Call Accounting and Recording Helps Drive Modern Patient Care
While most businesses find it useful to record all or some of their telephone calls to monitor for quality, many organizations in healthcare – doctor’s offices, hospitals and clinics – shied away from it. They may have been wary about files becoming compromised and leaking confidential patient information, but the more weighty reason was legal: they simply didn’t want “discoverable” evidence that might rule in a patient’s favor in a malpractice case.
In a recent blog post for ISI Telemanagement Solutions (News - Alert), Mark McNeill noted that many healthcare organizations are now starting to flip the coin in favor of monitoring, because recorded communications (not only calls, but logged digital communications) could actually help the organizations defend themselves in the future.
“Healthcare providers have determined that the value of having recordings of all of these patient/caregiver interactions far outweighs the risk of legal discovery,” he wrote. “In fact, many healthcare general counsel/compliance departments are encouraging recording as a way of actually reducing the hospital’s exposure in a lawsuit by clearly demonstrating that the physician, for example, did provide the correct diagnosis or medical orders – in other words, the patient was at fault!”
Recording patient-caregiver interactions isn’t a job for a basic call recording solution, however. The nature of healthcare is changing, and patients may see caregivers in person, or they may speak with them on the telephone. Increasingly, they may also use teleconferencing, smartphone apps and messaging in an effort to keep costs down, particularly in underserved, rural areas. For this reason, healthcare call monitoring and call accounting solution solutions need to be strongly omnichannel.
“During those communications, they [patients and caregivers] often share screens and documents, transfer files and whiteboard details of patient cases in order to involve subject matter experts or specialists with the goal of providing better patient care,” wrote McNeill. “Recording these communications provides significant value for healthcare.”
Healthcare organizations can use these documented interactions in a number of ways. They can send files to patients for their own records (and to ensure patients understood directives). They can also use them to bring other providers up to speed on a patient’s care. The recordings can also be used to discover “billable events” for health insurance, or to prove the healthcare provider is remaining compliant with regulations governing patient care (under HIPAA, for example).
As telehealth/telemedicine becomes more common, creating searchable records of patient-caregiver communications will help providers document patient care and comply with rules related to electronic health records. Care providers should ensure they are choosing an omnichannel solution that can be easily searched (rather than having to manually search through thousands, if not millions, of transactions) and stored, and kept secure to prevent leakage of confidential information. Collaborative call accounting solutions are giving healthcare providers the functionality and flexibility they need to practice medicine in the twenty-first century.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi