At MASCO Services, Inc. (MSI), there’s no such thing as a typical work day.
Many calls are routine: a patient confirming an appointment, a student inquiring about a course schedule. Other calls take a great deal of training to handle.
On one day recently, six activations arose from emergencies in a four-hour period. The first three were due to the Medical Area Total Energy Plant (MATEP) experiencing a chilled water, steam and power disruption. First, Call Center representatives responded immediately, helping MATEP notify affected member institutions and their security, engineering and administrative employees. Secondly, over the course of the power emergency, representatives also worked continuously with the MASCO Emergency Preparedness Team to keep designated emergency staff in member institutions updated through the LMA Alert Notification System.
Third, Call Center reps assisted Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who were most affected, in activating their own emergency response teams. Specially trained Call Center representatives supported those teams throughout the crisis, simultaneously relaying updates from the Plant to other members.
Meanwhile, another institutional customer experienced a problem with its staff elevators and had a concurrent fire emergency. Call Center representatives made the necessary announcements on the overhead paging system and notified response teams. For this customer alone, the Call Center handled 20 activations and announcements.
During this same period, this core group of representatives processed other medical emergencies, including two code calls for cardiac arrests.
“The job definitely requires multi-tasking,” says Call Center Representative Danielle Maguire. “The four of us constantly answered calls to deal with numerous situations, sent out updates as repair work continued, and kept all affected parties informed of developments. We never lost a step in the midst of that unique series of emergencies.”
Expectations of the Call Center are high. “People look to us in a crisis for the latest, most accurate information. On that day, we rearranged our schedules and coverage in order to provide the best possible support until every issue was resolved.”
The Call Center takes over 1.6 million calls annually. 2,000 of these are emergency calls of one kind or another.
Over the past several years, MSI’s systems have undergone substantial upgrades in order to deliver more efficient and instantaneous telecommunications services. The “ED Dashboard”, designed by Dr. Larry Nathanson, director of Emergency Medical Informatics at BIDMC, is a prime example of this continual technical improvement.
The Dashboard integrates data from the Emergency Department (ED) and other areas of the hospital to help clinicians expedite communications regarding patient conditions and thus enhance patient safety and streamline delivery of emergency care. Dr. Nathanson worked closely with the Call Center team and its technology partners to establish the interface between the Dashboard and Call Center paging systems.
“The team at the Call Center has been great at troubleshooting problems that came up during the implementation phases, “Dr. Nathanson said. “They continue to work with us to keep the system running smoothly.”
Sandra Denekamp, BIDMC Telecommunications Manager, echoed this opinion. “Due to its commitment to constant learning in the organization, the Call Center is capable of responding to various medical and non-medical emergencies in a precise and accurate manner.”
Emphasis on Training
“Our training never really stops,” says Gabriel Garcia, a Call Center Representative since 2006.
Garcia takes up to 300 calls a day and believes there is always something new to learn. He began his career at the Call Center working the overnight shift. “Calls coming in during the late hours are much different from those you receive on the day shift.”
Speed in processing a request is stressed, of course, but accuracy is even more important,and representatives must be able to juggle multiple tasks. Ultimately, though, a person needs a strong desire to help every caller. Technology has made information more readily available, but the human touch is what people value most.
Find more about the Call Center here.