The accurate and efficient flow of information is essential in a medical environment. A patient’s call to a hospital or clinic needs to be routed to the right person in a timely fashion. Patient information needs to be transmitted efficiently to medical staff and caregivers too.
Traditional automated call distribution (ACD) systems utilize queuing methods. More specifically, ACD systems send callers to the next available representative on a first-come first-serve basis. However, ACD systems can be cumbersome and inefficient, particularly in a medical setting. With an ACD system, for example, a patient may need to talk with several representatives before they are matched with the right operator, department or caregiver.
Skills Based Routing (SBR) systems, on the other hand, are designed to gather information from an incoming call and assign that call to the representative with the skill-set most suited to handling that caller and his or her situation.
Here are several ways SBR can help medical organizations:
- Caller ID: As much info is gathered at the outset, sometimes even before an operator answers the call. For example, SBR systems can use caller ID (and the patient’s calling history and medical file) to route calls to the agent most likely to be of help.
- Global View: Allow operators to track and accumulate patient information during every stage of the call’s life cycle. As a result, patients will not have to repeat information they provided earlier. Similarly, operators will always have a complete patient profile, including the latest information, when receiving a transferred call. Further, operators will also have a picture of who is available to take the patient’s call.
- Efficient Workflow: Hospitals deal with a wide range of calls every day; emergencies, physician referrals, general inquiries, sales calls and much more. Efficient routing is essential to an organization’s workflow. For example, quickly ascertaining whether callers require language interpretation, immediate attention or administrative personnel can help hospitals allocate resources appropriately.
- Unified Communications: Many hospitals lack a unified or well-functioning call center. Often, hospitals will have multiple call centers for separate departments. In such cases, it is difficult (if not impossible) to transfer patients to the appropriate party, let alone relay vital information about the patient and the reason they are calling to a third party. As a result, antiquated calling systems entail reduced customer satisfaction, misdirected calls, institutional errors and lost time. In a medical setting, mishandled calls can be a matter of life and death. SBR systems, on the other hand, provide caregivers with a unified, efficient and cohesive communications platform.
- Improved Service and Reduced Costs: Studies show that handling a call correctly from the outset improves customer satisfaction while reducing organizational costs. With call routing, skill-specific operators handle the calls that they are most suited to, which means an organization’s resources are deployed most effectively and efficiently. The result is improved patient care, lower operating expenses and reduced legal liability.
SBR systems help integrate patient data seamlessly into the call experience, leading to improved patient outcomes. The technology is especially advantageous during natural disasters or peak activity situations when hospital resources are likely to be stretched thin. In sum, skills based routing helps hospitals and caregivers respond more intelligently and efficiently to their patients.
About Bob Higginbotham
Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at email@example.com