In today’s healthcare environment, organizations are striving for the revenue cycle to positively impact patient experience scores. But leaders often forget one key variable within the patient experience equation - the associate. Associate engagement is so important to the patient experience – but with a 25% turnover rate within the first 6 months we knew there was an important opportunity that needed to be solved.
The leadership team at Ensemble Health Partners tackled the problem by analyzing the process to understand how to improve both the experience for patients and the engagement for revenue cycle associates.
Engaging Associates Starts at Orientation and Continues With Ongoing Training and Education
Ensemble’s Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) shared a desire to improve their onboarding experience, so our strategic vision for 2018 had to focus on training and engagement initiatives. Moving to the call-center floor within 90 days from their start date gave CSRs a feeling of being unprepared to handle multiple systems and the variety of patient concerns.
In response to their feedback, we developed a three to six-month training program using stair-step metrics to assess a new hire’s knowledge and skills. Focusing on quality and experience, we created a 30-40-60 call per day metric.
We created a peer-to-peer system with dedicated subject matter experts directing the new hire training process. These leaders serve as a secondary level of management to aid in the education and mentorship for those emerging CSR skills and engagement.
Empowering Engaged Associates to Provide Exceptional Patient Experience
Empowering associates to manage difficult conversations with their knowledge of our processes and procedures provides an exceptional patient experience. An escalation unit was formed to encourage and recognize our strongest CSRs.
Pairing patients with educated and knowledgeable CSRs increased the ability to generate quality conversations and answer the patient’s issues efficiently and effectively. Patients today are guaranteed to have all questions answered within 24 hours because of this new program and streamlined processes. Plus, top associates are developing themselves into future leaders by learning both conflict resolution and organizational skills.
The Bottom Line – 14% Decrease in New Hire Turnover
Today, we have a seen an 14% decrease in new hire turnover. Tenure equals improved relationships within the department and a more consistent encounter for patients. New hire engagement results are improving too. After six months at Ensemble in the Customer Service department, an associate commented, “I feel as though the program provides a safe environment to make professional, working relationships, with people to whom we can comfortably ask questions to while gaining knowledge. The new hire program allows for associates to learn at their own pace without feeling pressured to learn at the same rate of others while still feeling successful at their role. I am thankful for a program that allows everyone a setting where learning can take place, answers can be found, support is given and success is produced without the stress and pressure of being ‘new’”.
Ensemble’s improved onboarding experience is producing stronger CSRs who are both engaged and equipped to assist our patients. Acting on associate feedback will ultimately create a lasting impression on our patients by providing the finishing touch in customer service. Isn’t that what the patient experience is all about?
Author: Chris Korneffel
Chris Korneffel is the Sr. Director of Support Services at Ensemble Health Partners where her efforts have resulted in reduced turnover, increased team quality and productivity, increased revenue performance and improved associateand customer satisfaction. With 15 years’ in healthcare and operations management, Chris’ experience includes building and leading teams responsible for customer service, centralized scheduling, pre-authorization, referral management, clinical concierge scheduling, training and development and building a variety of successful call center operations in both for profit and non-profit companies.