Some patient access managers involve employees in the interviewing process, in order to have a better sense of whether an applicant will be a good fit for the department.
- Arnold Palmer Medical Center’s Peer Panel conducts the first round of interviews.
- Human Resources helped the Peer Panel create a template of behavioral-based questions.
- Patient access applicants at Nemours Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children work alongside emergency department registrars.
An employee satisfaction survey revealed that some patient access employees at Orlando-based Arnold Palmer Medical Center thought that their skills were not a good match for their position.
“That made us question and review our on-boarding process,” says patient access manager Mary Ellen Daley, MHA, CHAM, CRCR. Daley met with her leadership team and decided to involve front-line team members in the interviewing process. “The next step was to involve HR. They provided a class on how to interview,” she says.
Several patient access employees volunteered to serve on the newly created Peer Panel. This participation met the department’s Career Ladder requirement for team members to serve on a committee. “But most just liked the idea of participating and having the chance to help select their teammates,” says Daley. Team members all have worked at least six months in the department, are currently meeting departmental goals, and have no formal counseling on file. Here is how the process works:
- Human Resources (HR) sends patient access a list of applicants.
- Patient access supervisors review the list and forward selected applicants to the Peer Panel.
- The Peer Panel contacts the applicants and schedules appointments for interviews.
- The Peer Panel conducts the first round of interviews. “The panel uses an interview template with behavioral-based questions that they created with the help of HR,” says Daley. [The template used by the department is included with the online issue. For assistance with your online subscription, contact customer service at customer.service@AHCMedia.com or (800) 688-2421.]
- The Peer Panel sends up to three finalists to a patient access supervisor or manager for the final interview and selection.
If applicants lack flexibility in work scheduling, peer interviewers quickly pick up on this fact. “They also pay attention to an applicant’s comfort level with seeing patients in ED rooms and collecting financial responsibility,” says Daley.
Applicants get to know the people that they’ll be working with. “Those hired through the process have said it gave them a very clear picture of what to expect on the job,” says Daley.
LESS GUARDED ANSWERS
Some patient access employees at Wilmington, DE-based Nemours Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children have the opportunity to provide some honest feedback about applicants. Pamela Perakis, CRCR, CHAM, director of revenue cycle quality and development, says, “Including the team in the hiring process has proven to be very successful.”
During formal interviews with patient access management, applicants typically offer well-rehearsed responses. These responses are not the case when they’re speaking with peers. “On some occasions, the answers are opposite to what was shared during the interview with the manager,” says Perakis. (See related story in this issue on how to identify promising patient access applicants.)
The employees conducting the interview care about who’s hired, because they’ll be working alongside that person. “So they generally base their questions on topics that have the greatest impact on the cohesiveness of the team,” says Perakis.
The team meets to prepare a list of questions, which are reviewed and approved by a patient access manager. Here are some questions they usually ask applicants:
- What does “going above and beyond” mean to you?
- What does teamwork look like to you?
- Tell me about the relationships you’ve had with coworkers. How would you describe the best ones? The worst?
- Based on what you know about this position, why do you feel you would be a good candidate? How would you contribute to our success?
- What would be your ideal work environment?
- Give an example of a difficult situation that you’ve encountered with a coworker and how you handled it.
“Once the interview is completed, each member of the team completes an interview evaluation form and submits that to the manager,” says Perakis. (To access more information on this topic, see “Identify problems with role before hiring,” Hospital Access Management, December 2012, at bit.ly/1ZZnrr4.)
APPLICANTS SHADOW STAFF
Applicants for patient access positions in the emergency department (ED) at Nemours Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children are asked to “shadow” employees in the department, after the selection is narrowed down to two or three candidates.
Lead patient access specialist Jessica Brinn, CHAA, finds that this is the time when applicants let their guard down. “They get to see what the position is really like, and we get to see a different side of them on a more personal level,” she says. Employees get to see how the applicant reacts “in the moment” to different situations that come up in the often-chaotic ED setting.
Jessica Broomell, CHAA, a revenue cycle analyst in the hospital’s quality department, participated in peer interviews when she worked as a lead patient access specialist in the ED. “Peer interviewing gave us the opportunity to see if the candidate was truly a good fit for our team,” she says.
One candidate mentioned that she really enjoyed her current job because it allowed her to work independently and that she preferred to work alone. “This was a red flag for me, being that collaboration is such an important part of our department’s success,” recalls Broomell.
Perakis says that peer interviewing and shadowing “are beneficial to both the candidate and the employer. It gives them the opportunity to make informed decisions.”
In some cases, applicants decide on their own that the ED registrar role isn’t right for them. “The reason is usually due to the constant sense of urgency and long shifts,” says Perakis.
- Mary Ellen Daley, MHA, CHAM, CRCR, Manager, Patient Access, Arnold Palmer Medical Center, Orlando. Email: Maryellen.email@example.com.
- Pamela Perakis, CRCR, CHAM, Director, Revenue Cycle Quality and Development, Nemours Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE. Phone: (302) 651-5364. Email: Pamela.Perakis@nemours.org.