CentraCare Health Uses Technology and Talent to Improve the Customer Experience Through New Communications Platform

Published in Media Releases Author: CentraCare

CentraCare Connect gives customers more control, access and options, 24/7

CentraCare Health is overhauling the communications platform customers use to schedule primary care appointments and contact the organization. The new platform, called CentraCare Connect, is designed to provide a more helpful and timely response to customers, 24-hours a day, every day. CentraCare Connect combines knowledgeable staff with new technology that helps the team effectively and efficiently respond to almost 50,000 calls that come into CentraCare each month. Learn more about CentraCare Connect now.

CentraCare Connect is "going live" in phases, which started in spring 2017. As the new year begins, nearly all CentraCare locations and departments are integrated with this new platform. The goal is to make it easier for people to navigate the health care system and get the help they need as fast as possible. New features available through the platform include:

  • One phone number to call, making it easier to connect with any primary care clinic, department or program (call 320-200-3200 or toll-free at 800-835-6654).
  • Text and chat functions that allow customers to communicate through preferred channels (Text CARE to 320-287-WELL; Open a web chat at centracare.com/connect).
  • • 24/7 access to RNs who can help triage and provide care recommendations.
  • • 24/7 access to appointment scheduling services.

"We recognized it wasn't always easy for people to contact CentraCare and we wanted to fix that," said Kelly Macken-Marble, vice president of operations. "We work hard to provide our customers the best possible experience every day, but if people have a hard time scheduling an appointment or reaching a provider, they're frustrated immediately. CentraCare Connect will make it easier for people to schedule appointments and find the right care at the right place, at the right time."

Revamping CentraCare's communications platform, which serves six hospitals and dozens of clinics across Central Minnesota, required streamlining operations, embracing technology and adding new staff. Thirty-two RNs were hired to help triage medical questions and direct people to the appropriate places for care. A certified lactation counselor also is on staff to help breastfeeding mothers.

The implementation of this new platform also includes other exciting pieces of technology including: real time workforce management analytics that enable CentraCare Connect to ensure there are adequate staffing levels to meet scheduling demands, and integrated quality monitoring to ensure a high level of customer service. And the staff is located strategically throughout the region including at the Health Plaza and South campus location of the St. Cloud Medical Group in St. Cloud.

CentraCare Connect becomes increasingly important as the organization expands its network of care options. While having multiple resources like Urgency Centers, Pediatric walk-in care, Express Care and eClinics means more access to specialized care, it can also be confusing for people trying to determine where to go for their specific issue. CentraCare Connect helps remove the guesswork by having trained staff available to help customers navigate the health care system at all times.

In November 2017, CentraCare Connect answered 45,070 phone calls, of which 36,609 were scheduling-related requests. There were 5,461 triage calls where the team provided guidance to people who had care-related questions. And nearly 1,000 people utilized the chat and text functionality.

CentraCare Connect will continue to expand and evolve to meet the needs of customers, which will include introduction of a mobile-based app in the coming months.

"We strive to meet our customers where they are today," said Macken-Marble. "By offering new and innovative ways to connect with CentraCare, we can deliver a better customer experience, which is our ultimate goal."