It started in November 2013 by providing Patient Transportation to five hospitals, managing 300k tasks. Now, celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month, the National Performance Center (NPC) aids the following to support daily operations and patient flow while giving time back to in-unit managers:
- 5 Compass One Healthcare (Compass One) lines of service
- 70 hospitals
- 6 million tasks
- 2 million calls
In retrospect, the NPC was an important turning point for how Compass One uses technology to deliver its services and provide its clients with data and analysis to improve its operations. By using a central communications hub in Knoxville, Tenn., and staffing it with associates knowledgeable in a specific line of service, the company found a new way to deliver high-quality, remote service that improves the customer and patient experience.
Its leaders believe the NPC has evolved into a long-term solution for any hospital in the United States.
“It Started as an Experiment”
Before the NPC, Compass One installed call centers at most hospital locations; whether it was a 50-bed community hospital or a 1,000-bed urban teaching hospital, each had in-unit call centers that were expensive to operate and low in efficiency.
When The Great Recession hit the US economy in 2008, 15 million people were out of work and the unemployment rate was 9.9 percent. With hospitals facing tough times, Compass looked for new ways to serve them that would be sustainable in the future.
Healthcare was changing, and the NPC had to change with it. The company took a gamble and invested in a centralized location and created a performance center that not only managed Patient Transport tasks but also delivered daily, weekly, and monthly analytics, benchmarking to the units so onsite leaders could now be proactive in driving quality outcomes.
“This was a risk, but if it succeeded, it would be a differentiator in the market,” Patient Transport RVP Nick Zucconi said.
By serving multiple hospitals from a central location, the NPC soon showed that all dispatching duties that were being done onsite were being replicated at the centralized NPC location while operating at a much higher productivity rate and 30-40% more efficient than in-unit call centers. Soon, other services were added:
- Environmental Services uses the NPC to expedite the room cleaning and turnover process, helping hospitals more quickly assign a new patient their room once another is discharged.
- Food Services started using the NPC in 2020, which is now the fastest-growing service line.
- Facilities Management and HTS soon followed.
With the addition of the NPC’s assistance to these service lines, our onsite managers now have the ability to spend less time in the office and more time collaborating with a Hospital’s nursing staff and key stake holders on process improvement of daily patient care.
Our People – The Key to Our Success
While the NPC’s technology sets it apart, Osganian and Zucconi both point to the quality of the NPC’s workforce as a key reason for its success – and why the 10-year anniversary should be a celebration about them.
- 2013: started with 10 people
- 2023: the NPC now has approximately 160 people
Each one is required to complete Positive Impressions training, which emphasizes strong customer service skills. They also undergo comprehensive training on hospital operations and are chosen because of their knowledge of specific services.
In addition to these skills, the associates have demonstrated their dedication to the job, and their performance during the COVID-19 pandemic is a perfect example.
While hospitals were disrupted and began to decrease staff, the NPC team banded together to deliver its services without any interruption during the pandemic lockdown and beyond. Approximately 50 percent of the associates were set up to work remotely with all the programs, interfaces, and technology they required, and the office was reconfigured so everyone could work at a safe distance from others. The ability to provide service without any significant issues solidified its reputation to serve clients under the toughest conditions.
“I want to extend our thanks and gratitude to every NPC associate for their work throughout the pandemic,” Patient Transport Division President Greg Osganian says. “From our perspective, they were our essential workers who kept our operations running smoothly. And for me, personally, I see them as heroes.”
Using Data and Analytics to Improve Performance
The NPC handles more than six million incoming tasks annually, from ordering and tracking every aspect of moving a patient safely from surgery to the recovery room to taking, filling, and serving a patient’s dinner order. But it provides additional value to hospitals through its ability to collect and analyze key data.
Because the NPC operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it captures data in real-time. Hospitals have access to dashboards summarizing a wide range of activities. For example, analyzing the data can help predict the busiest times for staff, allowing a hospital to allocate labor at those times. This can save money while maintaining a high quality of care.
Because each hospital is different, the NPC can work closely with each hospital to determine ways to improve healthcare delivery and performance.
“Since the NPC doesn’t marry itself to any one technology, we have become experts in a variety of EMRs. This allows us to be agile in the market and adapt to any system(s) clients are using today,” said Zucconi. “Healthcare systems are relying more and more on analytics to be able to make strategic decisions for their long-term success, and we love that we have the tools to assist them in the decision-making process.”
Overall Impact of the NPC Innovation
Analytics show that for Food Services, the NPC has improved Patient Satisfaction by reducing call wait times on room service calls by 38%, a 300%+ improvement. In addition, NPC dispatchers are trained to give exceptional customer service and with AI technology, management can proactively listen to flagged calls and provide real-time service recovery.
Cost Efficiencies for client hospitals yield on average 15-20% savings in annual costs compared to in-house programs.
Food Service Support at NPC Yields Success
Recently the NPC added two new food service client facilities to their portfolio. This opportunity arose after NPC’s success at the client’s main campus, where they took over room service calls in 2020 with positive results, as highlighted below:
- 300% Improved Patient Satisfaction - by reducing call wait times on room service calls by 38%, a 300%+ improvement.
- 20% Increased Cost Efficiencies - client hospitals yield on average 15-20% savings in annual costs compared to in-house programs.
- 70% Decrease in Patient Call Wait Times - from over 3 minutes to under 50 seconds, with an abandoned rate of under 3%.
- 40% Increased Service Recovery Rate- AI technology allows management to proactively listen to flagged calls and provide real-time service recovery.
The success of this relationship is directly due to the hard work and superb collaboration between:
- Ryan Lamb (NPC RDO)
- Jade Chittum (Unit Director NPC)
- Jessica Schaus (NPC Registered Dietitian)
And the client’s Compass One FNS team:
- Wendy Phillips (RVP)
- Crystal Lucas (RDO)
- Shayne Geneva (Project Manager)
- Susan Delosh (Patient Service Director)
- Sara Juliano (System Patient Experience Director)
- Brian Polzner (CBORD Analyst)
- Becky Hakenson (CBORD Analyst)
This has laid the groundwork for the NPC to be a solution for large or small health systems that rely on the room service model.
“We started using the National Performance Center for our client’s main campus on 7-14-2020. This alleviated the need for building more space onsite to expand our call center and allowed us to utilize existing call center staff to work in other areas of our department, thus making sense financially. Transitioning calls to the NPC improved call wait times and reporting visibility.
“Based on the NPC performance, customer service results, and ability to continuously scale larger, our client asked the NPC to provide services for four other Morrison-managed system accounts that have room service, starting in 2023. The NPC management team supported a seamless transition, working alongside our Morrison operational team and CBORD Analysts to execute a plan.” Wendy Phillips, Morrison RVP
Continued Growth Predicted
The NPC has been adding between five and ten new clients annually. With healthcare organizations continuing to reduce costs while also experiencing a shortage of nurses, Osganian and Zucconi believe the NPC will continue to grow.
But they are continuing to explore ways to improve their technology and ability to communicate with everyone. They are working with Chris Duke, Compass’ vice president of Data Intelligence, to determine “what’s next.”
For example, if a Spanish-speaking patient orders a meal, bilingual associates often take and transmit the order accurately to the Morrison kitchen. However, if a patient does not reach a bilingual NPC associate in the future, AI technology that can translate the order into English may be able to provide a solution.
“We need to be at the forefront of technology,” Zucconi said. “Our customers expect this, and we need to deliver. If artificial intelligence or other technology can provide us with efficient solutions, we need to be first to discover and work to implement them.
“After 10 years, it’s clear the NPC’s services are having a direct impact on patient care while helping hospitals improve their operations by providing timely data and analytics at a cost-effective price. But at the end of the day, it is ‘OUR PEOPLE’ that are truly the differentiator! Our commitment is to continue to invest in people and technology; if we do this, our outlook for the next 10 years and beyond will be as amazing as the first 10,” Zucconi said.