At Sarasota (FL) Memorial Hospital, all inbound and outbound calls are recorded for pre-arrival services, registration areas, and patient financial services.

“We need to record all of our calls, to provide us with the best sample size for our data analysis,” says Alexander Wemyss, MBA, CHAA, supervisor of customer service.

As part of an ongoing quality improvement (QI) initiative, patient access leaders review and score a random sampling of the thousands of calls that are recorded each day. “The recorded calls help de-escalate patient concerns, correct miskeyed demographic or payment information, and monitor employee performance through scorecard benchmarking,” says Wemyss.

Personalized scorecards, developed with The White Stone Group in Knoxville, TN, are used to perform the monthly audits.

“The scorecards allow us to quantify qualitative factors, in an effort to track the trending and statistical significance of our results,” says Wemyss. The same number of recordings are randomly retrieved and reviewed for each employee. This process ensures an adequate sample size is obtained.

“If there is a particular conversation that is called into question by a patient, the departmental leadership team will convene to review the recording,” says Wemyss. “This is done through an audit process that is maintained outside of the QI initiatives.”

Supervisors and managers are responsible for reviewing calls; however, employees can and do listen to their own recordings throughout the day. If an employee entered an incorrect insurance policy number, for example, he or she can listen to the call and correct it. “The audio and transcript can also be exported, if the information is needed to assist in an investigation,” says Wemyss.

At Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC, patient access managers listen to 10-15 calls for each scheduler every month. Patient access managers listen for these things:

• that all the required information was obtained from the patient;

• that the right procedure was scheduled according to what the provider’s office requested;

• that any preparation guidelines associated with the procedure are read back to the patient;

• that the scheduler used a pleasant tone of voice.

Lee Anna Mull, manager of patient access, says that if the call reveals that the employee was argumentative, rude, or dismissive, “we play the call back for the scheduler and discuss how it could have been dealt with differently. If it doesn’t get better, we take corrective action.”