Data Utilization and Root Cause Analysis within the Healthcare Contact Center

In a fast-paced work environment, problems are often amplified and exacerbated due to a lack of visibility of the root cause of the issue. A true understanding of a situation requires visibility and clarity on the subjects or processes being observed. In my experience as a performance optimization consultant, this can be a major challenge for healthcare organizations; there is often hidden complexities between the interrelated processes and systems that remain unseen.

Complex problems need to be cured at the source, and efforts should not be placed solely on reducing the obvious symptoms. It is not uncommon for traditional problem-solving techniques to capture anecdotal events from the perspectives of its participants, which can leave room for bias depending on the problem being examined.  

Continuous Improvement

At RelateCare, we use a combination of continuous improvements methods and system data to tell the true and unbiased story of employee activity and performance when analysing the root cause of a problem. Observing data from various systems and reviewing trends over time allow us to get a clear and concise view of performance current state, while also setting the scene for potential areas for improvement.

Proactively leveraging system data from our technological solutions and continuously evaluating performance can allow us to incorporate powerful insights into management reporting. This allows us to move away from problem solving and towards problem prevention, which is the ultimate goal.

Put to the test

Having the right information, in front of the right person, at the right time is essential to operational excellence within the healthcare contact center. Having a clear visual of current state supports decision making and allows us to focus on key areas where we can achieve the most significant improvements.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, RelateCare embarked on a workforce transformation project, transitioning to a remote workforce at a large scale. A key component to the success of this transformation was an optimized productivity reporting framework. This involved the design of new performance indicators and daily delivery of staff activity. Despite the large scale of this change to the staffing model and employee culture, RelateCare saw agent productivity improve by 15% for one of our larger outsourcing programs.

It is important to choose metrics that fit best for the situation. Objectives, risks, and environment should be considered when choosing key performance indicators when faced with any large-scale change or transformation.

Looking Forward

We often hear that contact centers are data rich however it is unfortunate that this readily available data isn’t leveraged regularly enough to drive informed decision making across an enterprise. The effective utilization of data from various systems can allow us to understand behaviors and outcomes over time and can provide a clear direction for continuous improvement. Understanding data allows us to see where we are, and what we could be which is key for identifying potential and opportunities for improvement in performance.

Richie Dawson is a key member of RelateCare’s Lean Continuous Improvement Division and works as performance optimization consultant focussing on process improvement initiatives within RelateCare’s contact centers and client-partner organizations. With a strong background in contact center operations including training and quality assurance, Richie provides healthcare organizations leadership with invaluable insights and management intelligence underpinned by Lean six-sigma and change management methodologies. To date, Richie’s work has helped client-partner organization increase revenue, reduce costs and effectively improve processing times. Richie is a Lean Yellow Belt, Certified National Association of Healthcare Access Management Access Associate and is currently completing his master’s degree in Lean Business and Enterprise and the Waterford Institute of Technology.