How would you handle canceling thousands of appointments then rescheduling them for the future without losing any patients or disrupting their continuity of care? This is the challenge that a major west coast academic medical center faced.
Responding to these complex challenges quickly and with minimal impact on patients was the goal for this large west coast academic medical center's radiology department. For more than a decade, the department has partnered with Stericycle Communication Solutions to handle inbound and outbound appointment scheduling for the group's diagnostic radiology practices across 25 locations. When this new challenge arose, the radiology department once again turned to us to manage its medical call center services.
"Stericycle is a great partner, with the ability to right size staffing, set and meet expectations, and ensure service quality while performing the number one rule for access: answer the call." — Director of Access, Radiology
First Challenge: Ensuring Quality Patient Communication Over the Phone
During the pandemic, the number of inbound calls for this medical center's radiology department increased. The radiology team needed to quickly ensure that the front-desk staff was not overwhelmed with answering calls while simultaneously handling more urgent in-person patient interactions.
"Our staff manning the front desk found it increasingly difficult to maintain the quality of service that we aim for, whether that is answering the phone within 30 seconds or promptly helping patients in-person at the facility," says the Clinical Operations Director
The Solution: Stericycle's Medical Call Center Supports Front Desk Staff
To provide relief for its front desk staff at its independent diagnostic testing facilities, the radiology department turned to our medical call center solution to handle all incoming calls --not just those for appointment scheduling.
We not only received all incoming calls but handled most of them as well. This included patient needs and questions that the front desk staff previously handled, such as giving directions, transferring calls to the appropriate staff, providing hours of operation, and more.
Second Challenge: Postponing Appointments
When the pandemic began, the medical center faced the same situation most other healthcare organizations were confronting across the country—postponing non-critical or routine care. However, the radiology department knew that patient safety must come first and decided to put scheduled screenings on hold for several months.
"With COVID, we had to make some quick decisions," says the Clinical Operations Director. "Once we decided to postpone screenings, we needed to swiftly identify and contact our affected patient population."
The Solution: Stericycle's Medical Call Center Rescheduled Appointments
The medical center's leadership turned to us for help to communicate with patients about postponing their appointments. Utilizing our Health & Wellness Campaigns, we were able to quickly notify patients that their radiology appointments were going to be postponed. To retain revenue and maintain patient care, the campaign also included plans to reschedule appointments as soon as it was safe to do so.
Within two and a half months, the radiology clinics started to safely reopen for screenings. Our medical call center agents then began making outbound calls to reschedule those patients from the initial outreach. To learn more about how the outbound call campaign successfully rescheduled appointments, retained patients, and relieved staff burden, download our case study: A Leading Medical Academic Center.