Southwest Cancer Center: Reducing Answering Service Errors and Variable Costs in Group Practices With PerfectServe
Southwest Cancer Center (Now: Orlando Health UF Health)
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Southwest Cancer Center, once a single-facility, five-physician group practice specializing in comprehensive cancer treatment, is now part of the Orlando Health UF Health joint venture, a premier cancer treatment facility that provides exceptional care to more than 80,000 patients. The 10-story comprehensive multidisciplinary cancer center hosts 60 private patient beds and contains all ambulatory and additional services required for cancer care, from diagnosis through all phases of treatment and follow-up.
Southwest Cancer Center’s patients frequently needed to communicate with the office after hours, but the costly live answering service was prone to making mistakes that interrupted critical patient-to-provider communication.
Often, urgent messages were delayed, routine messages were unnecessarily given high priority, and some messages were simply lost. After five years of struggling to work with their live answering service, the team at Southwest Cancer Center—including the providers and the practice manager—were ready for a change.
Southwest Cancer Center decided to replace the traditional answering service with PerfectServe’s Answering Service solution to take advantage of its sophisticated call routing capabilities. The practice implemented PerfectServe’s fully automated solution to ensure that all patient calls were routed to the appropriate on-call provider every time. PerfectServe would also ensure that nonurgent messages were held until the next morning to minimize unnecessary interruptions for providers.
Southwest Cancer Center gave PerfectServe provider names, contact information, personal contact preferences, and schedules. From there, the PerfectServe team built a custom set of routing rules for patient messages that incorporated each provider’s preferred contact method.
Each month, Southwest Cancer Center’s practice manager entered the call schedule into PerfectServe with a few clicks, and any edits to the schedule immediately updated the call routing algorithm. Rather than relying on a live call center representative to determine urgency and decipher the call schedule to see which provider should receive each message, PerfectServe’s Answering Service solution recorded patient messages and initiated a series of automated prompts to direct each caller to the appropriate provider.
PerfectServe helped improve both provider satisfaction and patient experience at Southwest Cancer Center. Because patient messages were being delivered with appropriate escalation to the correct providers, patient complaints declined. Providers started receiving patient messages on their smartphones through the PerfectServe app, with nonurgent messages held until working hours.
The PerfectServe app allowed providers to mask their personal phone numbers to protect their privacy while returning urgent patient calls. Additionally, PerfectServe’s fixed-rate pricing without hidden fees saved Southwest Cancer Center $1,100 per month, totaling more than $13,000 per year.
Organizations can improve both patient and provider experience while removing variable cost by streamlining outdated answering services. Automating the answering service with intelligent routing and escalation capabilities is key to eliminating errors like missed critical patient messages.