Best Practices in Employee Retention

Well into year three of COVID-19, our members are experiencing staffing shortages and challenges with retention. To help those institutions facing these problems, we surveyed our members who reported the lowest turnover rates for their access teams via our benchmarking survey -- and asked them key questions about their retention tactics. Sharing these strategies and tactics with all our members is at the core of what we offer as an association – an opportunity to learn from each other.

Internal Transfer Hold Period – most of these organizations reported that the period the employee must wait until a transfer can be made is six months. Some exceptions are made if they apply for a promotion or if the current and new departments agree to the transfer. There were a few organizations that reported no waiting period.

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Webinar: Pre-Visit Access Experience on Sept 15

Please join us for a webinar featuring experts in the Pre-Visit Access Experience. You can hear about their efforts -- and engage in a discussion with your peers about this important topic.

Speakers include: Rebecca Carey, PMP, MBA, Director, Pre-Visit Experience - Model Lines, Patient Experience, Patient Access Relationships and Standards, Enterprise Contact Center, Stanford Health Care; Justin Ko, MD, MBA, Director and Chief of Medical Dermatology, Associate Chief Quality Officer, Stanford Health Care; Alpa Vyas, Vice President & Chief Patient Experience Officer, Stanford Health Care; Philip N Quick, MPS, CHAM, Vice President, Access Operations, Rush University Medical Center; and Patrick Healy, Director of Enterprise Registration and Scheduling, University of Pennsylvania Health System

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Hiring Out-of-State Contact Center Employees

By Elizabeth Woodcock, Executive Director

Work-from-home is here to stay, but the transition isn’t easy. University of Maryland Faculty Physicians’ Director of Patient Access Services, Lori Bruelheide, MBA reports that the new model means new challenges related to employees: “Being late to work still exists – we’ve traded the excuses related to traffic to problems with technology.” To mitigate these challenges, Lori – and the two other panelists who joined her at the PAC’s webinar on Work (Far) from Home – supply the equipment for their remote associates. Scott O’Neil, the VP of Patient Access and Service at University of Vermont Health Network not only sends the telecommunications and computing equipment, but also a desk and a chair. The University of Vermont is now recruiting from all 50 states as a response to the labor pandemic. With such a sparsely populated state, Vermont is particularly impacted by the staffing shortages that are affecting health systems across the nation. O’Neil exclaimed that the applicant pool “blew up” after opening applications from all states, concluding, “This [out-of-state hiring] isn’t new – it’s just new to us in healthcare.”

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Building the Patient Access Habit

By: Kevin Pawl and Susan Flath Sporn, Boston's Children Hospital

It’s no surprise to anyone that after the past few years of pandemic disruption to normal hospital operations, it is time to begin to reset expectations and best practices. The Patient Access world we lived in during 2019 is now different in 2022; patient backlogs are common, wait times while acceptable during active Covid response time were better are now getting worse, clinics are short staffed, and patients expect the flexibility Virtual Visits offered them over the past 3 years.

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Member Spotlight: Derek Rust, Project Manager, Dartmouth Health

Our first Member Spotlight is on Derek Rust, a Project Manager at Dartmouth Health. Learn more about Derek below. Want to be a part of our PAC Member Spotlight? Fill out the form here.

How long have you been a member of the Patient Access Collaborative?:  About 7 months

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Appointment Durations Report: Building a Strong Template Foundation

Appointment durations set the tempo for not only the provider template but all clinical operations. The workflows of the registration desk and patient work-up stations, the rooming process, provider time with the patient, discharge and check-out activity all drive off the appointment durations of the template. Optimally timed appointment durations are key to a well functioning clinic, 

Appointment durations are typically presented in minutes as "new" (longer) and "established" (shorter) time slots.  Common durations are 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, and 60 minutes; the time is built into the template based on the selected duration. Because time cannot be used concurrently and is perishable by nature, the manner in which slots are constructed is a leading factor in the volume of patients managed in an ambulatory practice that uses an appointment template. The appointment slots are, in essence, the seats on the airplane. Data regarding industry norms by specialty can be useful in constructing or reviewing your templates. Consider gathering the industry norm as you sit down with leaders at your organization; if the durations you are using vary from the norm, this may lead to a fruitful dialogue about whether there should be a difference -- or if this data may present evidence to justify a change. 

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Welcome New PAC Member: Houston Methodist

Please welcome our newest organizational member: Houston Methodist!

Houston Methodist comprises a leading academic medical center in the Texas Medical Center and six community hospitals serving the Greater Houston area. Each hospital is staffed by committed personnel who exemplify our I CARE values: integrity, compassion, accountability, respect and excellence. Patient safety, quality and service are our highest priorities.

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