Healthcare IT Provider Uses RingCentral’s Engage Voice to Connect Patients to Their Care Teams on Their Terms
Path Forward is a healthcare BPO (business process outsourcing) specialist, offering comprehensive IT services to physician practices and hospital systems. The company’s wide range of tools and services include EHR (Electronic Health Records) optimization, automated patient scheduling, IT risk management, and an outsourced patient-access contact center that operates 24/7. The company serves clients in more than 30 states.
When Patients Call in, Path Forward Knows Who They Are and How to Help — Setting a New Standard for Customer Service in the Medical Industry
Path Forward, a provider of outsourced medical IT services, is on a mission to help the healthcare industry improve the patient experience. With 600 agents answering 5 million patient calls each year for physician practices and other healthcare clients throughout the country, the company is making real progress toward that goal.
But to truly address the unique needs of medical practices and patients, Path Forward needed to find a more sophisticated and flexible contact-center solution than the one they were using before.
“Now we can have people working from anywhere, making it easier for us to offer 24/7 live service to our clients, which helps them compete with the bigger health organizations.”
founder and CEO
“We needed a contact-center solution that would allow our clients to offer patient service that was even better than the big guys are offering.”
founder and CEO
“When I researched the industry, it became clear RingCentral Engage Voice was the only solution capable of giving us this level of flexibility and customization.”
founder and CEO
“Path Forward built custom code for our RingCentral Engage service, allowing us to create a unique number that an orthopedic practice can give to their local high schools, which will get those callers priority access to their orthopedic doctor.”
founder and CEO
“RingCentral is helping Path Forward be the ‘unblocker’ for our medical-practice clients, helping them use these great digital tools to provide the best possible patient experience.”
founder and CEO
A general-purpose contact center didn’t allow for an outstanding patient experience.
“When they think of outstanding customer service, physicians and health practices understandably focus on providing great clinical care,” says Nick Recker, Path Forward’s founder and CEO. “But there’s another side to the patient experience that’s also important for creating loyal customers — empowering the patient to easily reach and communicate with their doctor’s office. At Path Forward, we take on this part of the relationship for our healthcare clients, so they can focus on delivering great care.”
As Path Forward grew and took on more medical-practice clients, the company discovered that its ability to create an outstanding, personalized patient experience was limited by the phone solution its agents were using.
“Patient inquiries to physician practices are often very different from calls to other businesses,” Recker explains. “Calling your oncologist is usually a lot more stressful and urgent than calling a retailer about a product return. We needed a contact-center solution that would allow Path Forward’s agents to handle these calls quickly and efficiently for our clients’ patients, while giving every one of them a personalized experience.”
This new approach is known as value-based care and it’s the way Recker thinks the medical industry, which has been notoriously behind in customer service best practices, is headed. Patients are beginning to demand the same level of customer care that they’ve come to expect in other consumer-based industries.
“Many of the physician practices we represent compete against large hospital networks. We needed a contact-center solution that would allow our clients to offer patient service that was even better than the big organizations are offering.”
Unfortunately, Path Forward’s legacy phone system and contact-center application weren’t flexible enough to make this happen. “There were so many features and custom workflows we wanted to implement so our agents could deal effectively with the most common types of healthcare calls,” recalls Recker. “When I researched the industry, it became clear that RingCentral Engage Voice was the only solution capable of giving us this level of flexibility and customization.”
Path Forward’s customized RingCentral solution improves the patient experience and earns new business for the company.
Using RingCentral’s APIs and its own custom code, Path Forward developed tools and features to best serve its clients and their patients—including custom experiences for VIP callers, skill-based routing, and advanced queue monitoring for healthcare-specific use cases.
“Because RingCentral Engage is built on an open API platform, we were able to completely customize our contact-center scripts and workflows for healthcare use cases,” says Recker.
A custom experience for orthopedic calls helps Path Forward’s clients improve their service to patients.
“Orthopedic practices make up one of our biggest client categories, and one of the most common types of orthopedic patient is an injured high school football player. But our clients were losing out on most of these new patients, because those players were going to an ER or urgent-care facilities. So, Path Forward built custom code for our RingCentral Engage service, allowing us to create a unique number that an orthopedic practice can give to their local high schools, which will get those callers priority access to their orthopedic doctor. That feature is really helping our clients improve their offerings to patients.”
RingCentral’s work-from-anywhere capability improves Path Forward’s operations.
Additionally, because RingCentral is cloud-based and enables calls and other forms of communication from a computer or any internet device, Path Forward has also been able to more easily hire home-based workers to join its growing staff of agents. “Now we can have people working from anywhere, making it easier for us to offer 24/7 live service to our clients, which helps them compete with the bigger health organizations,” says Recker.
Finally, with the detailed call data available through RingCentral’s analytics portal, Path Forward is able to give its clients more visibility than they’ve ever had into their own call volume and traffic patterns. “This business intelligence we’re able to offer is helping our clients more efficiently staff their own offices,” Recker explains. “That’s just one more example of how RingCentral is helping Path Forward be the ‘unblocker’ for our medical-practice clients, helping them use these great tools to provide the best possible patient experience.”