois, the largest of the four Penn Highlands Healthcare (PHH) hospitals, offers residents of west central Pennsylvania a rare combination of technologically advanced Healthcare in a warm and friendly environment. The Hospital is one of the leading Health Centers of its kind in the commonwealth; it is an oasis of clinical and technical excellence with a strong focus on Patient-centered care. The organization developed a centralized Call Center to handle a variety of contacts for several PHH-employed physician practices. The focus was on scheduling, cancelling, and re-scheduling calls; prescription refill calls; and general information calls. Calls were routed to the Call Center from a variety of sources, including the Console Attendant position(s). The operation began to suffer from a number of issues; turnover was abnormally high, call volumes spiked, and hold times and abandons increased. Call volumes increased as a result of the abandons, putting an even greater amount of stress on Call Center staff. Executive leadership sought it beneficial to engage an industry expert to guide the Call Center through the process of identifying the root causes of deteriorating performance and to recommend performance improvements. PowerHouse completed an assessment of the business requirements, contact types, call handling processes, and overall workflow of the Call Center. Our consultants elicited from leadership the vision and desired end state for the Call Center. PowerHouse provided a strategic and tactical set of recommendations to restore Call Center performance to the desired levels of excellence. As a result of the project, Penn Highlands optimized their Cisco UCCX workflows and agent skill sets.
Providence VA Medical Center
The Providence VA Medical Center provides Healthcare services to U.S. veterans throughout Rhode Island and Eastern Massachusetts. The VA Medical Center defined an initiative to improve telephone access for veterans seeking to schedule appointments, check on benefits eligibility, renew prescriptions, and reach surgical and emergency services at the Medical Center. PowerHouse was engaged to support the VA Medical Center in this initiative. Our consultants met with each key hospital practice area and gathered inventories of existing telecommunications platforms. We analyzed the data gathered and presented a succinct set of achievable recommendations, both process and technology, to improve patient access and the overall Veteran Experience at the Medical Center. Among the recommendations provided were improvements in call routing, centralized Call Center answering, and IVR technologies.
Seattle Children’s Hospital
Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional, and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. The hospital is consistently ranked among the nation’s best children’s hospitals due to its nursing excellence and association with the University of Washington School of Medicine. Seattle Children’s Hospital realized that its aging communications telephony infrastructure was unable to support the growing Patient Scheduling Call Center. A new Cisco IP Telephony system was deployed and PowerHouse was engaged to complete an assessment of Contact Center performance in conjunction with the system. Our consultants analyzed the key processes, technology, and operational practices that were in place and identified the Contact Center’s business and technology requirements associated with the upgraded system. The engagement resulted in both a short- and long-term recommendation plan for implementing the systems and processes needed for a high volume, high complexity scheduling system.
Seattle Children’s Hospital
PowerHouse continued its relationship with Seattle Children’s Hospital in an engagement to support the Hospital’s Five-year Strategic Plan initiative. The plan sought to lay out the Hospital’s future path within a climate of explosive growth and radically changing processes and focus in the Healthcare industry. A desired output of the initiative was scalable and sustainable Contact Center functionality that could play a central role in improving patient and provider access, creating a seamless Patient Experience across the many disciplines, and improving organizational efficiencies. The broad array of clinical care offered among numerous specialties spread across multiple locations had resulted in many patient touch points, call types, varying requirements, and degrees of complexity. PowerHouse was selected to assist Seattle Children’s Hospital to develop a Contact Center strategy to serve the Hospital and affiliated medical clinics while adhering to concepts related to Population Health, Accountable Care Organizations, Patient Centered Medical Homes, and other Healthcare programs. Our consultants conducted a Contact Center Strategy Assessment that examined and documented the call processing environment of several Call Centers and telephone answering functions at selected locations across Seattle Children’s Hospital. We worked with leadership to shape the strategy; determine organizational, operational, and technology readiness; and examine the appropriateness of consolidation for the various Healthcare practice locations and business functions. PowerHouse presented the critical elements of a centralized model and set forth requisite “stabilization” initiatives to assist the Hospital in moving closer its desired end state. Stabilization recommendations focused on organizational structure, technology, management and operational practices, work processes, staffing and workforce management, human capital, and space/environment.
Stamford Health Medical Group – Assessment
Stamford Health Medical Group (SHMG) is an affiliate of Stamford Hospital. SHMG represents specialties covering Pediatric Neurology, General and Breast Surgery, Orthopedics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Primary Care, and beyond. Physicians see patients from throughout lower Fairfield County; they appear regularly on local, regional, and national “Best Doctor” lists and receive consistently high quality rankings by their peers. SHMG has been growing steadily over the past several years with increasing volumes of patient visits and contact, especially by phone. Many specialties were spread across multiple locations, each answering its own calls; the result was varied call types, requirements, and degrees of complexity. The current infrastructure, staffing models, and approach did not align with growth or a demand environment. SHMG business leaders sought to explore new alternatives to this approach. The goal was to evaluate options and requirements with an eye toward potential consolidation and centralization of similar functions in support of the new medical office complex, the Integrated Care Pavilion (ICP). The ICP was designed to meet the Healthcare needs of a growing community and the needs of today’s continuously advancing high-tech medicine. Consolidating calls and contacts previously spread across multiple locations with varied call types, requirements, and degrees of complexity into a single location would require thoughtful analysis of patient needs and careful consideration of the needs of each associated practice or specialty. Executive leadership selected PowerHouse as the industry expert to guide SHMG through the process of evaluating requirements and options for partial or total Contact Center consolidation. SHMG first sought a comprehensive Contact Center Assessment that PowerHouse consultants planned for and conducted. Based on a Strategic Work Session with senior executives, PowerHouse created a Stra-Tactical Map that captured key elements of Stamford Health’s strategic vision. The Map served as a valuable building block for all remaining assessment activities. Our consultants set forth findings and recommendations related to management and operational practices, call flow, technology, human factors, and training. Site Visit Snapshots were created to capture the current state of major SHMG departments visited. This project laid the groundwork for implementation of the Centralized Services Contact Center (CSCC).
Stamford Health Medical Group – Centralized Services Contact Center
Findings and recommendations set forth in the PowerHouse Contact Center Assessment substantiated Stamford Health’s decision to move forward with a consolidation initiative in support of several ICP specialty practices, with more practices to onboard in the future. The Centralized Services Contact Center (CSCC) would be designed to serve as the central point of access for Healthcare patients seeking information, making appointments, requesting prescription refills, etc. PowerHouse was selected to support and guide the implementation of the CSCC. We played a leadership role in all facets of the consolidation initiative, conducting project management activities within several project tracks and creating an Implementation Plan for deploying the new Contact Center. Our consultants focused on processes, policies, and protocols; technology requirements and network connectivity; organizational and operational models, including governance and reporting; management practices and performance; call/contact routing and menus; workforce management and staffing requirements; change management and cross-functional communication; recruitment of Contact Center management; and the design, development, and delivery of a comprehensive new-hire training program for new-hires. The impact of the Central Scheduling Contact Center has been significant. Stamford Health now has a standardized, scalable, and sustainable environment to support the Integrated Care Pavilion and other critical functions. A foundation for growth has been laid by centralizing and standardizing functions and ensuring process and operational efficiencies. The key result is improved access to Stamford Health physicians and services and an enhanced Patient Experience. As well, Stamford Health is better positioned to respond quickly to Population Health, Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), and other health-focused initiatives.