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MHA student Kylie Evgenides: Improving patient care during a health pandemic, one phone call at a time

by Clare LaBlance on 11/16/2020

Since the onset of the COVID-19 health pandemic, many primary care offices have been searching for better ways to ensure consistent communication with their patients. COVID-19 related factors have caused staffing shortages at many offices, hindering standardized communication across call centers.

Kylie Evgenides, a second year MHA student at Saint Louis University, has parlayed a summer internship during these uncertain times into a full-time position as the Mercy South Call Center Manager, with responsibility for improving patient communication across the health system.

 

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Kylie Evgenides

In May 2020, just months into the pandemic, Evgenides began her administrative internship with Mercy Clinic South, setting out to ensure that all the patient calls were being answered in an appropriate amount of time. As a result, Evgenides is helping to create six centralized call centers for the 21 primary care offices of Mercy South.

“Customer service is a huge passion of mine and being able to mix that in with patient care and patient experience has been wonderful,” Evgenides says.

Before pursuing her MHA at Saint Louis University, Evgenides worked as a dental hygienist, which equipped her with a first-hand view of customer service and knowledge of the impact that a single phone call have on patient experience.

In her new position, Evgenides ensures that communication is standardized across all call centers. This has involved standing up the call centers, merging the phone lines, and training her staff – which will include nearly 40 call center representatives – to consistently implement patient communication protocols.

The training she provides includes classes cover telephone etiquette and how to listen for accuracy, as well as more specific lessons on verbiage, communication styles, how to answer the phones, how to handle a range of possible scenarios, and when to refer a patient to urgent care or the emergency room.

Her goal is to ensure that all of the patient’s questions and needs can be addressed within one phone call.

“Our representatives are the voice of Mercy,” Evgenides said. “By making sure that each patient is getting the same standard of care from our call representatives, we can eliminate the confusion and frustration that arises from back and forth calling between patients and providers and improve the overall patient experience.”

About the College for Public Health and Social Justice

The Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice is the only academic unit of its kind, studying social, environmental and physical influences that together determine the health and well-being of people and communities. It also is the only accredited school or college of public health among nearly 250 Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States.

Guided by a mission of social justice and focus on finding innovative and collaborative solutions for complex health problems, the College offers nationally recognized programs in public health, social work, health administration, applied behavior analysis, and criminology and criminal justice.