We receive over a million incoming calls annually. Telephone audits have become a major priority for our organization. In this ever-challenging environment of healthcare, organizations consistently evaluate the quality of care delivery across the care continuum. Healthcare organizations throughout the country strive for ways to improve their delivery and differentiate themselves in this highly competitive market. Patient access to ambulatory care mainly presents via the telephone where consultation and advice to our patients occurs. This communication between a nurse and patient or a patient’s family member is remarkable in that life-changing interactions can transpire.
Quality telehealth interventions are an important care modality for the RN and LVN in ambulatory care. In the past, our organization audited mainly for documentation which allowed management to identify and correct issues. However, this manual process can be limited and labor intensive as an intermittent clinical-based telephone audit. It only allowed documentation to be validated.
One of the most difficult areas to audit are incoming and outgoing telephone communications with patients. The first step in telephone auditing started in our contact center. Team leads conducted telephone auditing for customer service on their non-licensed staff. As an incidental finding, some of their calls captured nurses as they interacted with the call center staff. After listening to several patient and staff interactions, as well as receiving some patient complaints, the nursing steering committee met to revamp the auditing process. Once a plan was devised, it was presented to the organizational leadership for buy-in.
The new process allows all calls to be recorded and audited in real time. Audits are conducted by listening to actual calls scoring for the quality of accuracy, call management, communication/documentation, and professionalism. Upon competition of each audit, they are immediately sent to the employee and supervisor for review with the recording attached.
The benefits of auditing patient calls are numerous. We are now able to monitor and analyze the staff’s skills. This enhances service quality, the ability to provide accurate and complete messages reflecting the patient’s needs, or resolve disputes. By having accurate data that pinpoints errors in patient fulfillment, issues can be remedied, common staff errors can be recognized, and supplemental training and education can be provided. Audit scores reflect the improved quality in call management and documentation. The initiative also resulted in reported positive patient experiences.
An inquiry was sent out to multiple national professional organizations to seek information on real-time electronic auditing practices. It was evident that electronic telephone auditing is virtually non-existent, and we are proud to be at the forefront of this cutting-edge technology in the ambulatory care setting. Utilizing telephone electronic audits allows us to provide clinical staff and leadership throughout our organization non-biased evidence-based data.
Within this poster, the learner will visualize the processes used to build templates, reports generated, and recommendations for implementing improved processes along with increased compliance data.