Health systems need to turn their attention to technology that can improve staff retention by reducing employee burnout, according to HCA Divisional CIO Andy Draper. Here’s a look at what Parlance is doing to realize ROI with conversational AI.
July 11, 2023 /MedCity News/ – Hospitals and clinics are facing challenges like never before in their efforts to improve staff retention and reduce employee churn. Employee turnover has a strong financial impact on health systems. One area of concern is patient access call center staff. By understanding the hidden costs of repeatedly losing and replacing these valuable team members, healthcare executives can take a more realistic approach to their talent pool. When hospitals and clinics use technology providers to automate simple tasks or answer routine questions in lieu of agents and operators, it enables call center staff to use their skills for more complex queries.
“CIOs need to come to the table with ideas to consolidate and automate, and really increase the productivity of our employees,” said Andy Draper, HCA Divisional CIO.
Here’s a look at how much time must be invested in replacing employees in a hospital’s call center. First, it takes time for the hospital to carry out human resource-related duties tied to the call center employee’s departure. That includes the process of ending their email access, revoking access to the building if they work onsite, closing out payroll, an exit interview, etc. Then there is the time it takes to recruit a replacement.
Whether this is done in-house or by hiring an external recruiter, it takes significant time and money. Add to this the time it takes to find qualified candidates, review their credentials, conduct interviews and background checks. Once an employee is hired there’s also the cost in onboarding, which includes adding them to the payroll, providing a corporate ID, and security access. Next, there’s the cost that training a new agent entails. They usually won’t take calls in the first couple of weeks of their employment during training. This means the other patient access call center agents have to shoulder the burden of the additional work until training is complete. It may take as long as six months for a patient access center agent to reach full productivity. During this time, experienced agents must cover calls. All of this only increases the financial burden for health systems.
This is why it’s imperative that hospitals and clinics turn their attention to technology that can improve staff retention by reducing employee burnout, according to Draper. He said using Parlance conversational AI has helped his HCA division’s network of healthcare facilities save more than $1 million last year, while exceeding its caller efficiency and performance goals.
“I’m impressed with Parlance’s robust combination of conversational AI technologies and proprietary tools,” Draper said. “Their commitment to the data science of AI over their 25+ year history and their unrivaled name recognizer technology are demonstrated by the ROI — over 70% of our external calls are handled by Parlance technology.”
Parlance technology solutions identify known patients in the health system network, authenticate callers by retrieving basic information, such as name and zip code, and confirm insurance information is up-to-date. Its proprietary technology trains models with phonetics to recognize proper names and recognizes more than 1 billion proper names. Continuous directory upkeep produces much higher offload of PBX call volumes and improves switchboard operations.
The conversational AI platform is positioned at the forefront of intelligent speech-powered technologies, delivering comprehensive call management solutions that support both staffing limitations and patient demand. Parlance takes pains to not only understand the variety of ways different patients interact with a health system’s call center, but to also analyze the varied calls to a health system.
Not only does this conversational AI platform enable call center agents to spend more time on complex calls, it also improves their morale by making agents feel less like cogs in a wheel and more like a valuable resource for the hospital.
The technology has the capability to eliminate massive call queues for over-worked operators and managers. It also improves the quality of interactions for fearful or anxious callers who don’t have the patience to wait on hold, be misdirected to the wrong department or cut off.
Implementing conversational AI enables high volume tasks such as simple transfer requests from internal callers to be removed from call agents’ workloads and prevents these calls from clogging up service lines. Technology also helps to ‘right-size’ the call center environment. Too many employees only add to business overhead, license costs, and space requirements.
Expertise in the healthcare environment allows Parlance to deliver meaningful cost savings to health systems, cultivate a productive and stable environment in which operators and agents can best serve callers, and help hospitals and clinics to provide satisfying experiences to patients and employees alike. The goal is to make patient access fast and easy.
Draper trumpeted the Parlance platform as offering a proven way forward to help hospitals use conversational AI to support productivity and ROI.
“Healthcare, by and large, has not had the productivity gains that other industries have had. This is a way to get a productivity gain, introduce automation into a health system, and be consumer friendly, all within 180 days from a conversation,” Draper said. “If I were a CIO looking for a quick win in the budget cycle, I would do this.”
By Stephanie Baum