Friday, September 6, 2013

What if You Were the Patient?

The 53rd Phone Call of the Day…
Your billing office receives a lot of phone calls.

Come the end of the day, hopefully your Customer Service Representatives have expended a wealth of effort to serve the patient callers that particular day. Our billing office staff are the best at what they do but by the end of the 53rd phone call that day, there are those times when one can begin to sense it’s time to recharge and pick-up tomorrow where today left off.

That’s because our staff knows that assisting your patients is a huge responsibility and represents your department in the patient’s time of need.

Do all of your staff members really understand how important patient interactions really are?

What if…
What if you were the patient on the other end of receiving service from your EMS department?

Would things look a whole lot different if you were on the outside looking in? Would things look a whole lot different from the lying-down, looking-up side of the stretcher versus the looking-down?

We think it’s helpful to step back every now and then and try to judge the entire customer service picture from the other side of the table.

Listen first…
Do we try to be good listeners?

First, the patient needs and desperately wants to connect with a good listener. The best customer service people in any business are call takers that are good listeners, first and good talkers, second.

The goal is to communicate that we care.

Respond positively…
Second, the patient needs a positive response returned once the need has been verbalized.

Is that happening in your organization?

This principle applies to the billing office, at call intake and in the field. All levels of EMS must understand that the public looks to us for comfort in times of personal tragedy. These people must be assumed to be at their worst. We have to expect some less than positive exchanges from them.

We must always be helpful, understanding and sympathetic. Everyone must understand that patients are our business.

Rude responses, condescending replies and dismissive attitudes will only serve to undermine your entire mission which is to ease the suffering and pain of the members of the communities we serve.

We all must remember to take a deep breath, respond to the patient as calmly as possible, and reassure the patient that you have a grasp on what he/she needs.

Sometimes just a lack of knowledge can lead to inadequate responses which are perceived by the patient to be a lack of caring. Knowledge of what we do and how we do it is the key to operating successfully at all levels of your department- in-house, outsourced… it doesn’t matter.

Take ownership and follow through…
This part is easy in the field. Once we commit to treatment, we must follow through with the commitment. It’s basic to what we do in EMS and we assume ownership for treatment until we deliver the patient to his/her destination.

But it can be a concept that gets lost in translation back inside the office.

Those of us who talk to patients after the run, must always be mindful that most people, many times, have a different perspective of EMS and how we do what we do than is actually the case.

Coming from the billing office’s perspective, a good example of this is that we still have people call to express their disbelief that EMS has a right to bill.

People ask us questions like; “They’re volunteers! You mean they can bill me?”

The simple way to educate and win over a wary patient population is to provide confidence to the patient that the EMS representative is committed to taking ownership of their scenario and is committed to following through with what you promise to do for them.

Is that how your billing office operates? I can tell you it’s how our billing office operates.

Follow through is key at all levels.

We may not always provide the answer the patient wants to hear, but if our interaction with them is confident and educated, the patient will walk away from the interaction with at least a level of respect that we have done everything to satisfy their need and answer their question to the best of our ability.

Take Your Job Seriously!
The bottom line here is that we all need to take our EMS jobs very seriously, at all levels of the system. The billing office is no less important to the overall picture… sometimes even more important when it comes to the public’s perception of who we are.

One of the most humbling experiences is when we become the patient. While we hope that never happens to you, becoming an EMS patient to experience things from the other end of the ambulance litter could be an eye-opening event for each of us.

How do you think you would come across to you if you were on the other end?

Don’t wait for that to happen.

Make up your mind, today, to take a step back and think like a patient. Take a critical look at how your organization comes across to the community. Ensure better EMS-patient relationships by making sure your staff; listens, responds and takes ownership and follows through.

Mission Critical at Enhanced!
Satisfied patient customers are Mission Critical at Enhanced!

We set the bar high at Enhanced Management Services when it comes to the customer service experience. Our Certified Ambulance Coder trained staff is well-educated and knowledgeable about all things ambulance billing.

If you’re a current Enhanced client, be sure to keep in touch with our Client Services staff when patients communicate needs to you. Please monitor your Enhanced PulsePoint™ notifications and respond back to us with answer to questions we pose to you. We want to be sure that we meet, and exceed the expectations of the patients you serve, as we act on your behalf.

If you’re reading this and your department isn’t an Enhanced client yet; now is the time to begin to assess how your billing office represents you on a day-to-day basis.

If after taking a critical look at your department’s situation, whether your billing staff is employed in-house or you use an outsourcing company, you find that your billing office isn’t adequately meeting the needs of your patients; chances are the reputation of your department as a whole is suffering.

Don’t let that happen. Call Enhanced today.

Our highly trained, knowledgeable and compassionate staff can help your organization portray a whole new professional and compassionate attitude to your patients. At the same time, we’ll collect more money for you too!

Sound like a win-win?

Then let’s get together to talk about ramping up your department’s customer service experience. Business Development Manager, Chuck Humphrey wants to demonstrate how your department can benefit from Enhanced’s proven customer service policies and much, much more.

Contact him today at chumphrey@enhancedms.com or by phone toll-free at (800) 369-7544 to take the first step toward developing a better billing experience for your patients.
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