Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Conference Preview: Centralized Scheduling Panel

Session Title: Centralized Scheduling Panel

Presenters: Beth Bragalone, Pamela Ravare, Amy Tirabassi, 

Learning Lab: Series 3 - PANEL

Date/Time: May 5, 10:15 a.m.

In a unique conference preview, here we have three experts coming together to discuss centralized scheduling. Below, we hear from all three panelists on their specific expertise in this area and why the session is important for all Patient Access professionals: 

Beth Bragalone: A decentralized scheduling model within a hospital or hospital system can create inconsistencies across departments in processes, organizational structure, physician experience and, most importantly, the patient experience. These factors can cause scheduling confusion, scheduling errors, and a multitude of phone transfers that leave the patients and physicians dissatisfied.
A centralized scheduling “one-stop shop” model can increase customer service satisfaction, standardize processes within the hospital and afford ease of access to change alongside the healthcare industry. It can be an opportunity to provide patient education regarding services, insurance and financial assistance all in one phone call or setting. Having the multitude of services centralized will provide consistency and quality among departments and help reduce wait time for patients. Financially, you could see an increase in hospital reimbursement and reduction in denials. Having a centralized scheduling model expands the ability to implement a quality assurance program that follows NAHAM’s key performance indicators, helps track metrics and allows to implement changes when needed. 

Pamela Ravare: Our organization has undergone an access leadership evolution this past year. We have transitioned access accountability from a practice level to a medical group level by defining and differentiating access leadership in practice operations. We have leveraged technologies, centralized/standardized workflows and we have taken an omnichannel approach to appointment routes. 

Solving access challenges is a multidisciplinary effort. We had to gain a full understanding of our patient struggles with accessing care, identifying those areas and locations with bottlenecks around appointment scheduling, arrival and registration, wayfinding and provider delays. I would emphasize the importance of taking a hard look at access challenges from the patient’s perspective. Where are your access breakdowns? Like most hospital organizations, we faced challenges with pigeonholed leadership, fragmented decision-making and uncoordinated efforts with access initiatives in the organization. 

Amy Tirabassi: What started as a two-year plan to automate scheduling and implement protocol best practices at our hospital organization has manifested into centralized, cross-department scheduling for multiple surgical and non-surgical specialties across the organization. To get to that next level however, it was essential to foster collaboration between representatives of Patient Access, clinical operations, and a Physician Clinical Practice Association. This helped earn their trust and support for adopting best practices such as the harmonization of physician scheduling protocols and outcomes that promote getting the right patient, with the right provider, at the right cost.
Johns Hopkins has now effectively used automated scheduling for a service line that supports musculoskeletal patients and spans across multiple surgical and non-surgical specialties allowing for more efficient and effective resource allocation without decreasing appointment quality.

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