Never-ending changes for processes, requirements, and regulations mean a top challenge for revenue cycle leaders is how to get it all out. “We were faced with the challenge of communicating information to our team in a timely and consistent manner,” says Lakeshia Lewis, manager of patient access services at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.
Two approaches have worked wonders for the department:
• Employees listen to “in the know” calls. Everyone dials into a conference line to hear a five-minute “need to know” rundown from leaders. The calls happen twice a week: Monday afternoons and Friday mornings.
“In the beginning of the week, we share focus items,” Lewis shares. Since Monday mornings are very hectic, the call is scheduled for afternoons. Recently, leaders encouraged staff to increase kiosk use in a particular clinic.
“On Friday’s calls, we celebrate our ‘wins’ for the week,” Lewis says. High kiosk use percentages; awards for team members, the department, or the organization; and good patient satisfaction scores are highlighted.
Calls are recorded and emailed to the team so they can listen when there is free time. “This keeps team members in the know without interrupting registration of our patients,” Lewis explains. Two hot button items covered on the calls are: the need to keep paper forms on hand to be ready for scheduled system downtime and changes on payers’ in-network participation status.
The calls are especially significant for evening shift employees. “They feel included about activities and updates,” Lewis adds.
Patient access leaders also host “live broadcasting” from their laptops. This is how employees of the month and contest winners are announced. “We record the interactions, and share with the team to watch at their convenience,” Lewis says. Employees enjoy cheering for those in their departments, boosting morale. “The team gets so excited,” Lewis notes. “It promotes friendly competition as well.”
• Employees use a “word on the curb” suggestion box to convey anonymous comments. “We ask that the information is typed and does not include any identifying factors,” Lewis explains. Since no one gives their name or department, everyone feels comfortable offering no-holds-barred feedback. Leaders check the box daily and review all suggestions. They formulate responses, posted on a centrally located board for everyone to see. Employees offer feedback on the dress code, lunch schedules, and call-out policy. No matter the suggestion, it gets a response. “This increases the morale of the team, as they feel their voices are heard,” Lewis adds.
One employee suggested offering identical activities for day and night shifts so no one is left out. Leaders committed to making this change. Recently, patient access management cooked a chicken and waffle dinner for the day shift. “We had some leaders come in for the evening shift to do the same,” Lewis says. “They loved it."