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Category: General

Posted on February 2, 2017 by West Corporation  


Data Can Be Your Customer Experience MVP

You’re gearing up for Super Bowl 51 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 the 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. Read More >

Posted on December 15, 2016 by West Corporation  


The New Bitter Pill: Patients Not Taking Medications

By Mike Synder

In healthcare, we love to highlight the latest innovations and medical breakthroughs—and while that first-of-its kind surgery is important, it’s also important to focus on the basics—which often prove to be not so basic.

One “basic” lesson for healthcare providers is that prescribing life-saving medications isn’t enough. Medications don’t work if patients don’t take them. In fact, studies have shown that 3 out of 4 patients do not take their medications as prescribed.

Now, this isn’t necessarily an ‘aha moment,’ but it’s an issue that has come to the forefront with the release of a recent Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the report, 70 percent of U.S. adults ages 65 and older have high blood pressure (which is defined as 140/90mmHg or higher), but nearly half do not have their blood pressure under control. What’s even more troubling is that at least 25% of those adults with Medicare Part D prescription drug insurance are not taking their blood pressure medicine as directed.

High-risk populations
Whether that means skipping doses or forgoing the medicine altogether, it’s problematic. Not taking blood pressure medication contributes to higher risks of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and death. Further, the CDC report highlights that some populations are more at risk than others, with the percentage of Medicare Part D enrollees not taking their blood pressure medicine being higher among certain racial/ethnic groups, like American Indians, Alaska Natives, Blacks and Hispanics, and in geographic areas like the Southern U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

At first glance, it’s easy to be baffled by those statistics. Why is it so difficult for patients to take their medications, especially when the consequences are potentially deadly? As the report explains, there are many reasons why patients don’t take their medications. Some fail to fill the prescription at all or forget to refill it on time. Others stop taking the pills because they don’t have noticeable symptoms or because they experience unwanted side effects. In some cases, medications are just too expensive for patients.

Regardless of the why, providers have a responsibility to empower patients, not only within the walls of the exam room, and at the pharmacy, but also at home, on-the go, and everywhere in between. After all, healthcare today spans across the continuum of care. It requires providers to connect with patients in new ways that are meaningful and relevant. It demands that providers adapt their communications to meet patients’ needs, rather than expect patients to adapt to their needs or preferences.

Communication gaps
At the core of the important work that needs to be done is communication, which might be classified as basic, but is a shortcoming for many healthcare providers. This communication gap is arguably one of the biggest cracks in our healthcare ecosystem. At West, we know that engaged patients are healthier patients and that’s the foundation of everything we do. We believe that combining technology-enabled communications with clinical resources to help engage patients beyond the clinical setting, across the continuum of care, is critical to improving the patient experience, outcomes, and costs.

In order to be impactful, communication to increase medication adherence must be patient-centric, proactive, and consistent. We’ve learned that once communication becomes reactive, it’s usually too late to be effective. That’s why we offer providers the ability to send smart, automated communications like text messages, voice calls, and voice messages, based on language preference (multiple language on voice, and Spanish for text). With our approach, providers can personalize interventions, delivering the right communication, at the right time in the patient’s channel of choice. Our technology also helps providers to best allocate their clinical and administrative resources by assessing which patients are engaging with the communication as expected and which patients require an escalated intervention.

We’ve seen the results of these communication strategies firsthand at health systems across the country. By keeping our focus on patients, and leveraging technology, we can all make an impact and help to improve blood pressure control nationwide. And while that may seem ‘basic,’ the outcomes can be quite profound.

Posted on November 17, 2016 by West Corporation  


How Pharmacists Can Help Tackle the Superutilizer Crisis

By Robert J. Dudzinski, Pharm.D., Executive Vice President, West Corporation

So-called “superutilizers” are one of the biggest healthcare crises. These patients, who typically have multiple co-morbid conditions, siphon off a disproportionate share of healthcare dollars and typically have a poor quality of life, due to frequent hospital stays or other interactions with the healthcare system.

A recent study from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found that just 5 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries account for almost 50 percent of program spending. The most expensive 25 percent accounted for more than 75 percent of the expenditures. Meanwhile, the least expensive 50 percent accounted for less than 8 percent of the Medicaid dollars spent and about 12 percent of enrollees had no expenditures at all.

Pharmacists, who are often the only healthcare provider with a 360-degree view of a patient, have an important role to play in identifying these superutilizers, helping to uncover the causes of avoidable healthcare overutilization, and developing strategies to appropriately intervene with the goal of improving outcomes and lowering costs.
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Posted on November 10, 2016 by West Corporation  


Preserving Patient Bonds

By Robert Dudzinski

While pharmacists spend years training to be experts on drug formulation, dosing and how to prevent adverse interactions between medications, it’s probably not their favorite part of the job. Many instead relish the one-on-one interactions with longtime customers throughout different seasons of their lives.
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Posted on October 20, 2016 by West Corporation  


The Mind-Body Connection

By Pam Mortenson, Health Advocate Solutions

“How are you?” is perhaps the most common greeting in American culture, whether it’s in the workplace or in a social setting. But how often do people respond with, “Great! My body mass index is 23, and my total cholesterol is 165”?

Almost never, because when the typical American assesses how he or she is, physical health is just one component of wellness. It’s hard to respond with “Great, and you?” if someone’s child is having trouble in school or if they are wrestling with choosing a long-term care facility for a parent. The same is true if someone is struggling to pay bills or save for retirement, or if stress in the workplace has become unmanageable.
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Posted on October 13, 2016 by West Corporation  


How Much Could Medication Adherence Save Your Company?

Wellness Moves from Bottom Lines to Positive Outcomes
By Pam Mortenson, Health Advocate Solutions

Healthcare costs have skyrocketed over the past two decades. Employers and workers bear the brunt of this trend. Between 2005 and 2015, employer contributions to health insurance premiums increased by 61%, according to the Kaiser “Employer Health Benefits Survey.”

Naturally, employers are seeking strategies to counter rising health-care costs. One important strategy to consider is to focus on medication adherence. Why? According to the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation, medication non-adherence is a leading driver of high health-care costs, adding up to $290 billion annually. It’s the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality, responsible for 30% to 50% of treatment failures and 125,000 deaths annually, says the American College of Preventive Medicine. As the industry scrambles to improve quality and lower costs, non-adherence to medication is a topic that health-care providers, payers and self-insured employers should address.
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Posted on August 25, 2016 by West Corporation  


4 Customer Service Lessons Starbucks Can Teach Retail Pharmacies

By Mike Snyder, Director, Interactive Services, West Corporation

Let’s face it, the healthcare industry is far behind other industries when it comes to customer service best practices. Other industries, even traditionally regulated ones such as telecommunications and aviation, have long since reoriented their operations with a core focus on the needs of the customer. More recently, retail businesses have focused intently on creating customized interactions via live calls, self-service contact center connections, and interactive mobile apps and web portals.

The good news for retail pharmacies is that among healthcare organizations, they are best positioned to take on this transformation. Their roots are in retail, giving them a leg up on customer experience and lifecycle, versus healthcare providers who have only recently begun to take metrics like patient experience ratings into account. Retail pharmacies now have a window of opportunity – when consumers with more skin in the game financially are seeking a go-to healthcare hub to deliver the same experience provided by the commercial world.

The caveat, however, is that even as retail pharmacies continue their march into more core provider services, such as case management for chronic conditions, they must look outside of the healthcare industry for best practices approaches to engage and delight the modern healthcare consumer. Read More >

Posted on August 11, 2016 by West Corporation  


Automating Resident Communications? 5 Pitfalls to Avoid

By Sean McCarthy, User Experience Designer, West Healthcare

Long-term care providers are bracing for a myriad of challenges in the next five years, not the least of which will be the exodus of experienced workers. According to researchers at Georgetown University, the United States is facing an imminent nursing shortage, predicted to reach a deficit of 93,000 registered nurses (RNs) by 2020. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of nursing aides and orderlies is projected to grow 17 percent between now and 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

As the population ages, and millions of Americans seek long-term care, it is of paramount importance to automate routine tasks in order to free up staff to provide personalized assistance when most needed. One of the first places to look for efficiencies is the contact center. The contact center should be able to quickly and clearly answer simple questions, and route residents and family members to the right department when their questions are more complex.

The challenge is to deliver a high-tech and highly personal customer experience to a demographic that may be wary of change. Here are five pitfalls to avoid.
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Posted on August 4, 2016 by West Corporation  


Top 3 Resources for Retail Pharmacists

Retail Pharmacy: Upping the Engagement Game
Pharmacists have long been a trusted source for advice on medication, however, the role of the pharmacist has evolved. They are no longer simply dispensing drugs — they are becoming providers. With this evolution, comes a plethora of opportunities. Pharmacies can be the healthcare nexus for patients in an ecosystem that can feel impersonal and fragmented.
Check out our top 3 resources for retail pharmacists, and visit us at NACDS Total Store Expo to learn more about how West helps retail pharmacies up their engagement game.
Read More >


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