About OSD Healthcare

A private hospital providing a range of services, including a first-class diagnostic suite, specialist clinics and other healthcare services, OSD Healthcare is committed to making healthcare an accessible, affordable and stressfree experience for the local community it serves, as well as patients from further afield.

Located in in the United Kingdom and regulated by the UK’s Care and Quality Commission (CQC), OSD Healthcare has comprehensive policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with a raft of legislative requirements. Open 365 days a year, in 2020 the hospital opened its first surgical unit, which now enables it to undertake operations in-house.

A small but dedicated team of advisors are on hand at the end of the telephone seven days a week to handle patient queries and book appointments.

The Challenge

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, OSD Healthcare transitioned at speed to delivering virtual and telephone consultations and quickly set up a COVID-19 testing service. To assure a COVID-safe environment for patients arriving at its facilities for in-person consultations and day treatments, the decision was taken to reduce the number of patient payments being taken in person by the hospital front-of-house team. Instead, patients were encouraged to make some payments via the OSD Healthcare contact center at the time of booking.

“Overnight, the volume of calls we received doubled as people scrambled to book remote appointments with GPs or a private COVID-19 test,” explains Pam Hollick, Team Leader at OSD Healthcare’s contact center.

Clearly, we needed to minimize the risk of virus transfer and queuing on arrival, so taking payment via the phone beforehand was a logical way to safeguard the wellbeing of clinical and front-of-house teams as well as our patients coming to the hospital. With the increase in telephone payments, it meant we needed a more robust way of handling payments in our contact center.”

With the entire contact center team forced to work from home during the national lockdown, finding a way to take patient payments via the phone that would be compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) would prove mission-critical for assuring the continuity of health service delivery for patients.

The Solution

Semafone’s Cardprotect Voice+ provided a fast and cost-effective route for powering business continuity in the face of highly disruptive external events.

Making it easy to tackle the challenge of protecting phone transactions, the dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) masking solution shields the hospital’s contact center advisors from hearing the sensitive payment data of patients. Plus, because it prevents cardholder data from entering the VoIP network or the hospital’s contact center systems, it was also ideal for cutting through the complexity of enabling a secure payment environment while personnel were working remotely.

“The ease-of-use of Semafone’s solution has proved a winner with both our patients and our advisors,” confirms Pam. “Many of our patients utilize us multiple times and Cardprotect Voice+ provides assurance that we take their security seriously.”

Getting the contact center team trained up and confident in using the new secure payment platform proved to be a fast and streamlined process.

“Semafone delivered a comprehensive virtual training session, plus a video and additional training materials, which ensured everyone got up to speed quickly. Initiating Semafone’s Securemode at the point of payment is easy to do and our advisors quickly became competent at handling more complex scenarios—for example, if a patient calls in on a mobile phone and doesn’t know how to get back to their keypad to enter their card details. The great thing is our people can stay in full voice contact with patients throughout the process to provide reassurance and help.”

Integrated with the hospital’s Compucare patient management system, Semafone’s software automatically updates the appointments database with payment confirmations. This helps ensure the hospital’s patient and finance systems are always in sync and up to date, with no need for additional data entry or administration.

The flexibility of Semafone’s solution also means personnel working in the finance team now use Cardprotect Voice+ when contacting patients by phone to obtain payments or pay down remaining balances on insurance plans.

The Benefits

Because all card payment details are masked by flat tones, the contact center team has been able to continue recording calls without worry of contravening any PCI DSS mandates regarding data privacy.

“We’re required by the UK’s CQC to record all patient conversations. Thankfully, with Cardprotect Voice+ there is no need to pause and resume recordings because there is no likelihood that payment card details can be captured accidently as the keypad tones cannot be interpreted or reverse engineered. This takes the pressure off our advisors, who can simply focus on the job in hand – helping patients access the care they need,” said Pam.

While the contact center team is once again working on-site, using Cardprotect Voice+ means OSD Healthcare can flex its contact center workforce in a highly agile way.

“Today, the team can handle payments for primary care appointments, health assessments, support patients phoning in to settle their invoice or insurance excesses and they can do all this either from the office or working remotely from home if that proves necessary because they need to isolate.”

In addition to seamlessly extending the capabilities of the contact center team, Cardprotect Voice+ has generated further unexpected gains in terms of enhanced productivity and an improved patient experience.

Utilizing Semafone’s CardProtect Voice+ has reduced our call handling times by an average of 12 seconds per call – all of which means we can manage a greater volume of patient inquiries and deliver a much smoother and more efficient experience for patients when they call in.

Pam Hollick – Contact Center Team Leader, OSD Healthcare

“Overall, our advisors are a lot more productive – there are no manual spreadsheets or ‘cashing up’ record keeping to be undertaken at the end of the day and all our systems are automatically updated at the moment a payment is completed.”

OSD Healthcare
Semafone