One of the challenges facing healthcare organizations is how to leverage technology to improve the quality of care they deliver. Specific to communication technology, the question remains, “What is the most effective way to connect with patients?” Sentara Healthcare found an answer.
Automated notifications have become a pivotal tool for Sentara Healthcare to contact patients for their overdue preventive services. The message to patients is simple: they’re asked to call in to the staff to make sure their health records are updated. Once on the phone with Sentara Healthcare, they speak with the staff regarding a number of preventive services, either clarifying documentation issues where services have already been performed or working with the team to schedule a preventive appointment.
In the initial month of working with TeleVox to deliver these messages to patients, the Sentara Healthcare team estimates a 26% response rate from patients. Of the 250 communications sent each day, the staff later receives a call from 50-70 of those patients on average. With the addition of just one staff member to their existing practice centralized call center, the team members have been capable of handling the additional call volume. Rather than giving patients the opportunity to immediately transfer and connect with the staff during the TeleVox message, patients are given a phone number to call at their convenience. This allows responses to be more evenly spread throughout the day instead of having patients all transfer in at once – a strategy that prevents the care opportunities staff from being overwhelmed by the large volume of responses.
The high 26% response is a vast improvement over communication tactics employed prior to working with TeleVox. Before adopting TeleVox notifications, Sentara Healthcare used their EHR to send patients an email and post a message in their patient account. However, the staff notes that of a similar 250 patient sample each day, only 1 or 2 patients would contact the staff. TeleVox notifications have expanded patient response volume to at least 30 times the success of these EHR-delivered communications.
Since now many of these services are a covered benefit, time and time again patients have expressed their appreciation for the notification.
“I believe that in the ever-changing landscape of the healthcare industry, it becomes even more important to do what’s right for our patients before being asked,” says Rosemary Parkinson, Senior Business Application Systems Analyst for Sentara Healthcare. “It is our commitment to improve health every day. TeleVox is now a mechanism to reach that goal.”