How many functions can a phone call serve? Outbound calling in healthcare is a great way to reduce no-shows, increase appointment volume, and improve the patient experience. But if your healthcare system has yet to develop a strategy using outbound calling to increase healthcare quality metrics, now is the time to start.
Outbound calling can directly help health systems and clinics bring in additional revenue through quality bonuses. Reaching your patients at key moments in their care journeys ensures that they get their recommended health screenings, control of their high blood pressure, and more. Outbound calling can maximize quality of care and boost key healthcare quality metrics for your health system or clinic. The result? Better metrics, higher star ratings, increased competitiveness with other health systems, and quality bonuses from multiple payers.
Three Key Avenues to Boost Healthcare Quality Metrics Through Phone Calls
There are countless ways to use phone calls to benefit your health system and your patient population – from appointment reminders to telehealth. Here are four ways you can use phone calls specifically to boost your healthcare quality metrics… and watch the quality bonuses start coming in.
- Patient Outreach
What happens with the lists of attributed patients your health system or clinic receives from payers? Many patients assigned to an accountable care organization (ACO) do not even realize they are assigned to that system. Instead, they may seek care outside of the ACO, not knowing or understanding the network. The result – patient leakage – can put ACOs’ quality metrics at risk.
Systems, clinics, and ACOs alike can remedy this by getting in touch with attributed patients from the beginning. A phone call can be a great introduction to your organization, and it’s a highly effective way to bring new patients in for a wellness visit or new primary care appointment.
- Patient Inreach
Outbound calling is also a great way to reach your existing patients – those patients who already have established relationships with your system or clinic but have not been engaged for a while. About 10 percent of patients are dissatisfied with their current providers, and a large part of that comes down to the communication they receive from them.
Perhaps a patient is overdue for a screening, or perhaps he or she is high-risk. Either way, a phone call can reactivate your least-engaged patients and increase the quality of care you provide.
- Follow Up
Following up with patients after an appointment, and especially after they are discharged from the hospital, is one of the most effective ways to increase high-quality outcomes and decrease readmissions. During the call, you can review the patient’s discharge or care plan, schedule a follow up or referral appointment, and even check in on the patient’s condition.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Re-Engineered Discharge Toolkit cites a follow-up phone call as a key step to improving outcomes and reducing hospital readmissions. A research review found that leveraging telephone follow up in care coordination also reduced hospital readmissions. Taking the time to follow up can promote better health for your patients in addition to improving your quality scores.
Prioritizing Healthcare Quality Metrics
Value-based care is increasingly becoming expected of health systems and clinics. More and more insurers are stepping up the pressure on providers to enter into risk-based contracts. In 2020, payments tied to alternative payment methodologies increased nearly 25 percent from five years prior.
There is money on the table for providers who are focusing on healthcare quality metrics. Medicare Advantage alone has paid out over $47.5 billion in quality payments since 2015. Countless private insurers are also offering incentives to providers to meet or surpass quality of care benchmarks – from pay for performance bonuses to shared savings arrangements. A strategic focus on key quality of care indicators can bring in significant revenue for both systems and clinics.
A Giant Leap in Star Ratings
One New England healthcare system used outbound calling to gain a 2.25 increase in their Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating.
The system had developed an organization-wide priority to increase its star rating, setting the goal of surpassing 4 stars. They knew that increasing their star rating would generate multiple benefits – increased market share, more competitive clinician recruitment, and additional revenue through quality bonuses. System leadership decided to focus on two key areas with room for improvement – increasing care gap compliance through better Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) rates and improved medication adherence in the areas of diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol.
Using Actium Health CENTARITM, the health system targeted patient audiences overdue for an AWV as well as audiences with low medication adherence scores. Then, they used the CENTARI outbound calling solution to track and report on outbound calls. Combining highly precise patient audiences with the personal touch of a phone call, the system was able to reach their patients who would benefit most from their intervention.
The result? Not only did the system increase their star rating to 4.25 (and 5 for most medication adherence measures), they were awarded their first quality bonus for $150,000.
Additional results included –
- 62% conversion rate to patients making appointments
- 4.8X increase in annual wellness visits
- 14% increase in breast cancer screening compliance
- 13% increase colorectal cancer screening compliance
For this health system, calling patients directly to bring them in for care launched them from a state of lagging quality of care metrics to becoming a quality leader in their region.
Reach Patients the Way They Want to be Reached
Using the personal touch of a phone call to connect with your patient population may be the most powerful tool providers have to boost healthcare quality metrics. A strategic approach to reaching patients in need of care that comprises hyper-targeted, dynamic audiences in addition to intelligent call-tracking and monitoring of outcomes will turn your health system or clinic into a quality leader.
Interested in using an outbound calling solution to prioritize your healthcare quality metrics? Touch base with the Actium Health team today.