2010 ICARE Award Winners

By Patty Maynard

Each year, RelayHealth recognizes those customers who best share the key principles and mission contained in the corporate vision, ICARE. Originally adopted in 1998, the ICARE principles stress that successful relationships between companies are often the result of shared common values, which also serve as a cornerstone of their cultures.

ICARE represents:

  • Integrity: do what’s right
  • Customer first: you only succeed when your customers succeed
  • Accountability: take personal responsibility and expect the same in return
  • Respect: treat people with dignity and consideration
  • Excellence: insist upon quality

The ICARE customer awards are an extension of internal company awards designed to acknowledge and honor those customers who exemplify the principles of ICARE, including innovation, talent, and attention when interacting with their customers. This commitment to quality has delivered overwhelmingly positive results to their organizations.

The following organizations achieved this status by re-engineering existing processes to ensure that best practices were implemented throughout the contact centers and also developed new services in reaction to changes in their local marketplace.

Resurrection Health Care – RES-INFO Line, Illinois: Challenged with an organization-wide “break-even” strategy to balance the budget, the RES-INFO Line contact center utilized the reports and statistics gathered from their call center software to make staffing decisions regarding call volume. The data provided key information about mission critical activity and analyzed appropriate cost savings. The guiding principles of ICARE were evident in their decisions, and the result was a decrease in FTEs and hours while simultaneously expanding services. Their action achieved the goal of reducing the budget and assuring the call center will remain viable and a key component of the organization’s mission.

CareNet Inc, Texas: The CareNet nurse advice line uses care coordinators to conduct the intake process via director-approved medical screening criteria to quickly identify urgent health situations. In order to ensure they were providing the proper high quality care at the right time, they instituted a process to review their urgent call prioritization procedure. Initial assessment demonstrated that one of their service lines was overusing the “urgent call” processing procedure. By analyzing call center data and reports, CareNet management recorded the percentage of appropriately documented “urgent” calls that resulted in a disposition of 911 or ED. The report data allowed comparison of the care coordinator’s document to the recommended disposition from the clinical staff. Since the analysis and implementation of new quality control guidelines, the urgent call prioritization process improved by 38.6%. By establishing appropriate usage of the urgent call prioritization process, CareNet is achieving their goal of providing the right care at the right time for all their customers.

Scott & White, Texas: Overcoming a possible closure of the call center many years ago, this innovative organization rallied behind physician support to revamp and reorganize the center and focus on availability when it was needed the most. Once the decision was made to change to an “after hours” business model, the organization added an Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAP) position to place inbound calls into a queue for handling by RNs. By focusing on these two changes, the organization was able to positively adjust service levels and decrease abandoned call levels. Today, the call center is positioned to return to a 24 x 7 operational model. They clearly achieved their goal of increasing the quality of care to their patients and providing key support for their physicians.

Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, South Dakota: The call center needed to increase efficiency of time and resources, both in terms of personnel and equipment, and to increase patient referrals and procedures. The first initiative was to take over the after hours calls from a local paging company. Even with a volume of 700+ calls per month, they managed to reduce number of physician page-outs by 69%.

The second initiative was to assist with helping manage the call center efficiency at the heart hospital to, addressing idle time in the diagnostic systems. To address this surplus of resources and increase the inflow of new patients, procedures, and referrals, the call center began scheduling heart screenings for minimal cost. Since August 2008, over 4,400 screenings were conducted with heart and related cardiac medical risk factors found in 1 in 3 screening participants.

Finally, the call center assisted with reminder phone calls for mammography, MRI, and pain clinic appointments. Since the inception of the reminder call program, no-show appointments have decreased by 66%. The call center has clearly demonstrated how to add both efficiency and new services for their healthcare system.

Congratulations to all of these ICARE winners!

For more information, contact Patty Maynard, CECC solution line leader – patient solutions with RelayHealth, at 480-663-4722 or Patty.Maynard@RelayHealth.com.

[From the August/September 2010 issue of AnswerStat magazine]