- CATEGORIES: Charu Raheja, PhD,Data and Research,Doctors and Hospitals,Improve Your Practice,Nurses,Ravi Raheja, MD,Research,Research for Providers,Technology,Technology for Providers
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by Ravi K. Raheja, MD and Charu G. Raheja, PhD
Last year, a large, leading provider of healthcare services serving a four-county region of 1.5 million people was looking to reduce healthcare costs. Their medical center was established in 1995 and includes over 80 physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The center has chosen to remain anonymous for this case study.
Rising health care costs and increasing incentives from government organizations are making it crucial for medical centers to look for ways to improve the allocation of patient care and decrease overall health care costs. Last year this particular center decided to revamp their after-hours call center to provide improved after hours care and decrease unnecessary Emergency Department utilizations.
Nurse telephone triage dramatically reduces medical costs by ensuring that patients are getting the care that they need at the right time. After an extensive search, this center selected TriageLogic based on their value pricing and expertise in triage call centers. TriageLogic worked closely with their staff to implement the new software, train their nurses and restart their after-hours call center in house.
Once their new staff was settled and the call center was running efficiently, the medical center wanted to investigate how to further optimize the cost effectiveness of the new call center. The center was receiving close to 20,000 calls a year, but only about 300 calls a month from midnight until 8 am. The center was losing money when the call volume was very low because their nurses were sitting idle waiting for phone calls. Charu Raheja, Chair and CEO of TriageLogic, worked with the call center team to come up with a customized approach to accomplishing this.
The team decided to combine TriageLogic’s Call Center SoftwareTM with their Nurse Triage on CallTM program. They use their own nurses during high volume times so their nurses are busy. Overnight when the call volume drops, TriageLogic's nurses handle the phone calls. By outsourcing during those low call volume, the call center is able to continue providing triage service, and at the same time reduce cost during the low volume. This combination is accomplished seamlessly with the call center technology, integration engines and communication platforms in the TriageLogic software.
Cost Savings to the Health Center: Since implementing the combined model, the system has been able to save about 50% of their cost during the low volume period, or about $48,000 a year.
This model allowed medical center to continue to provide the same level of service, while decreasing its operating costs and working within a given budget. It also allowed them to keep their current infrastructure and resources.
A combined model is an effective way to improve services and decrease costs. When the call volume is very low, call centers often lose money because nurses are idle waiting for phone calls. By outsourcing during those low volume times, the call center can solve this problem. These organizations may also be able to expand into other areas of call center work to increase revenues.
By using sophisticated technology and highly trained nurses, TriageLogic has helped call centers improve patient care while decreasing cost.