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Management Data Is Key to Kaiser Medical Center's Quality Services.

At Kaiser Permanente Medical facilities, obtaining the highest degree of accessibility via the telephone is a continuing commitment. It's a commitment that requires a combination of the proper telephone personnel and call-handling equipment, plus an effective method of evaluating the performance of telephone attendants and the use of physical resources.

The Kaiser Permanente Medical Facility in Bellflower, California accommodates about 400 in-patient beds and has offices for nearly 300 full-time physicians. The operation is representative of other Kaiser medical facilities in that the center processes an extremely large number of incoming calls directed to a variety of departments.

To ensure the smooth flow of incoming telephone traffic, minimize the possibility of long holding times and dropped calls, and heighten the productivity of phone personnel, the Bellflower facility relies heavily on multi-line announcer call-sequencing and management information systems that streamline call-handling and assist in comprehensive, daily evaluation of both telephone personnel and equipment.

The multi-line announcers are employed in smaller clinics during off-hours and, though individual applications at the medical center vary, the sequencers are used primarily in appointment services, where large volumes of callers vie for available personnel and equipment.

Implemented as replacements for older ACD equipment, the sequencers answer calls with a pre-recorded message, assure callers their calls will be processed in the exact order received, and indicate to attendants the number of calls waiting as well as the "next priority" call. Handles Special Messages

In the physician message centers, where the volume of calls is typically less than that of the medical facility's appointment services, the sequencers serve an additional purpose. During off-hours or at other times when the members of a particular physician office are are unavailable, special or "night" messages can be used in the sequencer. Easily changed to meet varying circumstances, the tapes can deliver the appropriate message and refer callers to another number in emergency situations, allowing significant reductions in telephone attendant staffing requirements.

The telephone management information systems used at the Kaiser facility are made by Oakland, California-based Automation Electronics Corporation (AEC), which also manufactures the multi-line announcers and call-sequencing equipment.

The medical center currently uses three AEC TMIS Telephone Management Information Systems to establish criteria for the level of service to callers--with pre-determined costs of that service--and to determine on a continuing basis to what extent those objectives are met.

The information available through the TMIS equipment covers more than 30 categories of station and line data. Included in printed reports are the number of directly answered calls; number of calls taken from sequencer hold; numbers of calls abandoned during ringing, sequencer hold and key system hold; total talk times; and average talk times. Reports also show--by individual station--the number of incoming calls placed on key system hold, as well as the total and average waiting times of such calls. Outgoing call data includes the number of calls, the total time spent in outgoing calls and their average duration.

Beyond aiding in proper staffing for incoming telephone traffic, the TMIS systems enable the Bellflower Facility to adjust traffic and trunking in various areas of the facility. Monitoring telephone operations with the equipment has frequently resulted in the actual removal of lines for cost reductions--without jeopardizing service levels--or the configuration of phone facilities using additional rotaries to further improve service.

In each area where a TMIS system has been used, the information supplied has led to improved service levels coupled with reduced telephone costs. Attendant productivity has risen, fewer calls are lost, and the average holding time for callers has dropped significantly.

To the medical center's management, telephone personnel and patients, the call-handling and telephone management systems are an assurance that calls coming into the facility will be handled promptly, efficiently and cost-effectively.
COPYRIGHT 1984 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Communications News
Date:Jul 1, 1984
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