Team-Tested Practices

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Nurse on phone.

Make it your department's policy to pick up the phone when it rings. Answering a patient's question is part of good member service.

If the Phone Rings, You Answer

When patients have questions, they often pick up the phone. But this will do them no good if no one answers. The oncology department in Redwood City had the lowest phone service scores in Northern California. So, the team corrected wrong numbers in their directory and routed calls from the call center to the department. They also wore wireless headsets and installed voice mail. Their phone service scores improved 26.7 percentage points and their average time for returning voice mail dropped from 8 hours to 1 hour.

Here's What Worked

  • Correcting wrong numbers in the Patient Member Handbook
  • Handling calls directly instead of routing to call center, adding voice mail and returning messages hourly
  • Wearing wireless headsets to take calls remotely

What can your team do to look at its work through the eyes of the patient? 

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