Bringing Better Visibility, Flexibility, and Coaching to a Distributed Healthcare Workforce


The business model for a Managed Long-Term Care Plan (MLTCP) requires associates to continually keep in contact with members, perform on-site visits in the community, and discuss care services with providers. Without the right call support solution, a MLTCP health plan lacks visibility into what’s happening with the care of their members.

Several years ago, this was our situation at Integra Managed Care. We didn’t have visibility into the interactions with our members or providers, nor did we have real-time connections with our field nurses conducting on-site member assessments. As a result, there were disconnects between the organization, members, and providers. 

Phone Support Is a Lifeline to Our Members

Integra Managed Care is a New York State MLTCP designed for adults with long-term disabilities. Our dedicated team of nurses and social workers work to help our 50,000 members live as safely and as independently as possible in the comfort of their own homes. Our Member Services team plays a big part in that success, allowing our members to maximize the benefits and services available, from hands-on medical attention to social support and programs.

Our customer support call center is integral in keeping members connected to clinical teams and avoiding care interruptions and delays. Our members rely on phone support to remain connected to care teams and to get questions answered—and phones are their preferred medium. Before the pandemic, a third of our staff worked from home or in the field. The nature of our work means we need a bird’s-eye view of the care being provided to our members and how to quickly respond to their needs. 

A New Solution to Suit Our Distributed Workforce

The need for a completely remote, dispersed workforce due to the pandemic coupled with the rapid market growth of Integra created significant challenges for our existing phone system. We had no ability to monitor if our Clinical teams were talking to members or the quality of the calls. Additionally, we reached the maximum of our remote capability and furthermore, our field nurses were unreachable when working in the community. As a result, we had a significant disconnect between our call center and nursing Care Management teams. 

Without a cloud component or a way to record and measure calls, we didn’t understand the productivity of our Clinical teams on-site, remotely, and in the community. Since calls happened in silos without the ability to measure and monitor, our managers and clinical directors couldn’t effectively manage the business. Our legacy phone system also had reliability issues, extremely high costs, and lacked flexibility. 

Real-time visibility and data enable healthcare providers to deliver care at scale.

We needed a more comprehensive phone system that would give us visibility and data in real time to deliver care at scale and enable us to be anywhere at any time to better serve our members. We started to investigate solutions that would lower operational costs, provide management tools, improve reliability and complement our fully distributed work model. That took us through an evaluation process of cloud-based solutions, which we eventually narrowed down.

Talkdesk was extremely flexible, enabling us to tailor the system to meet the remote capabilities our workforce requires. Within five months, we implemented Talkdesk Quality Management (QM), email notifications, single sign-on (SSO), and Talkdesk Studio IVR flows. 

How Managers Bring Out the Best in Field Workers

One of the most significant changes in having Talkdesk was our newfound ability to record calls from anywhere. This capability means management teams can assist Care team associates on calls and make changes immediately, directly impacting the care we deliver to our members. Since our members live with disabilities, our responsiveness and speed are paramount. 

Talkdesk QM empowers supervisors with insights into their staff’s interactions, dramatically impacting performance. Analyzing metrics on calls and listening to call recordings have provided many learning opportunities, and coaching is key to scaling our business for the future. The speed at which we offer feedback is crucial for professional development. Real-time feedback is very different from an end-of-week or even end-of-day report. If our support staff is unable to give feedback until the end of the day, one call has blended with many others. Providing feedback as close to the call as possible is the best way to change behavior. 

Using Talkdesk helps us understand and identify our best performers, too. For supervisors and managers, the transparency and call insights into metrics like abandon rates and time to answer help them recognize and reward the support staff who are doing great work. We have a team of nearly 800 people, and knowing who our stars are—and who needs additional coaching opportunities—is critical to our success. 

Greater Flexibility Eliminates the Need for Hard Phones

Moving to a cloud-based solution has allowed our staff to make and take calls from either their computer or mobile phone–eliminating hard phones. We chose Talkdesk as the solution for our remote workforce because they are the only vendor that provides this service out of the box. USB headsets are more manageable for our call center teams, and features like voicemail-to-email make work seamless. Talkdesk also labels our outbound calls so members can tell that Integra Managed Care Team is calling—a small but helpful feature we didn’t previously have.

Additional flexibility carries through to custom Talkdesk apps and APIs. Our tech team put together a frontend reporting tool to easily share the data and metrics captured in Talkdesk with those who don’t use the platform. We can now build any report for any time frame, ring group, or contact number. This customized solution didn’t take long to build, but no other solution we examined allowed for this. Most contact centers want you to use their products as-is—or charge extra for modifications. 

Reliable, Robust, and Scalable at a Reduced Cost

With only one person on our team dedicated to maintaining the solution, we’ve seen high reliability coupled with low overhead. We’re also operating at two-thirds of what we paid with a traditional carrier and our legacy system. Our agents and clinical field teams are now fully coordinated in problem-solving and providing care to our members. Using the Talkdesk app allows our frontline nurses to connect to our phone system, and having up-to-date information has made everyone’s job easier. At Integra, phones connect us to our members, and Talkdesk has further solidified that connection.

As great as any solution is, it’s the combination of the solution and the people using it who make the difference.

Everyone loves metrics, but they can be misleading. As great as any product is, it’s the combination of the product and the people using it who make the difference. A solution like Talkdesk gives management better oversight and control, which helps them better manage their team’s performance. The proof is in how we’ve doubled the size of our membership and performed well enough to be acquired by a much larger health plan. 

Talkdesk has been a workhorse with lower cost and maintenance: it gives Integra the freedom to operate as our business demands, improves business efficiency and enhances the quality of our work.