By Tina Minnick and Roger Brooksbank, MD, FACEP

To achieve business goals, physician practices must focus on services that provide value and identify improvements that enhance quality while driving down cost – all while maximizing the patient experience through quality outcomes and high-touch experiences.

These challenges raise an important question: How can physicians do more with fewer resources when serving their patients?  For many physician groups, the solutions offered by medical call centers may be the answer.  Patient contact programs orchestrated through a medical call center are a valuable extension of patient satisfaction efforts, and they also enhance patient care, quality outcomes, and risk-management measures.

Physician after-hours call services aid in the recruitment and retention of physician talent in today’s difficult environment.  High demand and low supply have created the need to offer additional benefits in order to meet recruitment goals.  Using an after-hours call service provides peace of mind and improves quality of life for physicians.  During evenings and weekends, patient calls can be routed to nurses who triage calls and document the information.  The information is then shared with the physician practice for EMR entry.  A medical call center’s consistent execution of algorithm-based guidelines, adherence to quality standards, and advice record documentation of after-hours calls may also reduce risk exposure for physicians.

Additional benefits of after-hours call services include:

  • Increased patient satisfaction
  • 24/7/365 coverage
  • Early intervention and access to the appropriate level of care
  • Improved patient health through follow-up and education

Recent discussions surrounding healthcare reform have resulted in healthcare organizations being more proactive with patient care, patient safety, revenue growth, and reimbursement strategies related to quality outcomes and the patient experience.  Forward-thinking organizations are not only seeking to understand the relationship between patient communication and reform, they are forging it.

 

Roger Brooksbank, TeamHealth Medical Call Center Leadership, Medical Director

Dr. Roger Brooksbank

Dr. Roger Brooksbank, MD, FACEP, is the Medical Director for TeamHealth Medical Call Center and Mid-Atlantic Emergency Medicine Group President for TeamHealth.

This article was originally published in Medical Call Center News, December 2010.