Case Study: TELErhythmics

Technology has enabled companies like TELErhythmics take patient monitoring outside hospital walls. But TELErhythmics needed technology that could keep up with the new communication demands this paradigm demands. Call recording and recall are essential when people’s health is at stake. So TELErhythmics set out to upgrade their systems that would lead to some unexpected benefits.

At A Glance:

Situation:

  • 400-500 calls per day
  • Need for warm, calm demeanor
  • Difficulty locating specific calls
  • Limited call storage duration
  • High need for accuracy
  • Solution:

  • MiVoice Call Recording
  • MiContact Center Quality Management
  • Results:

  • Improved quality of service
  • Simplified dispute resolution
  • Greater patient retention
  • Enhanced call search functionality
  • Verifying patient agreements
  • Clarifying interactions between staff and insurance companies

Organization

TELErhythmics is an independent diagnostic laboratory that performs outpatient cardiac monitoring services. The company’s services are primarily enlisted by physicians and cardiologists dealing with patients experiencing what are known as “transient symptoms” for heart problems.

A patient may need to call TELErhythmics’ staff to report further symptoms, which may trigger TELErhythmics’ nurses to notify the cardiac MD or enlist emergency assistance. Other services TELErhythmics offers include pacemaker performance and battery life monitoring and short-term around-the-clock heart monitoring.

Situation

TELErhythmics staff manages 400-500 calls per day and has long seen the value of call recording as part of its operations. The benefits of recording staff interactions for TELErhythmics are:

  • Training staff to ensure proper demeanor and professionalism
  • Dispute resolution
  • Billing inquiries
  • Retrieval of information after the fact

Maintaining a calm and warm demeanor is essential in dealing with potential cardiac patients, according to Jan Callaway, TELErhythmics chief executive officer.

“Because the patient can’t see us,” she said, “the nurse’s voice has to come across very friendly, very welcoming, very compassionate. There’s a difference in saying, ‘Yes, ma’am,’ and the patient seeing your smile and saying, ‘Yes, ma’am,’ over the phone. Not having that visual can sometimes be misinterpreted as short or rude.”

Unfortunately, the company’s previous call recording solution was outdated and underperformed in a number of key areas. Two of the primary issues were difficulty locating specific calls and limited storage duration.

“Our old system did not keep calls more than three or four months,” Callaway said, hindering the company’s ability to make use of many legacy calls by the time they might have been needed to resolve issues or answer questions.

Solution

After consulting with the Med+Plus division of Business Computers of Memphis, TELErhythmics decided
to replace its old system with Mitel’s MiVoice Call Recording and Quality Management software.

The solution is used as a training tool to demonstrate to staff members how they are expected to perform and give them real world examples. It’s also used in the event of patient disputes or complaints regarding quality of service.

“Having Mitel’s Quality Management solution has definitely saved us business.”

Jan Callaway, Chief Executive Officer TELErhythmics

Results

While the improvements were immediate and numerous, the staff at TELErhythmics could not have known at the time that their decision would one day help save a patient’s life. A patient passed out during their test, but using the data associated with the call, TELErhythmics was able to locate the patient at their hotel and arrange for emergency help.

Mitel technology isn’t necessarily saving lives every day at TELErhythmics, but the company has found the benefits to their operations to be regular and numerous. Mitel has helped TELErhythmics ensure its staff maintains a warm, calm and professional demeanor with patients at all times. The company has also used Mitel solutions to help rectify patient disputes or complaints regarding quality of service, which can directly affect client retention.

“If a patient complains that we were rude, we can play that back for the physician and let them make their own determination,” Callaway said. “That way, it’s not one person’s word against another.”

“This is a very competitive business. So, if I’m a physician and I hear a patient complain like that, I may consider using another company. Having Mitel’s Quality Management solution has definitely saved us business. There’s no, ‘I didn’t say that.’ It’s just factual.”

The elimination of so-called “he said/she said” disputes has even ranged beyond resolving service complaints and more directly into the company’s bottom line, according to Callaway, by verifying patient agreements to pay and clarifying information exchanged between staff members and insurance company representatives.

The one benefit TELErhythmics has seen that Callaway had not expected was how quick and simple the Mitel solution makes locating a particular call.

“One thing we have loved,” Callaway said, “is our previous system did not sort calls. We can search by area code, by patient name or any other information we have. I didn’t anticipate we were going to be able to search as easily as we can.”

The benefits of recording and accessing calls with Mitel’s technology have extended beyond patient care, too. When a potential tenant tried to back out of a lease after TELErhythmics had spent almost $100,000 in build-out costs for them, TELErhythmics was able to recall and present the evidence they needed to win the case in court.

Callaway strongly advocates the advantages of Mitel solutions in healthcare settings and sees particular potential for practices to use the technology in patient relations.

“I think physicians in particular can use the system the same way we use it but in addition for things like patient teaching and patient instructions,” she said.