How a Work-From-Home Program is Proving Valuable in Response to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a wide-ranging impact on the world, on the economy and on the healthcare system. Many hospitals are responding by enabling certain roles like patient access and case management personnel to work remotely – keeping employees healthy, productive and connected as they manage the influx of those needing care.
Vyne Medical and our Trace® platform provides an integrated suite of voice, fax, and image solutions that users can access virtually anywhere, allowing hospitals to sustain continuity of care regardless of the location of their employees. Over the last few years, several hospital and health system clients have successfully used Trace to empower their teams to work remotely.
In response to COVID-19 many more clients have begun to leverage this capability. To help create a more seamless transition from office to home, Vyne Medical provides a variety of solutions including options for Trace Voice recording.
Moffitt Cancer Center’s Work-From-Home Program
Moffitt Cancer Center has had a work-from-home program in place for several years. Prior to the social distancing measures encouraged by the CDC in response to COVID-19, 42 of Moffitt’s 210 Patient Access employees were working remotely. As of March 1, 2020, all but 10 of those employees had transitioned to work from home, including many of the organization’s new hires.
Over the years Moffitt Cancer Center has had a work-from-home program in place, they have identified several benefits including increased employee retention and satisfaction, reduced absenteeism, enhanced communication consistency, and a 10 percent increase in employee productivity. While the program requires due diligence for management and added considerations around security measures, Moffitt Cancer Center’s Director of Patient Access calls Trace a “game-changer” for her team.
“The solution helps us quickly uncover and overcome any hiccups in our process,” said Lynne Hildreth. “Issues that would have previously taken months to identify are now addressed and resolved after reviewing just a couple of phone calls.”
Already having a work-from-home program in place enabled Moffitt Cancer Center to stay ahead of the curve in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With proven experience and best practices in-hand, scaling up from a 20 percent to 95 percent remote workforce was a seamless transition and a big win for the organization as they maintained productivity while protecting the safety of their employees.
“Having quality and productivity measures in place has been even more critical in this social distancing situation,” said Lynne. “With our patient volumes fluctuating, we’ve been able to use these tools to assess our team’s productivity in real-time. And with screen recording and audio search functionality we can also monitor the quality of our team member’s interactions with patients.”
Q&A with Lynne Hildreth, Director of Patient Access at Moffitt Cancer Center
In our recent webinar “Work-From-Home Solutions for Healthcare Employees in Response to COVID-19”, participants asked Lynne Hildreth, our client thought leader, questions about Moffitt Cancer Center’s work-from-home program, learning from her team’s proven best practices and outcomes. We feature a selection of those questions and answers in the information below.
Q: How did you get upper management to buy in to sending employees home to work?
Lynne: We needed to have a strong business case to support sending employees home to work – that’s where having the quality and productivity measures in place was essential. Also having those candidates working in the office for a good six months gave us a demonstrated track record and a baseline of productivity data. Moreover, it allowed us to use working from home as an incentive to be earned.
Considering our current social distancing situation, having most of our employees work from home has brought our patient call abandon rates way down while our call volume rates remain the same. Once the next productivity report comes in, I fully expect to see that our teams have been more productive working from home.
Q: What was the biggest challenge when you started remote working?
Lynne: Getting through all the hard work to set it up. For managers, ramping up takes a lot effort. Initially we only had a couple people doing it so we could ease into it. Because of the initial investment of time, it can feel like a lot of work to develop the program even if just one or two people are working from home. You’re taking a leap of faith that it’s going to be successful. But if you don’t put in the time to make it successful and have a really strong foundation, you won’t have the option of moving more team members to work from home.
Q: How do you maintain a secure physical environment?
Lynne: We want our employees to work in a dedicated space in their homes. It doesn’t have to be an office per se, but we’d like them to have a desk. We ask that they send in a photograph of their workspace so we know they have an ergonomically appropriate working condition since workers’ compensation claims can still happen from the home office. We really wanted to make sure they were set up for success.
Q: How do you track the productivity of your staff remotely?
Lynne: For each team member we pull data from Trace, and our scheduling system combines that information with hours worked from our payroll system and enters it all into a database. Not all actions are scored equally. We give different weights to various activities and bring those into the same model to calculate a productivity score for each team member. That way we can consider the different types of activities that each person does and really ensure that we have a nice blended productivity score for our team members based on activity in Trace and our other software system.
From there we have different levels – we call them tiers – of team members. Folks with consistently strong scores are in tier one, which means they’re getting a lower number of quality reviews each month. Employees in tiers two and three get more reviews each month so they can get more feedback and improve their performance. This additional attention is meant to help them improve and eventually move up to tier one.
And as an added benefit, we use recorded calls for training new staff members. We take those recordings of great team member interactions and share them with new hires to show them what a great call should sound like.
Q: What are the benefits of having a work-from-home program when there isn’t a crisis pressuring us to let our staff work remotely?
Lynne: I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had a situation come up before this that we’ve been glad to have employees working from home. Whether it’s construction or weather related – it’s great to have the flexibility to quickly scale up a remote team to keep operations running seamlessly.
As hospitals respond to COVID-19 and identify departments that can work remotely, technology will be essential to maintaining productivity and staying connected beyond the hospital’s four walls. Most importantly, as we look ahead beyond today’s pandemic, hospitals must prepare for tomorrow’s emergency. Vyne Medical is dedicated to providing hospitals with the tools their staff needs to work productively and with high quality from anywhere.
To view a recording of the webinar, “Work-From-Home Solutions for Healthcare Employees in Response to COVID-19,” click here.
Contact us to schedule a call with one of our Vyne Medical healthcare solution experts today.