Yale ITS and YNHHS IT collaborate on new CARE center

February 21, 2019

Kelly Proctor, a YM CARE Center manager, works with scheduler Jarred Korab in the new YM CARE Center at 25 Science Park.

The Yale Medicine Coordination, Appointment, Referral & Engagement (CARE) Center (YM CARE Center) opened on the first floor of 25 Science Park on January 29. The new patient access center will provide a single point of entry for patient coordination, appointments, referrals, and engagement.

To accomplish this ambitious undertaking ,Yale ITS and the Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS) information technology teams have been working in tandem for over a year. The IT work being done is just one thread in a broad Yale Medicine coordinated effort involving operational, organizational, and process work to establish this Center. Preparing involved hundreds of hours of meetings and installation of miles of wires and cables to support over 120 workstations and phones that now occupy 12,000 square feet of space.

A team effort

he newly created YM CARE Center space located at the first floor of 25 Science Park. The joint team of about 50 people, many working together for the first time, includes individuals from Networking, Telecommunications, Desktop Support, Desktop Engineering, Help Desks from both Yale ITS and YNHHS, and the YNHHS IT Project Management and Epic Teams. “In the past, Yale IT primarily supported University functions, and YNHHS supported their health systems and staff. Sometimes we shared supporting clients, but there are lines that we didn’t traditionally cross. With the YM Care project, we are trying to step over those boundaries and work together as a support team,” said John Pagliuca, Acting Associate CIO.

Enhanced technology = better patient experience

The YM CARE Center will handle ambulatory scheduling including referrals, nurse triage, patient outreach, and waitlist management.

Improved technology includes Nuance IVR (interactive voice response) and SpinSci which recognizes a caller’s phone number and automatically pulls up their Epic record. In addition, MyHealth Direct is in place to provide a guided search, leading a scheduler to the appropriate provider and appointment. Lastly, Verint Workforce Management, is a transparent way to view, report, and manage staff schedules, and other operational performance metrics.

“We were able to integrate the Cisco phone system with Epic, allowing callers the ability to speak to an automated system that will recognize their voice. It’s all part of our goal for a better overall patient experience,” said Lisa Stump, Sr. Vice President and CIO of Yale New Haven Health and Yale School of Medicine.

Joint IT support a natural evolution

After the center is built and all the moves are complete, the project team’s goal is to jointly support the YM CARE Center’s equipment and staff. “It is a tighter integration between providing the YM CARE group with first level IT support while building a more unified approach on the clinical side of the university,” said Ted Hanss, Associate CIO, Medicine & Health Division. The results will be breaking down age-old silos to provide a better patient experience with enhanced health system technologies and stations in this new center. “This is a joint build with a defined standard, and we are now cooperatively supporting the clinical staff,” said John Pagliuca.

In 2011, Yale ITS and YNHHS teamed up to implement Epic across both systems, but still supported their own staff. “We tested the waters with that first partnership, we are working more closely on this call center, so this joint build and support is a logical evolution,” said Lisa Stump. Both teams hope for a smooth launch, happy customers, and that staff and physicians receive seamless and unified support.