“This Call Is Being Recorded for Quality Assurance:” The Importance of Call Recording for Health Systems
Authored by Meg Michael – CNIO & VP of Client Services, Vyne Medical for Healthcare IT Today — July 26, 2021
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the phrase, “This call is being recorded for quality assurance,” I’d be living large. The fact is, businesses around the globe record thousands of calls every day to ensure employees deliver the best possible service and support to their customers.
More and more organizations are standardizing their processes to create consistent experiences for all clients, guests and prospects. Quality reviews help leaders confirm that standards are being met and address areas needing improvement. This same trend has become increasingly popular in healthcare as health systems seek to deliver consistent, high-quality experiences during every patient encounter.
Driving accountability across the health system
Call recording holds all parties accountable to what they’ve said, while adding clarity to healthcare processes. With call recording, health systems can easily address the question of what was or wasn’t said and by whom. Conversations about whether or not a patient was provided adequate information before coming in for a visit, procedure, or surgery might be particularly important to hospitals as they seek to capture critical details and call notes.
With call recording in place – clinicians, caregivers and patient service representatives understand that they must be clear and concise when providing patients with instructions. Team leaders can listen to and evaluate recordings, learning from these conversations as they work to become more consistent in conveying instructions to patients.
Recording conversations with patients also provides evidence to ensure standards are enforced and evaluate opportunities for improvement. This ongoing learning process can lead to significant improvements in call quality and service delivery.
As a result of call recording and its cascading impacts, employee training delivery and consumption can also improve. If health systems experience issues with patient communication, leaders can leverage call recordings to identify areas of opportunity and improve internal processes and service offerings. Conversations can also be used for educational purposes to offer examples of better ways to communicate with patients.
One Vyne Medical customer noted that without call recording, it was a challenge to monitor and ensure quality and consistency in patient communication due to the volume of calls. However, “by doing QA checks of our recorded calls on a monthly basis, we can ensure that scheduling and registration staff are following script and providing complete and accurate information to our patients.”
Putting call recording into practice
Another hospital executive recently described how his health system is leveraging call recording in a variety of scenarios: insurance verification, call center quality assurance, physician relations, bed control and patient placement, case management, claims authorization and denial reductions, and to confirm appointments.
Based on these uses, the health system changed the way it handles calls. It now scripts some calls, monitors wait times, reports to a “quality council,” and requires that each appointment scheduler listens to a prescribed percentage of calls each month.
Health system administrators say that these actions and the programs put in place as a result of studying recordings have significantly enhanced quality and improved the organization’s bottom line.
Improving point-of-service collections
Call recording can impact hospitals financially, as well as from a service perspective. Health First, a not-for-profit health system with four hospitals, found that the content and quality of interactions with patients were critical to reducing bad debt and increasing point-of-service (POS) collections. Similarly, Moffitt Cancer Center, a Florida health system, recognized a need to redesign front-end workflows to improve operational efficiency, financial integrity, and patient experience.
The simple step of recording phone calls has saved these health systems time and money and helped improve relationships with patients and the communities they serve. Additionally, more organizations are using call recordings to help refine conversational approaches to POS collections by having teams make tweaks to the way they request payments. By asking questions differently, like saying “How would you like to cover the charges for your visit?” versus “Would you be able to pay a portion of the total cost up-front?” teams are seeing improvements in upfront collections.
In healthcare, voice recordings can help mitigate against malpractice suits and medical negligence. Healthcare workers of all stripes must remain diligent about following state and federal guidelines – especially when it comes to coordinating care for minors, seniors, and others who are incapacitated or unable to speak for themselves.
When hospitals discharge these patients, they need documented proof showing that clear instructions have been communicated. Voice solutions that record verbal exchanges and link those recordings to the patient record within the EHR (or other related systems) provide critical documentation to help fight potential litigation challenges. Recordings can be used to prove that the appropriate information and instructions were delivered clearly and that they were acknowledged by the patient or guardian.
If communication between the hospital and other agencies is unclear, compromises can occur. The outcome of any fault along this path could result in legal challenges or penalties. Call recordings and linking to the patient record help provide a higher level of care that’s later verifiable. If requested, they can also share information with other agencies to help ensure that patients get appropriate follow-up care.
Capturing in-person conversations
Phone calls are just one aspect of voice recording that help health systems work towards improved quality. As more organizations get back to having in-person conversations with patients, face-to-face recordings of those interactions are increasingly important to capture. Recording and reviewing conversations between staff and patients are constructive in financial counseling, upfront collections, patient financial responsibility, registration, bedside interactions, and patient complaints and grievances. These face-to-face recordings provide yet another avenue for quality measurement and reporting.
An often-overlooked output is the voice recording of care continuation instructions provided during inpatient discharge, hospital rounds, and home or telehealth visits. An effective approach to these instructions can dramatically impact readmissions, patient outcomes and patient engagement. By recording face-to-face conversations at the bedside, hospitals can work to help ensure that they communicate effectively and employ strategies for patients to verbalize their understanding of the guidance provided.
“This call is being recorded for quality assurance” means more now than ever before. Voice recording can improve care, mitigate against litigation, ensure service levels are offered, and enhance patient experiences.
Recording conversations also helps create organizational accountability, validation structures and can lead to better documentation of care paths and protocols. The data captured from these recordings flows into the patient record, ensuring the best service and support to patients whenever possible.