How Savannah Neurology Specialists Reinvented Their Medical Answering Service Workflows
Savannah Neurology Specialists
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Savannah Neurology Specialists (SNS) is a dual-location specialty treatment center for various neurological diseases. The private practice works with more than 12 advanced practice providers and physicians in neurology to provide care for the population and surrounding areas of Savannah, Georgia.
SNS initially used a call center and after-hours answering service with live agents that promised short wait times and accurate transmission of information. Though the service met some of the clinic’s initial needs, it didn’t take long for problems to arise. Calls were being routed incorrectly, hold times were excessive, patient information was often repeated and misspelled due to language barriers, and calls for emergency stroke consults were taking far too long. Much of the wait time could be attributed to predetermined scripts that agents—who were not medically trained—were required to follow word for word, even if the nature of the call made a significant portion of the questions irrelevant.
SNS knew that excessive wait times and incorrectly transcribed information could lead to elevated risk for patients and unnecessary frustration for providers trying to reach SNS. Furthermore, the practice was contracted with a number of smaller hospitals at the time, and on-call providers were often being contacted through their personal cell numbers since significant delays with the answering service were so common. Unsurprisingly, this was a major source of dissatisfaction for providers, especially if they were contacted in error when they weren’t on call.
SNS needed a technology solution that ensured the timely and accurate transmission of patient information. Ideally, the solution wouldn’t rely on live agents rigidly following standardized scripts for communication, and it was equally important to protect their providers by keeping their contact information private. The solution needed to augment patient outcomes, provide a better experience for patients calling the clinic during or after hours, allow for better message routing and control, and prioritize provider privacy—all at a better price point for the services offered.
SNS implemented PerfectServe’s Practice Communication solution—with its automated answering service functionality—to route incoming calls and messages to the correct nurse and/or provider. Each provider now has access to PerfectServe’s mobile app, which allows them to send and receive secure messages on their phones. These messages are delivered to them via text, and they can use onetouch dialing to return calls immediately. As a bonus, PerfectServe also masks each provider’s personal phone number, so when a provider calls a patient, the main office number will appear on their caller ID. When calls are received after the clinic is closed, PerfectServe’s voice-to-text functionality can transcribe patient messages and deliver them according to the clinic’s preferences, whether that’s sending them to an on-call provider or holding them until the next morning if they’re not urgent. Calls and messages are easily forwarded to and from fellow providers and care team members inside the PerfectServe app.
By implementing PerfectServe’s Practice Communication solution, SNS has given providers more control over how and when they’re contacted, more confidence in the accuracy of information they receive, and more privacy when interacting with patients. The solution also provides a much cleaner call experience for patients and referring providers. Major areas of improvement include:
Enhanced Communication Workflows
- Automated communication workflows make calls easier to handle
- Providers can easily forward information and communicate with colleagues inside the PerfectServe mobile app
- With one-touch dialing and number masking, providers can instantly return calls and messages without exposing their personal number
- Non-urgent calls are routed to appropriate staff, saving provider time and enhancing the patient experience
More Accurate Information
- Call forwarding accurately moves information inside of the mobile app
- After-hours messages are transcribed and held for review
- Voice-to-text transcription means providers get unfiltered communication versus a message that has been passed along by an agent who may not have perfectly summarized a patient’s inquiry
Increased Provider Confidence
- Providers can use the PerfectServe mobile app on their own smartphone
- Patient information is automatically loaded into messages, so providers have immediate access to accurate patient data without having to look it up and type it out by hand
Improved Patient Calling Experience
- Patients no longer have to sit through an operator’s call script
- Patient calls are routed based on urgency (i.e., asking their provider a time-sensitive question versus making a routine appointment)
- By standardizing communication workflows with technology, patients can now expect the same efficient experience every time they call the clinic
Due to excessive wait times and other factors that negatively impacted the transmission of critical patient information, Savannah Neurology Specialists needed a more efficient answering service solution that didn’t rely on the variable ability of live agents. Patients and providers alike frequently had to repeat information due to language barriers, and agents were not allowed to deviate from their predetermined scripts, which often made calls much longer than necessary. Information was often misspelled, and things like stroke consult requests took far too long. Because they made direct callbacks to patients in many instances, providers were also exposing their personal contact information, and when calls came in after hours, the process of transcribing information and getting it to the right provider was challenging at best.
After implementing PerfectServe’s Practice Communication solution, the specialty clinic saw faster call transfers, a dramatic increase in the accuracy of information being transcribed and shared, and enhanced communication workflows throughout the practice. By bringing everyone together on one advanced, reliable, and easily accessible communication platform, Savannah Neurology Specialists has given providers more confidence in the information they send and receive while significantly improving the way patients interact with their practice.