Four Steps to Improve Patient Engagement During a Crisis

Learn how call center transformation helped Piedmont Healthcare grow through the pandemic.
 
August 14, 2020. 3.5 MIN READ
As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, Piedmont Healthcare’s call center was inundated with calls from concerned community members. Georgia’s largest healthcare provider realized it urgently needed a triage process to help its COVID-19 call center handle the drastic increase in inquiries and ensure patients received the level of care they required.
 
“We needed to operate as one health system, even though we have 11 hospitals and hundreds of access points. And we had to serve patients consistently, even though they had different needs.”
 
Katie Logan
Vice President, Experience
In four steps, Piedmont Healthcare transformed its call center to stabilize and then grow its capacity to engage with customers.
1. Streamline call center triage process at scale.

When COVID-19 hit, Piedmont Healthcare had just launched a pilot of Health Cloud in its contact center, using the technology to help agents handle routine calls like requests for appointments.

With the help of Salesforce partner Slalom, Piedmont developed new COVID-related call scripting and flows for Health Cloud and scaled it throughout the organization in three days. The call scripting enabled nurses and call center agents to ask callers standardized questions about risk, exposure, and active symptoms, and then quickly guide them to the right level of care.

The solution included setting up a COVID-19 hotline and training more than 80 triage nurses and contact center agents to use the platform in the same short period. All were new to Health Cloud.

Within five hours of Piedmont Healthcare deploying the new technology, its team members had logged and triaged more than 150 calls. The solution was quickly scaled up, with 80 nurses and 70 agents onboarded within weeks.

2. Deploy changes in real time to ensure information is always current.
As guidance and standards relating to COVID-19 have continued to evolve, Piedmont Healthcare has used Salesforce’s solution to deploy real-time changes to scripts and process flows. This ensures team members always have the most up-to-date information to pass on to patients. This includes critical information for employers and employees about safely returning to work.
“With information changing every day — sometimes multiple times a day — Salesforce has been integral in our ability to operate.”
 
Katie Logan
Vice President, Experience
Call scripting allowed Piedmont to use nurses who aren’t normally part of its call center team to help triage calls. The team was able to quickly establish its command center and adapt easily as information around COVID-19 evolved.
3. Tailor dashboards to turn patient data into valuable insights.

As part of the project, Slalom developed a dashboard that triage nurses and call center agents used to track and manage patients calling about care related to COVID-19.

Using the dashboard, Piedmont Healthcare can track customer data, including the volume of calls, patient source (new or existing), call source, COVID-19 travel destinations, symptoms, and outcomes. These valuable insights are helping it assess demand for healthcare services in real time, making it easier to ensure it has the right staffing levels and other resources to care for patients.

4. Engage with patients systematically to resume normal services.

As virus-related restrictions were lifted and people started returning to work, Piedmont Healthcare leveraged Salesforce’s agility and ability to scale to help restore normal services in its facilities and rebuild revenue.

In addition to continuing to handle calls about COVID-19, Piedmont Healthcare is proactively engaging with patients whose routine care was interrupted due to the outbreak, or who had elective surgeries canceled or postponed.

Piedmont has been able to approach this in a systematic and coordinated way, thanks to Salesforce. This has involved deploying new workflows, call scripts, and measures to help contact the thousands of patients who need to be rescheduled.

“We’ve been able to look at the cases that were postponed, identify which ones are more time sensitive, and use marketing to begin patient outreach."
 
Katie Logan
Vice President, Experience

The company is using Marketing Cloud to send tailored marketing communications to patients, including emails and text messages.

“One of the first things we did was push out an email to our entire database saying, ‘It’s safe, we’re here to help you reschedule,’ creating an access point to open the conversation,” said Logan.

As normal services resume, Piedmont Healthcare is also using Salesforce to gather insights into why patients may or may not come in for an appointment — whether that’s because they’re concerned about contracting COVID-19, or are experiencing financial difficulties or transport issues. These insights are helping Piedmont better communicate with patients and predict demand as it resumes normal services.

Marketing Cloud and marketing automation solution Pardot have proved invaluable for helping the company recover volume lost in the early stages of the pandemic, according to Andrew Chang, Piedmont Healthcare’s Executive Director of Marketing.

“We’ve seen very high response rates and conversions. We've also gained access to actionable intelligence to better refine messages, strategies, and tactics - without spending extra dollars.”
 
Andrew Chang
Executive Director of Marketing
Now, with the conversation shifting to how people should go about their everyday lives in the ‘new normal,’ Piedmont Healthcare is using Salesforce technology to help it do what it does best — look after the health of patients and the communities it serves.
 

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