It was her second day at North Kansas City Hospital that was pivotal in helping Amy Crawford, vice president of revenue cycle, understand the kind of culture she was entering. After nearly twelve years at a pediatric hospital, Crawford was already missing her former colleagues. She wasn’t sure if moving from the environment of serving children and parents to a more traditional hospital system would be the right fit.
“I remember standing at a coffee cart just trying to figure out what I wanted,” Crawford recalls. “The person next to me made a recommendation, and before I’d figured out what happened, she’d paid for it and moved on. That simple little gesture meant the world to me and reassured me that while the culture might look different in adult care, the thoughtfulness and things I valued most were a part of this organization.”
Crawford has made it her mission to do everything in her power to make that culture a regular part of patient interaction. It’s a clear passion point for the VP, which is illustrated in the multitude of ways she and her team are helping make the hospital as welcoming, navigable, and, importantly to Crawford, predictable as possible.
“All of us are very motivated to create more predictability in the patient experience as much as we can,” she explains. “Especially in this pandemic environment, I think a little more predictability is what we all need right now.”
Crawford says it’s all about first and last impressions. Whether a patient is walking through the front door, entering the emergency room, or visiting a doctor’s office, every person should be greeted, made to feel safe, and made to feel welcome.
“It’s all of these little things,” Crawford explains. “We should be holding doors for you. If you’re lost, we should walk you to your destination instead of pointing you down a long hallway. We should make the check-in and wait times as brief as possible, because ultimately, we know patients don’t necessarily want to be here if they don’t have to be.”
She rattles off a full-scale offensive of initiatives her team is tackling to improve the patient experience, from first to last impression. To relieve some of the patient anxiety of “broadcasting all of your demographic information to a waiting room full of people,” as Crawford sums it up, registration and financial clearance teams have partnered with vendors to gather patient information prior to their visits.
“This allows our staff to focus on other tasks and really help engage the patient,” Crawford says. “It provides further efficiencies while also relieving some of that waiting room tension.”
For more heavily trafficked outpatient areas, the hospital team has created check-in kiosks so patients don’t need to wait in line to notify staff that they have arrived for their appointments.
With a large portion of the revenue cycle team working from home, Crawford says they’ve had to be more proactive and intentional about how they conduct call reviews and customer service training. They’ve developed a scorecard to ensure consistent scripting, improve the patient experience, and, again, ensure predictability when people need it most.
The overall patient phone experience is a particular area of focus in the upcoming year for Crawford and a small team of her colleagues charged with customer service optimization. They’ll be conducting an in-depth review on how long patients are waiting on hold, how long it takes for their messages to be returned, and what patients are encountering in terms of pain points when it comes to the task of contacting one’s healthcare provider across the health system.
On the back end, Crawford says that if a patient payment process ends poorly, it can negatively color what was otherwise a very positive outcome or experience with the provider. “With that in mind, we’re looking to build a more consumer-friendly payment portal that supports whatever a patient’s financial situation might be,” she says. “You want your last impression to be as strong as your first, and that means making sure the billing and payment processes are as painless as possible.”
Crawford’s positivity is contagious. She says that she has benefited from many strong mentors throughout her career who have given her a chance to truly develop, and she’s now intent on doing the same for others.
She is especially passionate about building confidence in new leaders and setting them up for long term success. “Furthering the professional development of others is my favorite part of this job,” the VP says. “I get to see those ‘light-bulb moments’ in someone’s eyes and see them acknowledge themselves doing a great job at something new.”
It’s clear that Crawford’s focus on others is part of what makes her an important business partner and ambassador of culture at North Kansas City Hospital. The VP says that creating improvement starts with consulting those who work on the front lines of care.
“Whatever we’re doing, whatever changes we want to make here, it’s always with the direct input of our staff and our patients to make sure we’re hitting the mark,” Crawford says. “They know the things that need to change and often the best way to accomplish them, so it’s imperative that we keep them front and center as we continue on our journey.”
CarePayment truly enjoys partnering with healthcare professionals and providers, like Amy Crawford and the North Kansas City Hospital. Our 0.00% patient financing plans enable more patients to get the care they need and protect the financial health of providers. So they can focus on what they do best—caring for our communities.
MedData is a proud partner of North Kansas City Hospital and its award-winning healthcare services. With forty years of experience, MedData’s suite of revenue cycle management services simplifies complex account resolution while maximizing payer discovery, revenue recovery, and patient satisfaction for more than 1,500 facilities across the country.