Deans Message

August 31, 2023

We have been working hard at University Medical Center to improve our telephone system and operations with the goal of having the needs of our patient callers met efficiently and effectively.

We have worked to reduce and simplify our telephone prompts, to ensure that calls are routed appropriately, and to decrease the time you have to spend on the phone.

Ultimately, we want your patient experience – even before you see the doctor – to be the best it can be. As we improve the interoperability of our systems, we believe the patient experience will improve, too.

We started our telephone journey earlier this year, and I am pleased to provide an update.

We began with a rigorous evaluation of our telephone system, and the associated clinical processes and procedures, to identify opportunities for improvement. We worked clinic-by-clinic, delving into problems and issues with the telephone system and its processes. We were guided in this work by a strategic priority to bring the system and processes into alignment to ensure a better patient experience.

This effort also included determining where telephone calls could be best routed to voice mail, for prescription refills, for example. And where calls needed to go directly to a person, whether that be a receptionist or a nurse.

In addition, we took a close look at our telephone tree. Before, when patients called UMC’s main telephone number (348-1770), they had to listen through seven different prompts, or options, before they could select the UMC clinic they were trying to reach. But even then, their calls were often forwarded to an operator or to voice mail to leave a message. This was inefficient and kept patients on the phone for far too long.

We have streamlined the phone tree and those prompts. Now when patients call UMC’s main number, there are only four prompts – new patients, medical records, billing, and appointments/clinics. There are also phone trees for each clinic, but those are specific to patients’ needs within the clinics. Overall, the telephone system and processes will be quicker and easier to navigate.

Today I can say that our telephone system, and its associated processes and procedures, are more efficient and effective, and this means your patient experience will be better. But we’re not stopping there. We will continue to examine our telephone system for additional improvements so that we can provide an exceptional telephone service for our patients.

The College of Community Health Sciences operates University Medical Center, the UA Student Health Center and Pharmacy, Brewer-Porch Children’s Center and Capstone Hospitalist Group.