How a new CRM-enabled call center solution transformed patient experience and improved efficiency at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Following an internal assessment of its patient contact experience in 2017, Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute underwent a total overhaul of what was found to be an unnecessarily complex, disparate contact center experience. This assessment centered on several questions, according to Katie Keavany, Dana-Farber’s vice president of ambulatory clinical operations, including:

  • How do patients get in the door?
  • How many staff members speak to a patient before they even come in for an appointment?
  • What happens when multiple departments speak to the same patient?
  • How can we grow volume without impacting the patient experience?
  • How do we allow new and existing patients to more easily and consistently access clinical services across different disease sectors?

During a recent webinar hosted by Becker’s Hospital Review and sponsored by Evariant, Ms. Keavany and Naomi Lenane, CIO of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discussed how creating a centralized "Welcome Center" and deploying the Evariant Engagement Center solution alongside Salesforce helped answer those questions, ultimately transforming the overall patient experience.

Establishing a New Welcome Center

After conducting the assessment, Dana-Farber interviewed patients, providers and staff about their experiences with patient contact, "each of our 19 disease centers had their own process," explained Ms. Keavany. "It was clear we needed a change." The institute held multidisciplinary workshops to define its vision for the patient contact experience, from which they developed a roadmap of short- and long-term initiatives to improve the experience, ensuring consistency across both the necessary new technology solutions and a redesigned organizational structure.

The organizational transformation resulted in the "Dana-Farber Welcome Center," which is the hub through which all patients are filtered to the appropriate spokes. The new center marked a crucial step toward improving the patient contact experience; following a successful pilot, "we needed that supportive technology that really enabled us to move forward at a larger scale," Ms. Keavany explained.

In selecting the most effective CRM-enabled call center tech solution, the Dana-Farber team sought several capabilities, according to Ms. Lenane. These capabilities included:

  • Capture key, relevant patient information, without significant burden on staff
  • Store information within the system for future reference by staff during subsequent interactions with the patient
  • Automate the creation of work list items, assign owners and track status
  • Create role-based dashboards for users
  • Integrate with telecom to identify phone numbers, show staff availability and automate calling and call routing
  • Integrate with Epic to pull patient demographics, scheduled appointments and select additional patient data fields
  • Easy access to underlying knowledge management tools and information
  • Enable easy updates to this information


Ultimately, the Dana-Farber team selected the Evariant Engagement Center solution, built for the Salesforce platform. "Evariant had healthcare experience," Ms. Lenane explained. "One area that was really helpful was the Evariant team who worked with us through the selection process brought best practices to the discussions. They didn't just answer our questions, but also added areas where they thought a CRM would enhance our workflow, even if we hadn't specifically asked for it."

Though still in the process of implementing the various Welcome Center phases, Dana-Farber has already begun to reap the benefits of their new patient contact experience model and the Evariant solution: Only 5 months after their Phase 1 go-live, Welcome Center staff have been able to answer 30 percent more calls, and new patient coordinators manage an average of 22 percent more new patient intakes per day.

The first team to go live, the new patient team, “loves the new process,” explained Ms. Keavany. “Our established patient team at the Welcome Center is excited to go live on the system [in the next phase], because they see how much it has improved the lives of their peers in the Welcome Center.”

"Our goal for a CRM was to enhance the patient contact experience and limit redundancy, but also to give us visibility into patient interactions so we can continually improve that process for our patients and our staff," Ms. Lenane stated.

Learn more about the ideation, change management, selection and implementation of the Dana-Farber Welcome Center by viewing the webinar ondemand here.

More articles on consumerism:
Physician viewpoint: Apple Watch's use as AFib detector needs more study
VA launches patient portal for online bill access
Sutter Health’s cost estimator tool is accurate, user-friendly, study finds

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.


Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers