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Healthcare Contact Center Resource: Produce a Plan

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.”
– Douglas H. Everett

As a result of vision co-creating you should have a list of elements that will compose the project with a more-or-less clear picture of what will be included this time and what will be left for a future phase.

Now it’s time to produce a plan.

Well, that’s not exactly true. We recommend leaving the project plan—often a formal document intended to control project implementation—until it’s absolutely necessary, if at all. We’re interested in the less-pithy, yet better-fitting phrased activity of planning.

“It’s not the plan that’s important, it’s the planning.”
– Dr. Gramme Edwards

Planning a healthcare call center is the activity of recognizing the project’s context and engaging the organization’s complexity so that when something changes, as it inevitably will, the project team is prepared for the shift and can continue working toward implementation with little interruption—or worse.

One of the challenges we’ve heard most often in working with healthcare delivery organizations to implement healthcare call centers is a common story about having previously missed important organizational realities related to the project until it’s too late. Everything was planned. Everything was in order. Everything was progressing smoothly.

Until it wasn’t.

It invariably leads to missed deadlines, political ramifications, budget overruns, unadopted technology, never-ending pilots, and a whole mess of other untoward outcomes related to failed attempts at project implementation. But, hey, at least those projects got started.

That’s because plans change. All the time. For many different reasons.

Knowing that progress in today’s organizations requires crossing boundaries, navigating bureaucracy, and collaborating with multiple partners, it can be difficult to even get a contact center project started, let alone implemented.

The project team requires a way to capture the complexity of a project while simultaneously identifying a path toward execution. An approach that embraces the value of planning while acknowledging urgent timelines require faster responses than organizations have become accustomed to.

That’s where this Healthcare Contact Center Project Framework can come in handy.

Healthcare Contact Center Project Framework

While we are far from proponents of universal tools (use what works for you!), we’ve experienced this framework benefit healthcare provider organizations as a start to comprehensively consider the context of a call center project. Understanding and appreciating context—the circumstances of a given situation—at the start and throughout the project is critical to eventual implementation and adoption.

That’s because implementing a contact center requires leveraging the resources available for executing any strategy: people, process, and technology; and in particular how the mix of people, process, and technology resources will be utilized to deliver the service that will compose the final product.

Once the project team has collaborated to work through the context of the project (by completing the Healthcare Contact Framework or some other method), use the People, Process, Technology Discovery tool to consider what must change, within the project’s context and the organization’s complexity, to make the call center real.

Every project is an activity in transitioning from a current circumstance to a future, intended circumstance.

People, Process, Technology Discovery

More often than not, a project in a healthcare delivery organization requires transitioning from an existing state—i.e., how something is done currently—rather than starting from a blank slate. That’s why the PPT Discovery assists project teams in considering context through the perspective of what already exists and is used to identify what elements within each of the three domains must change so that the intended innovation can be produced.

(If this is absolutely a brand new project, the Discovery works just as well when the existing state is a blank slate.)

The PPT Discovery is designed to help answer the question: What needs to change to make the call center real? It can be used as a checklist (of sorts) at the start of a project to help the project team identify the necessary elements of a successfully implemented innovation project. Of course, every decision made in one domain will affect the other domains and tradeoffs will continue to be considered as the project is implemented.

The PPT Discovery works best as a three-by-three matrix: what must be adjusted, created, or eliminated within the people, process, and technology domains to transition from the current state to the future state the project is intended to create.

When considering People, think about who does the work and any components related to employment including hiring, training, job descriptions, compensation, ways of working, ways of organizing, managing, etc. What about the current state will have to change in the people domain to make the innovation tangible—will employees need to be promoted or hired? Will employees be working on teams or in shifts? How will employees be trained on new processes and technology?

When considering Process, think about how the work will be done to deliver the intended experience to customers including workflow, business process, cross-functional collaboration, external departmental dependencies, etc. For example, what will have to change about departmental workflow so that new contact center services can be delivered? Will relationships with other departments need to be created? What business processes must be adjusted?

Technology considers the digital systems and tools used to provide the service or comprise the product whether directly to the customer or indirectly through employees providing the service. Is new technology required? Will existing technology be adapted? How will the various systems work together?

Where the Contact Center Project Framework is intended to help a project team answer the question: “What will be created?,” the People, Process, Technology Discovery helps the project team answer the question, “What must change to make the new contact center idea real?”

A completed PPT Discovery should provide a comprehensive list of project activities necessary to bringing the call center project to life.

Taken together, completing the Framework and the Discovery actively engage the project team in the activity of planning—considered preparation and ready for any change—that will increase the contact center’s likelihood of successful implementation (however defined) as the Plan inevitably meets organizational reality.

Next: Getting Started with a New Healthcare Contact Center: Identify Your (Mostly) Behind-the-Scenes Phone-a-Friend Supercrew

Previous: How to start a healthcare call center: Co-Create a Vision

Ready Health partners with project teams in healthcare delivery organizations to deliver on strategic initiatives like contact centers. Use the contact form below to start a conversation.

Need to make a change? Ready for change? Questions about change? Complete this form to start a conversation.

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