Imagine every seat in Ben Hill Griffin stadium filled, then emptied out and filled again. Do that for every home game played over the last seven seasons and you’ll count to 5 million. That’s a lot of Gator fans.
At 3:03 p.m. on May 26, the UF Health Physicians Patient Access Center team received its 5 millionth patient call. Jillian Munoz, a center coordinator, answered the call and her fellow coordinator Shantá Sherman answered call 5,000,001.
“This is a milestone four years in the making,” said Marvin Dewar, M.D., J.D., UF Health Physicians chief executive officer and UF College of Medicine senior associate dean. “It’s a number that represents a culmination of hard work and many patients served. The center’s impact on the UF Health system has been positive and significant, and we’re grateful for the team’s ceaseless dedication and talent.”
The team handles incoming patient calls, faxes and referrals, and provides scheduling, customer service and real-time problem-solving for callers. The team of 119 fields calls for nearly all UF Health Physicians practices, the GatorAdvantage hotline and concierge services at UF Health and Oak Hammock at UF, as well as mammography scheduling and inquiries for the UF Health Shands Hospital Radiology department.
They also triage online patient inquiries from UFHealth.org, and route referrals from the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center. Calls range from complicated appointment scheduling for a family of children with special needs, to relaying messages from patients to clinical providers.
The center is divided into eight work teams, called pods, which provide services to groups of internal customers. Each pod has one supervisor and between nine and 22 agents.
“Our agents are often the first point of contact for new patients, and we get to know many of our established patients over time,” said Kelly Kerr, senior director. “Whether they’re new to the system, or have a new problem, our goal is to make them feel safe and welcome, and to make sure their journey through the system is the best it can be, every single time.”
Staff engagement is a priority at the Patient Access Center, to help build teamwork and manage stress. An active social agenda includes awards, recognitions and get-togethers to boost camaraderie and contribute to the center’s consistent Tier One Employee Engagement Survey rating.
“Many of our agents have advanced degrees and find the fast-paced, change-oriented atmosphere here to be a good staging ground to launch their careers within UF Health,” said Mary Ellen Frey, operations coordinator. “We believe that by empowering the agents here, we foster an environment where they can really make a difference for the patients and family members on the phone.”
By the numbers:
Some of the Patient Access Center’s statistics in its
first four years:
average time to
answer each call
call abandonment rate