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Using Call Center Metrics to Optimize the Patient Experience

To ensure your patients and caregivers don’t experience issues, learn which call center metrics lead most directly to patient satisfaction.
To ensure your patients and caregivers don’t experience issues, learn which call center metrics lead most directly to patient satisfaction.

When you spend time on hold with your internet, cable, or wireless telephone provider, does a two-minute hold feel like a lifetime? You wait to get answers to your questions or issues you may have, but nobody is there. Now imagine this is for your specialty medication for you or a loved one…or especially your child. Those waits can be unbearable.

To ensure your patients and caregivers don’t experience this at any point in their journey, it is important to orient your team around metrics that lead most directly to patient satisfaction. These metrics are vital and need to be tracked all day, every day. The leadership team and Resource Management Team (RMG) needs to track them constantly to ensure these statistics are met per the client’s request. While UBC is not a call center, we still maintain similarities to one. We move from a customer focus to a patient and prescriber focus, which means less hold time, and faster turnaround on getting patients their medication. There are many metrics we monitor and forecast from, and we will discuss a couple of the most vital ones below.

Average Speed of Answer

Average speed of answer, or ASA, is one of the most important contact center metrics around, and the basic definition is the average time it takes for a call to be answered by a live agent. One of the biggest variations between a model that uses a big call customer center and patient and provider hubs in patient access services (PAS) is that the latter can run a faster average speed of answer, or ASA, on every inbound call that comes in. Agents not only do inbound calls, but they must also complete offline tasks and outbound calls as well. Proper staffing allows agents to complete any activity they need to do to assist patients and providers. This ensures that the long hold mentioned earlier is never a reality for patients.

Schedule Adherence

Schedule adherence is the next metric, and this is very important to me. UBC PAS prides itself on extremely high schedule adherence numbers as it makes sure the right people are in the right places at the right times. Schedule adherence is simply the measurement of how well an employee is following their assigned schedule. This directly impacts the ASA and staffing requirements that are agreed upon with a client. When designing a new program, models must factor shift adherence, so meeting that metric will ensure proper staffing. All inbound calls and offline work have a pattern, and the Resource Management team should build schedules based upon that and the hours of operation.

There are many other metrics that you can track and report to clients. Some examples are call abandonment rate, service level, offline task productivity, average handle time, and call quality.  All of these impact how you should staff, schedule, assign workload, and most importantly, patient experience.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in numbers sometimes, so it’s vital we all take a step back and make sure our patients, prescribers, and clients are satisfied. We all have been on the other end of poor service and long hold times. UBC prioritizes the patient journey and experience to ensure we deliver high-quality service every time!

About the Author

Brian C Herbst is the Director of Shared Services for the commercial services at UBC. Brian has been in this role for seven years. Within this role, he is responsible for leading the Shared Services team which is comprised of Resource Management, Quality Monitoring, Training, Fulfillment, and Real Estate services. Brian has been with UBC for 16 years and has over 23 years of forecasting and operations experience.

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Bekki Bracken Brown

President & Chief Executive Officer

Bekki Bracken Brown serves as the President and CEO of UBC, guiding the company’s mission and values, including the improvement of access for patients to receive better outcomes. She oversees all aspects of UBC, such as operations, business growth strategy, sales and marketing, and acquisition support.

With over 20 years of industry experience, Ms. Brown brings knowledge from a successful career in senior management from her tenure at Quintiles, INC Research, and, most recently, with Syneos Health. She’s been a member of the North Carolina BIO Board of Directors since 2019. She is also a member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association — Southeast Chapter and CHIEF, an organization that supports women executive leaders. Ms. Brown earned her bachelor’s degree at Duke University.