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Patient Engagement: A Call to Action

By Laura Bramschreiber, VP Marketing Strategy — Healthcare Practice, West Corporation

A core goal of any healthcare practitioner is to encourage patients to either begin, continue, or cease an action or series of actions. How do you communicate with patients in order to compel them to a specific, pre-determined action? Following are common desired patient actions that can be achieved using the right engagement and activation strategies.

Get Patients to See You

Carve out an efficient and consumer-friendly way to keep your patients on top of their wellness and treatment goals via reminders for upcoming services, like immunizations and screenings, and scheduling appointments and follow ups.

There are several ways to realize success in this area, but the two most important include:

  • Ensure that inbound calls from your patients are routed quickly, efficiently, and in a way that intelligently collects data that fosters a holistic view of each patient; and
  • Establish the preferred mode of communication for each patient—be it voice, text, web portal, or some other medium.

Patient preferences for communication channel and frequency can get pretty granular. For example, you may have a single patient who prefers bills to come through e-mail; appointment reminders to come via text; and consults be streamed over video. Establishing and updating these preferences, as well as their consent, are key to any ongoing engagement strategies.

Get Patients to Follow and Utilize their Treatment Plan

Comb your database to identify those patients who would benefit from transition care management (TCM) or coordinated care management (CCM) programs. Treatment gaps and missed appointments put patients at risk for readmission; providers should see these challenges as a means to unearth opportunities to improve the quality and efficacy of their programs, as well as take advantage of new value-based reimbursements in these areas.

Patient education is important, clearly; but so is training and awareness on the part of the clinical staff and physicians. Everyone involved must be up to speed on the value these programs bring to patients and the importance of the program to the practice in terms of revenue. Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities—ranging from scheduling, obtaining written consent, delivering care and billing—is key to success.

Get Patients to Monitor Progress between Visits

Telehealth and remote patient monitoring are incredible opportunities to innovate an underutilized area of patient care, foster new streams of revenue, and add formidable building blocks to value-based care by providing your patients with a comprehensive roadmap to sustained health. This can be accomplished by starting as early after discharge as possible and using communication technology and clinical resources to keep tabs on treatments and follow up care, as well as to monitor and address any complications.

Get Patients to Pay their Bills

A byproduct of value-based care is that the revenue cycle starts much earlier than it used to. Patients are expected to have more “skin in the game” when it comes to paying for healthcare services, which means that providers need to collect as much money as possible pre-service or at the point of care.

Practices and hospitals need to ensure that patients fully understand their financial obligations upfront. A standardized script for staff or automated communications should provide patients information about what they will owe when they come into the office, but also the payment options they can choose from, and any documentation they should bring with them to their visit.

Summary

By taking practical steps toward patient-centric engagement, providers can create a high-quality, intuitive and effortless consumer experience that has elements of a world-class retail service, while meeting the unique needs of the healthcare setting. Look for vendors and partners with the right combination of technology, experience and vision that will help you employ meaningful business practices regarding patient engagement and activation.

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Data Can Be Your Customer Experience MVP

You’re gearing up for Super Bowl 50 this weekend, right? Imagine if you were settling in with your Best Buds (“King of Beers,” pun definitely intended) and discovered that it was aired via Pay-Per-View (PPV)…

Okay, don’t fret—this isn’t the case—but there are plenty of big TV events that are PPV-only throughout the year.

One leading cable/satellite company seized the opportunity for PPV viewership using proactive communications to promote an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event that would likely pique the interest of many subscribers.

It worked.

This client’s goal was to increase self-service to improve theBusinessAnalyticsRevenueBoost customer experience – and capitalize on automation to increase revenue. West’s expert data analysts helped them achieve both by drawing parallels between customers’ behaviors and their likelihood to purchase UFC PPV fights. Informed by that data, subscribers received proactive notifications two days prior to the event that gave them the option to purchase the fight right then and there.

Predicting which customers would most likely purchase the next fight, and prescribing how to deliver an individualized, attention-grabbing message to them at the perfect time resulted in a 40 percent increase in revenue compared to previous efforts.

Analyzing customer data is the key to getting into the mind of your audience and taking their experience to the next level.

Here are some quick tips from West to help pull data off the bench and into your customer experience improvement strategy:

  1. Determine who is performing a particular action. (Purchasing UFC fights.)
  2. Pinpoint when, specifically, these customers are acting. (Day of program? Day before?)
  3. Identify what other paths these customers are taking consistently. (Other programs/ sports packages purchases.)

Deep exploration of customer and market data is an asset in creating a more intuitive cross-channel customer experience. Identifying each customers’ needs and tendencies helps brands create a journey that feels personal and empowering, regardless of the channels they choose.

(Watch this video to see what we mean!)

Isn’t it comforting to know that if the Super Bowl ever were PPV, business analytics would help cable/satellite companies ensure the big game stays more about spiked footballs than spiked remote controls?

We will talk more about the power of business analytics at our Shop Talk during Customer Response Summit Phoenix, February 23-25, 2016! Hope to see you there!

This is a guest blog written by Dan Gordon, SVP Strategy and Development, for Execs in the Know.

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The Path to Meaningful Engagement

By Colin Roberts, Senior Director, Healthcare Product Integration, West Corporation

Technological innovations have gifted providers with myriad ways to communicate with and collect data from patients.

As provider organizations seek to incorporate more — and more meaningful — touchpoints with their patients throughout the continuum of care, they are challenges to close communication and care gaps, improve staff workflows, and ultimately drive more holistic patient engagement.

The ideal pathway to optimized patient engagement and activation lays in establishing and utilizing standardized best practices and leveraging automation.

A standardized and consistent communication pathway gives every department manager a more productive, contextual, and consistent way to seamlessly engage with patients on any issue and at any point within the continuum of care.

Automation establishes a cadence for reminders, including duration, frequency, time of day, and how patients want to be contacted. Though the term “automation” sometimes carries a negative assumption that the future of patient engagement removes human interaction from the equation, nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, the automation of routine communication alleviates administrative burdens, freeing team members to focus on more complex interactions in a meaningful way. With today’s technology, even automated processes can be personalized — both in messaging (i.e., specific to the individual patient) and how the message is communicated (i.e., the patient: phone call, text, email, etc.).

Value-based healthcare has myriad moving parts, but the clear through line is the efficacy of provider-patient communication. Greater financial obligations have given patients greater power when it comes to choosing a healthcare provider, and the mandate to reduce costly readmissions and provide patients a retail-feel to healthcare encounters has incented providers to seamlessly optimize patients To see a demo, visit the West Corp. booth at HIMSS16 in Las Vegas.

Note: This blog originally appeared in Health IT Outcomes.

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Is Your IVR Out of Shape?

Voice self-service is a lynchpin for most companies’ customer service roadmaps. Optimization strategy can make it exceptional. Having seen the retail industry’s customer service influence across all verticals, we at West have witnessed the importance of evolution firsthand.

The consumer-driven world in which we live has spread the demand for accurate, immediate care when it comes to anything from pizza delivery, to air travel and even to choosing an insurance provider. Retail has set a standard that companies in every industry are being challenged to exceed.

While few would venture to argue against the need to drive an individualized customer experience, it is all-too-easy for brands to neglect helping voice solutions grow beyond their infancy stage.

Yes, we need to create a customer experience that evolves with our customer’s needs. But how does a company shift beyond stating the obvious to moving toward a more finite means of accomplishing customer satisfaction? Read More >

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More Control = Easier Self-Service

They say that variety is the spice of life, so when it comes to providing customers with individualized, custom-tailored experiences, it’s probably best to add an extra dash or two. Although the desire for quick and painless resolution is usually universal among customers, the means of reaching this destination tends to vary wildly depending on user preference.

After West’s clients expressed an overwhelming interest in multi-modal IVR during our 2015 Connected Customer Experience Summit, it’s only fitting to ring in 2016 by talking about the potential uses and impact of multi-modal solutions. (Which we will talk about in even greater detail during our first Product Advisory Council on February 2nd).

Customers in every industry demand answers when and where they want them. (We’ve noted before that one-third of Millennials would prefer to clean a toilet than wait for a live agent). Customers will go to extreme measures to self-resolve, but need reliability when an issue demands greater attention.

This is why it is so important for brands to cover all their bases, but also make sure that they can effectively orchestrate every channel around the tried-and-true customer fallback: a phone call.

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West sees 2016 as an opportunity to help our clients create a more effective, consistent and rewarding experience for their customers by exploring a next generation communication solution that combines the reliable IVR of today with a mobile-ready visual interface. This concept centers upon allowing consumers to simultaneously interact via voice, Web and SMS, while completing just about any task that they’ve set out to accomplish. Read More >

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Relentless Innovation, Continuous Improvement

Not long ago, the masses reveled at the possibilities of email communication. A decade later, people delighted in sending and receiving easily digestible text messages. Now focus is shifting toward multi-modal interactions and combining communication channels in the exact ways that we want.

Here we are in 2016, still filled with blissful ignorance in regard to what wonders lie ahead technologically. Yet, we are in a different place than ever before in that we have come to expect this sort of continuous improvement in all technological walks of life—especially when it comes to customer service.

Though the layperson doesn’t know exactly how their customer experience is going to improve moving forward, all seem to expect that brands keep up with their increasingly high-paced lifestyles. This is why it is so vital for companies to take on this challenge head on, and address customer concerns before they have even become a reality. We must strive to continuously improve, innovate and optimize.

Easier said than done, right? Nevertheless, staying ahead of your customers and competition is worth the work. During West’s recent Customer Summit, Michael Tchong spoke to the framework needed to “Fuel Innovation.” He broke it down into four basic principles: Read More >

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Use the Force… of Optimization

It’s time to talk about making your customer experience feel a little less like R2-D2, and a little more like C-3PO.

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens already a must-see blockbuster, we anticipate apprehension that this shameless, galactically themed post might be a dreaded… dun dun dun: SPOILER. But fear not; the following content is safe for all eyes, seeking only to draw the undeniable parallels between the galaxy far away, and the needs of the people right here on Earth.

There’s no denying that we earthlings are driving an increasingly retail-centric customer experience, inspired by a gruelingly high-paced lifestyle rivaling the Millennium Falcon’s light speed. When something is amiss, we want answers and we want them now. How then, does a healthcare company, for example, keep up with the demands of the “new” patient, whose expectations have been set by the otherwise unrelated retail industry? It starts with flexibility. Read More >

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TFCC is Now “West”

We are pleased to announce that TFCC is officially adopting the West name! Longtime partners, West has always provided the backbone of TFCC’s solutions to provide utility companies with unrivaled communication support. We are evolving as a company, and combining our expertise in the utility business and comprehensive customer experience lifecycle management.

This shift gives us an opportunity to share the story of our cross-vertical capabilities and the added value we’ll be equipped to provide utility companies and their customers across the country. We hope you’ll share in our excitement! Read More >

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Winter is Coming: Update Your Outage CX

HBO recently taunted Game of Thrones (GOT) fans with teaser art featuring actor Kit Harington’s (presumably) deceased character, Jon Snow, accompanied by the anticipated release month: April. While speculation continues to build regarding Snow’s mortality, the springtime premiere forecasts a lengthy cold-spell for fans eager to uncover the whole truth.

As GOT fans hunker down for the winter, utility companies are in a unique position to play the role of “King’s Hand” and help pave the way for customers. In other words, the people of the land want their utility companies to heed the Starks’ words and prepare accordingly: Winter is coming – bringing with it the challenges of ice storms and high winds that cut like Valerian steel.

By directing all outage calls through highly optimized High Call-Volume Answering (HVCA) systems, utility companies are sentencing confusing IVR amalgamations to death, vanquishing busy signals and empowering customers to interact with one consistent persona in any situation. Read More >

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‘Tis The Season To Be Mobile

The smell of peppermint is beginning to fill the air, tunes on the radio are becoming undeniably festive and intricate lighting displays adorn houses before we have even carved our Thanksgiving turkeys. All these things make it clear that the holiday shopping season is upon us. This coming “Black Friday” marks the official kick-off, after all!

In 2015, people are moving faster than ever before and mobile interaction is essential. Smartphones have dramatically transformed the way that people browse, bargain-hunt and buy products.

As consumers leave one-horse open sleighs in their dust, it’s smart for brands to embrace SMS to avoid the same fate. And even though the retail market is top-of-mind as we deck the halls, it is not the only industry that can benefit from proactive notifications and mobility solutions.

Thinking like an on-the-go audience:
When U.S. consumers reach for their mobile devices, they aren’t simply relying on a phone, but rather, technology that has become an extra appendage. According to Google, 30% of people admit that they feel “anxious” when their phones aren’t at their side. It’s estimated that we spend 177 minutes on our phones daily—checking them 150 times! Customers aren’t simply reaching for the shiniest products on the shelves and throwing them in their carts; 82% of smartphone users research in-store purchases online first.[ii] Read More >


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