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Managing a large number of calls is an ongoing challenge for Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), Altura Centers for Health, especially since the large call volume affects their staffing budget. The FQHC typically gets 18,000 to 20,000 calls a month so they initially implemented the WELL™ Health platform to help them reduce their high rate. Altura’s need to reduce call volumes, coupled with their goal to automate routine messages, decrease response times, and increase patient satisfaction made them an ideal participant to implement business messaging technology.

Altura participated in a pilot program of “Call to Text,” the new business messaging feature from WELL™ which enables patients who call their providers to continue engagement via text messaging. Call to Text works with phone systems — including GoToConnect and Cisco — and is designed to help expedite routine administrative tasks and alleviate the pressure on the call center and office staff. This kind of technology ultimately “eliminates the need to actually make a phone call and talk to someone,” explains Arnie Reynoso, Altura’s Chief Information Officer. 

WELL™ business messaging feature offers time-saving texting as an alternative 

With the Call to Text business messaging feature, instead of staying on hold or getting a callback during a phone call, the patient will receive a message with the option to choose to start a texting conversation with a staff member. The feature can also sense when a caller has abandoned the call and will send a text to the caller to invite them to start texting. Call to Text also has the ability to tell if the patient is calling from a landline and if so, it will check patient records for a mobile number, and send a text to that number. If no mobile number is listed, it will alert the office staff to call the patient via their landline.

Call to Text saves Altura 1,000 monthly abandoned calls

Altura piloted Call to Text during the COVID-19 pandemic and even though they were short-staffed, the business messaging feature enabled the call center to manage the volume of calls they typically receive. Altura’s call abandonment rate dropped from 20% to 15%, a decrease in nearly 1,000 abandoned calls per month in the first 3 months of implementing Call to Text. With the Call to Text business messaging technology, patients move from synchronous to asynchronous texting communication which allows them to keep a conversation going with their providers. This is helpful especially with busy schedules that do not allow much time for phone calls. Reynoso said, “For our patient demographics, they’re usually working eight to five, or sometimes two jobs so being on hold is quite precious time.”

Patients and staff prefer texting and business messaging

Reynoso reports that patients who started communicating with Altura via mobile messaging during the pilot often don’t use the phone anymore. Reynoso explains, “They just text us to request an appointment or a medical record. It’s pushed them in that direction.” In a patient satisfaction survey, 90% and 95% of Altura patients said they appreciated the ability to reach their providers via text. Altura’s call center staff and front office also prefer the Call to Text business messaging feature and the ability to text patients. “The staff would love for everyone to utilize the texting feature,” Reynoso says. “It’s less burdensome, and it allows them to handle multiple patients almost simultaneously.”

Read the entire case study here.