CASE STUDY – IMPROVING STAFF EFFICIENCY AND CUTTING CALL VOLUME
Without needing to hire a healthcare call center, this podiatry group increased marketing efforts while seamlessly handling call volume between two locations.
- Central Mass Podiatry staff were spending over 5 hours per day on the phone with patients.
- The practice experienced an influx of phone calls and voicemails due to successful marketing efforts, overwhelming staff and creating a backlog of return calls and texts.
- Lack of tracking and analysis made it difficult to assess patient outreach and answer rates, leading to missed communication opportunities.
- Implemented OhMD’s Virtual Phone Assistant (OhMD VPA) and Visual Voicemail solution to reduce call volume and streamline patient communication.
- OhMD VPA gave patients the choice to stay on the line, receive a text, or leave a voicemail that is transcribed and recorded.
- Utilized OhMD’s HIPAA-compliant two-way texting to make patient communication more accessible for their staff.
- Reduced phone volume by nearly 20% by giving patients the option to opt for text messages instead of leaving voicemails.
- Average phone call length was reduced by 50% after implementing OhMD’s VPA.
- Increased efficiency with a 610% rise in patients opting to leave transcribed voicemails instead of waiting for a staff member to call back.
- Maintained the same level of staff while handling the growing patient volume, avoiding the need to hire a healthcare call center and saving time and money.
In early 2022, staff at Central Mass Podiatry were spending over 5 hours on the phone each day with patients across two locations in Worcester and Westborough, Massachusetts.
Five hours per day.
An OhMD user since 2020, the team was happy with the efficiency of two-way patient texting. Meanwhile, they were investing in new marketing efforts to expand their patient base and it was working like a charm. As Central Mass Podiatry grew, current and prospective patients hammered their phones and voicemail system.
With their patient volume increasing, more questions and requests were coming in over the phone and through text. Amber Jensen, the Practice Manager, began searching for a solution that would help them reduce call volume.
Her initial research landed her in conversations with outsourced healthcare call center companies. She immediately found that building or hiring a medical call center was extremely cost prohibitive. Jensen began looking at other avenues.
She discovered that the solution to Central Mass Podiatry’s phone call volume problem was at her fingertips in a platform they already had access to. OhMD’s Virtual Phone Assistant (OhMD VPA) and Visual Voicemail solution.
Prior to implementing OhMD VPA and Visual Voicemail, Amber and her staff were combing through 10+ voicemail messages every morning and responding to each individual call. Calls would come in throughout the day, adding to the backlog of return calls staff needed to make.
This tedious process took staff away from focusing on patient needs. The problem was compounded as patients who were leaving voicemails were not picking up returned calls from staff.
Jensen recognized there was a lack of tracking to analyze patient outreach and answer rates. “Our setup used to be to leave a voicemail. I felt that those were not getting addressed properly,” she noted.
Now with OhMD’s Visual Voicemail solution, the Central Mass Podiatry team can see a patient’s voicemail in line with their text conversations in a single, consolidated timeline. Better yet, every voicemail is recorded and transcribed. Patients automatically get a text as soon as they hang up which helps to convert future calls to simple text messages. The team seamlessly transitions to a text follow up or can call a patient back through OhMD with one click, saving valuable time and energy.
The addition of OhMD VPA also cut down on time spent per call. Comparing data from the organization’s traditional phone system versus OhMD VPA, the average length of call was reduced by 50% for staff members. This is attributed to patients having the choice to stay on the line, hang up and receive a text, or leave a voicemail that is then transcribed for the practice in the patient’s chat record.
Since starting with OhMD’s phone assistant tools, Central Mass Podiatry have reduced their phone volume by nearly 20% as prospects and patients are now given the choice to hang up and opt for a text message.
While many callers still choose to leave a voicemail, staff save time responding to transcribed voicemails in OhMD by text instead of manually transcribing voicemails themselves and calling back with little success. With the organization’s increased marketing efforts, VPA assisted calls rose 25%, and patients opting to leave a voicemail instead of waiting for a staff member rose an incredible 610% in two months. Since voicemails are transcribed directly in existing text conversations, staff were able to reduce time listening to voicemails and manually taking notes in athenahealth.
OhMD VPA and Visual Voicemail have allowed Central Mass Podiatry to oversee the influx of calls without hiring additional staff or a healthcare call center to manage patient communication. In fact, they’ve taken steps to further optimize the staff they have to become even more efficient.
“OhMD was a no-brainer for our growing office,” Jensen said. “It meets the demands of patients wanting a fast, easy and secure way to communicate with staff without being restricted to making a phone call. OhMD also provides a quicker solution for staff to resolve patients’ needs.”
She mentions that they are benefitting from OhMD’s solutions because they are simply able to answer more inquiries faster than ever before.
“Our volume is increasing, but we technically are keeping our staff the same. Honestly, if we hadn’t implemented the OhMD platform, we probably would be losing patients. You can have that platform open in the background, check-in the patient. It’s so much easier than having to pick up a phone call,” says Jensen. “You could shoot the patient a quick message and staff members can handle the workflow. The easier option is a text.
Jensen notes that because both of Central Mass Podiatry’s locations have access to their athenahealth EHR and OhMD’s cloud-based platform, staff from either location can field calls and assist patients regardless of which location the patient called. The staff have created a well-oiled patient communication machine that saves them time and money while increasing patient satisfaction.
Juggling existing patients and acquiring new ones is a delicate balancing act, especially as staffing issues abound for healthcare organizations across the U.S. With OhMD at their side, Central Mass Podiatry has been able to address phone call volume as they have grown while maintaining the same level of staffing and avoiding the need to hire a healthcare call center.
OhMD started as a way for Central Mass Podiatry to easily and efficiently send documents and simple texts to their patients, but has quickly become a necessity for their practice. With OhMD’s Visual Voicemail and Virtual Phone Assistant solutions, Jensen and her team can handle daily call volume with ease.