In this second blog of the series, we continue to look at simple but powerful concepts hospitals and trusts can adopt to improve patient experience whilst reducing costs. Previously in part one we suggested patient self-service and the universal queue as methods of reducing the strain on your operators whilst improving the way in which your patients contact you.
In this blog, we will cover two additional areas; effectively reducing costly Did Not Attend rates (DNAs) and a convenient update for switchboard automation.
DNA rates and how to reduce them – National press confirms that trusts agree every missed appointment is a waste of time and resource, leading to longer waiting times. The national average for DNA rates stands at 7.3% or 6.8 million appointments per year. DNAs increase waiting times for other patients, reducing staff productivity and affecting the care offered to patients who need it most.
Using an innovative reminder and rebooking appointment management system revolutionises booking, changing and reutilising appointment slots. University of North Staffordshire NHS Trust saved over £1million in 12 months using appointment reminders, watch the video to see how.
The system reminds patients of upcoming appointments and checks their attendance, through automated calls, with any cancellations moved through to the reutilisation section of the solution.
As a result, hospital staff no longer need to spend precious time calling patients to confirm and rebook patient appointment slots as patients can self-serve and adapt their appointments as their requirements change.
When an appointment slot becomes available, the system searches the waiting lists for suitable patients to take the space. It then contacts each patient on the list in turn, via automation and offers the slot, with the first patient to accept taking the appointment.
This rapid slot reutilisation process occurs in minutes with minimal staff input, ensuring a hospital is doing all it can to reduce the DNA rate for the benefit of patients and the hospital. For more information on the appointment management process, download the Appointment Management Cycle brochure.
Switchboard automation – Large hospitals and trusts receive thousands of calls from patients every day, placing a huge strain on operators to answer and transfer these calls before patients become frustrated and abandon the call. Traditional functionality may not have the answers.
Trusts that use advanced speech recognition and call routing technology to automatically answer and transfer calls to the correct person or department, improve their first contact resolution (FCR) rates and reduce the number of abandoned or repeat calls.
Patients are able to leave a voicemail if the contact or department they require is unavailable, allowing the staff member to return the call at their earliest availability, improving the patient experience. The operator system will attempt to find the staff member whatever their location including staff using pagers, thus improving team productivity and facilitating remote working.
Why not consider how the use of a soft console functionality would remove the need to purchase dedicated hardware consoles? The expanded availability of Operator functionality would allow your teams to flexibly adjust shifts and duties to match patient demand.
These best practice tips and those in part one of this blog will help to reduce contact pressure on your hospital and as a result, your patients will be more satisfied with the service they have received, leading to an improved patient experience.