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Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for healthcare organizations to provide world-class patient access experiences. Hospitals and health systems that prioritized such initiatives prior to the pandemic were already organized and able to rapidly adapt to the changing environment while maintaining telephonic and virtual accessibility for their patients and families. Mobilizing an at-home workforce was simple (if not already done!). These organizations had the infrastructure in place to create pop-up COVID-19 and related crisis lines and were better positioned to manage and forecast the needs of their population by monitoring incoming contact data.

While healthcare organizations that have yet to launch a comprehensive patient access strategy have risen to the unprecedented occasion, leveraging an existing, high-performing patient access center would have lightened the operational lift and expedited the ability to maintain customer service standards during this stressful period.

It is no secret that patients are consumers with a growing number of healthcare provider options. Healthcare organizations are investing significant resources into creating a superior patient and family experience to set themselves apart and become the provider of choice in their market and even beyond. Everything from building state-of-the-art facilities to minor process improvements are on the table, but the most successful organizations prioritize creating a consistent and reliable brand that their patients grow to trust.

This patient access opportunity begins at the front door. Can I, as a patient, easily make an appointment for a time that works within my schedule? Was my call answered timely? Better yet, may I schedule an appointment online? Will my referral to a specialist be pre-authorized before my appointment?

Several healthcare organizations have implemented advanced and high-performing, centralized front office centers that ensure a consistently stellar experience. Others have attempted and fallen short.

This whitepaper details the common missteps organizations should avoid in order to develop and sustain transformational change in ambulatory front office services via standardization and centralization.

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