LETTER: Phone system is meant to improve patient care

In our continuing effort to improve service for our patients, Neighborcare Health has recently made some changes to our phone system and the way we connect patients to services. These changes were made across the organization on March 1 for all primary medical and dental clinics, including Neighborcare Health at Vashon. School-based health centers are currently not part of this new phone system.

By taking calls out of the busy front desks, our patient contact center will help patients quickly and easily connect to the services they need. The contact center can schedule appointments, connect patients for questions about referrals, billing, health records or prescriptions. When appropriate, patients can be connected with their clinic’s care team for questions regarding symptoms or treatment.

Just a few weeks in to this organizational change, our metrics show significant improvements of speed in connecting by phone to schedule appointments, as those taking calls are focused on just this work. Many Neighborcare patients have expressed how much faster and easier it has been.

There have also been some startup challenges, and some patients have experienced longer than expected wait times to reach someone with questions about their clinical care. We know these are few and far between, but we also know if you are the person experiencing the delay it is not a good experience. We are increasing staffing to receive these calls and ensure we meet patients’ needs.

As the contact center continues to stabilize with new and consistent staffing, we evaluate our processes daily and make adjustments to make the system better. We welcome feedback and questions from our patients about changes and service. You can email me at meredithv@neighborcare.org. Thank you for trusting Neighborcare Health with your care.

— Meredith Vaughan, MHA

Chief Operating Officer

Neighborcare Health

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