QUALITY - Updates on what we are doing to ensure QUALITY happens everyday at Alabama MedScreen. 

JANUARY 2011 - The True Costs of a No-Show
A recent article in the Denver Post profiled the frustration and costs involved for customers when they were waiting at home for a service person to arrive.  While the research focused on cable/internet/appliance repair and delivery services, there is a lot to learn about the true cost of customers waiting at home for services like ours.

Thought-Provoking Considerations
Here are a few thought-provoking items to consider as a service provider of in-home services: Waiting Costs Money Remember What Mom Always Said!
“If you are going to be late, pick up the phone and call!” While you cannot always control traffic delays or unforeseen circumstances, you can control the communication to an applicant. If you are going to be late, call prior to the appointment time.  And never, under any circumstances, fail to show up to an appointment.

DECEMBER 2010 - Exam Height and Weight
It is often mentioned that we are the eyes and ears of the underwriters, and that our job is to provide accurate, objective details with every service that we provide.  Failure to do so means a diminished level of customer service. But did you also know that failure to do so could constitute fraud and put us out of business?

WHY is it so important to collect accurate measurements?  Anyone could call an applicant and ask her what she thinks she weighs, or how tall he thinks he is.  If this was the case, the insurance companies would not need to hire examiners to personally collect accurate and objective information such as height, weight, blood pressure, etc.  Also, every exam form and lab slip has an attestation clause in which the examiner is confirming that he or she has collected the measurements and that they are accurate.  If you sign this document without having actually personally verified the information, you are guilty of fraud.

WHAT should you do if you are unable to personally collect the measurements?  Document, document, document!  Record the fact that you did not collect the measurements and include the reason for the omission. For example, “applicant refused to be weighed, but states that she weighs 157 pounds.”

And the Survey Says…! Because this is such an important issue, we at Alabama MedScreen are now asking applicants if they were weighed and measured by the examiner during the appointment.  Applicant surveys, which are distributed twice per month, cover a wide range of service satisfaction measures, including verification that height and weight were physically taken during the exam.  We intend to take disciplinary action against any examiner who is reported for failing to physically collect this information or for not recording the reason on the exam.

Lead placement continues to be one of the most common ECG errors reported by our valued customers. The astute examiner can easily recognize placement errors as the strip is printing and immediately stop and check all leads to find the problem. Fix it, and you are on
your way!

When all leads are properly placed, all ECGs will display common characteristics. Once you know what a GOOD tracing looks like, you can easily identify when there is a problem.  Tracings with properly placed leads will always display the following characteristics:
1. If you see any deviation from this pattern, STOP and check lead placement.
     • Are limb leads properly secured to the correct limb?
     • Double check the placement of the chest leads.
2. Make the necessary adjustments and start again.
3. Destroy the incorrect tracing.

OCTOBER 2010 - Mismatched Barcodes
There are two general situations in which mismatched barcodes result:
     • Tubes from two applicants are mixed in one kit
     • The lab consent form doesn’t match the tubes

HOW do these errors occur?
Generally the errors occur during the spinning/pouring/repackaging process.

WHAT can be done to avoid these errors?
The short answer is: double check your work throughout the process. There are several points at which you should always check the barcodes. These include:
     • When removing tubes from the centrifuge
     • When pouring serum into the serum collection tube.  Do the barcodes match the red/tiger top tube?
     • Prior to sealing the kit, ensure that ALL tubes (including the used tiger top) match the lab slip barcode.

TIPS from the pros:  Here is the reasoning: the lab can’t tell if you poured the wrong serum from the wrong red top into the correct kit’s collection tube.
SEPTEMBER 2010 - Who can be present during the exam?
This week, we will cover who is NOT allowed to be present at an exam, WHY they can’t be there, and WAYS for you to tactfully arrange for their removal from the situation.
WHO cannot be present at the exam and WHY

There are two reasons the agent cannot be present at the exam:

1. PRIVACY - As a medical professional, your job is to establish a private environment for the applicant to share full medical history details.  Many applicants will not feel open in sharing intimate details in the presence of the agent since he or she is often a friend, family member or colleague.

2. OBJECTIVITY - Since the agent has a financial incentive to ensure that the policy is placed, his or her mere presence at an exam can undermine the objective nature of the examination process.

HOW to ask an agent to leave the room:

Politely explain that it is against policy for the agent to be present in the same room during the exam and ask the agent to wait outside the room.  Be sure to state privacy and objectivity as the reasons for this policy.

Of course, the one exception to this rule would be in a situation in which the insurance company has approved the agent to serve as interpreter.

It's easy enough and a good agent wouldn't ask you to compromise a policy anyway.  Remember:  "Service is our only business...in order to ensure the integrity of our work, we must do it right...every time!"