streamWrite Blog

News, events and useful information

IVR Payment Portal - Healthcare

Healthcare IVR Payment Portal

A growing trend in healthcare is the consolidation of local hospitals and physician groups under a major healthcare entity.

There are many advantages to the approach – with a larger pool of resources and personnel, there is an opportunity to provide better care and reduce costs. Often, the call center is seen as low-hanging fruit as a candidate for consolidation. It makes sense – technology removes the geographic restrictions in facing customers via telephone, chat and SMS. Self-service automation provides an alternative channel for patients to pay bills and interact with agents.

Here’s the catch –

Even organizations with robust web and multi-channel offerings still find their call center inundated with callers. It seems that medical patients still tend to pick up the phone can call – and when you’re call center is fielding call from, maybe, 15 different consolidated hospitals, the queues become extremely deep. One customer experienced wait times of up to 50 minutes – and a high percentage of the calls were simply patients wanting to pay with credit card. ATI provided a payment IVR system that can be called directly from an 800 number on the bill, or be offered as an alternative to callers waiting in queue. This service is offered to medical groups as a cloud solution. ATI’s PORTALS platform integrates directly to the customer’s payment service. Our PCI/DSS compliant platform stores no customer data, and easily receives data from back office systems via a simple flat file upload, scheduled nightly.

Customers have seen queue times slashed just by offering callers this IVR payment option.

ATI Also offers multi-channel interaction with customers via web, text (SMS), email and automated outbound voice calls, and screen-pop integration.


Are you offering self-service......

Are you offering self-service options to your customers?

With the emergence of smart phones, chat bots and lighting fast internet speeds todays customers are more demanding than ever and when it comes to customer service their expectations are at an all-time high.

People are so accustomed to using an app on their smart phone to get information right away and with the introduction of chatbots (Siri, Alexa, google assistance, etc.) in the home they can now just ask a question and get the information they need.

These types of applications are great for personal use but when it comes to customers wanting information or services from an organization they expect the same results as the smart phone apps and or chatbots.

This is causing lots of stress on companies and public agencies. There are several organizations that get overwhelmed by their customers; and this is a problem that just keeps getting worse. The need for immediate customer service poses continuous challenges, especially as organizational budgets haven’t necessarily kept pace.

The result is that companies and agencies lack the capacity to support public demand with current staffing; and historically, the attempt to do so has resulted in a mix of technological systems that do not speak to each other and complicate human workers’ lives.

How implementing self-service can help meet the demands of your customers!

A self-service platform like IVR is a software application that allows a user to obtain information or complete a business transaction that has traditionally required the help of a human representative via phone, web, mobile, or text instead.

Self-service allows customers and employees to use technology to access information and perform routine tasks, without requiring the assistance of a live customer service representative. In fact, it allows for multiple callers to access information at the same time (24x7), versus a traditional call center that requires callers to wait in a queue to speak with an available agent. Ultimately, self-service drives benefits to all parties, not just callers.

Self-service technologies like interactive voice response (IVR) empower organizations to better serve their constituents while maintaining a lower headcount and faster response times. There are tremendous efficiency gains by automating more customer interaction self-serve type systems and technologies are quickly evolving to meet growing demands.

So, ask yourself, are my clients getting the best customer service that we can offer?  Are they able to access information or perform transactions on their own time?

If you want to keep up with the demands of your customers and retain their business then it’s time you considered self-service technologies.




Portals VCourt - New Enhancements

At Streamwrite, the staff has been hard at work updating and releasing a new version of VCourt, our telephonic appearance solution, bringing several new enhancements to the product. While most VCourt customers already have this latest release, I felt it important to communicate the new features.

StreamWrite Portals

VCourt Data Import Process Revamped

One of the biggest enhancements is the reworking of the data import for VCourt. We are moving to a more flexible import that will allow for variable length fields instead of fixed width. Data extending beyond published limits will be automatically truncated by the data import process. 

New fields are being included for future features where additional customization may be allowed. And, fields not in use by a customer can be left out without breaking the import.

And finally, improved error handling and logging will allow the import to complete even if some records fail. Errors of any kind including failed records or truncated data will be logged to a report where they can be reviewed and action can be taken if necessary.

New Utilities and Relocation of Menu Items

In Portals AppManager, there is now a VCourt Utils tab. The VCourt Event Fees utility has been moved to this tab along with 3 new utilities:

VCourt Resend Confirmation Email utility (inside the VCourt Messaging link) allows court staff to resend a confirmation to a user who might have lost their log in information. It also allows staff to send the confirmation to a different email address if needed.

The court can test the different template messages with View Sample Message utility also inside the VCourt Messaging link. 

Conference Manager Lookup is a tool that will produce a report of all attendees for a conference but rather than grabbing the list from the VCourt scheduled events data, it pulls the list from the conference manager device or service. This can come in handy for troubleshooting or validating attendees scheduled to appear.

The Reschedule Attendees utility gives the court staff the ability to move attendees to a different conference room or conference session, for example a morning attendee can be moved to the afternoon session or a session on the next working day.

The Communications tab has been removed. Template messaging items in the background have replaced it making easier to manage changes to email communications. The View Sample Messages utility mentioned above makes it easy to test the output that the conference attendees will experience.

Reporting Enhancements

Some of the reports have been enhanced to help with scheduling or troubleshooting activities.

The VCourt Conference Attendees Report now provides the attendees' confirmation number and phone number (in addition to the email address already provided) to simplify rescheduling activities and such. 

The VCourt Import Runs Report now gives considerably more detail on the import process and errors that may have occurred during a run.

Event Selection and Confirmation

The process of selecting an event and then confirming and paying has been streamlined. Users can now choose from a list of events rather than clicking through individual event items. 

Event selection for cancellation has similarly been streamlined. Events that cannot be canceled, either because they already have been, or are past a cancellation deadline will still show up but will not be available for selection and will have an explanation as to why they cannot be canceled.

Full CMS Integration and Beyond

And as has always been the case, VCourt can fully integrate with the Court's case management system, allowing for simplified and streamlined operations at the Court.

As a Portals application, Portals enhancements, such as the recently released ability to export report data to Excel, will apply to VCourt. 

We are very excited at the success our customers are having with VCourt and will continue to make improvements as we find new ways to streamline and enhance the remote appearance experience for courts and the public.

TLS, Transport Layer Security - Why All the Fuss with Requirements to Upgrade

TLS (or Transport Layer Security) is sometimes referred to as SSL and was originally defined in 1999 as the successor to, or replacement for SSL. It originated with version 1.0 but was superseded by TLS 1.1 in 2006 and TLS 1.2 in 2008. TLS and SSL are cryptographic protocols intended to make communications between servers and browsers private and secure. TLS can also used for SMTP, VPN and SIP communications protocols.

Implementing TLS 1.2

With each new release of TLS, the security protocol becomes stronger further enhancing the ability of the protocol to maintain data integrity and maintain privacy. While many sites still rely on TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1, many of our Streamwrite Portals customers are seeing backend services that drive their IVR, IWR or SMS applications, such as payment services, enforce the use of only TLS 1.2. Customers should be aware that updating systems to use the latest can get somewhat involved, requiring systems to access different services entirely. Further, server and application settings will likely need to be updated accordingly. At Streamwrite we strongly support the move to TLS 1.2 and will do everything we can to make the transition seamless when our customers' vendors migrate services over.

The Future of TLS

Earlier this year, an internet draft was introduced proposing TLS 1.3 as a new internet standard with a long list of enhancements. There is a lot of information available online regarding the subject. The Wikipedia article on Transport Layer Security is probably a good place to get an introduction to the technology.

Portals Voice Prompts - 3 Options to Meet Every Need

When it comes to voice prompts, Portals customers have a variety of requirements from prioritizing the highest quality audio to needing to be able to make all recordings in-house for budgetary or business needs, or needing to be able to changes prompts quickly but not wanting to use in-house voice talent. Whatever the customer requirements, Portals really steps up to the plate with 3 different options for making and managing voice prompts.

The first option for managing Portals voice prompts, Streamwrite voice studio utilizes professional DJ talent to record Portals voice prompts through a couple of voice studios with which we maintain a working relationship. The talent is available in many languages including English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Farsi, Russian and others. The quality of the voice prompts produced by our studios is second to none and gives your public telephone interface the most professional quality available for your Portals IVR applications. We also offer studio translation services, if needed.

Streamwrite Portals MicrophoneThe second option is to make use of the Portals Vox Recorder, which can be enabled during your setup process if you are interested in making your own voice recordings with in-house talent. Portals Vox Recorder when enabled, adds an additional tab to the Portals AppManager. Portals permissions allow you to grant this as an additional permission to one or more of your AppManager users. Or, you can give it as the only permission for individuals who will be doing nothing more than making recordings. 

Portals Vox Recorder is a great option for organizations that need or want to manage voice prompts themselves with talent they have within the establishment. Updated recordings can be implemented at almost anytime provided the talent is available and customers can save the expense of going out to the studio.

And last, Portals supports prompt creation by way of text to speech generation. While this option is not handled entirely by the customer, it is a very efficient way to generate quality voice prompts without going to studio or using in-house talent. 

Text to speech voice quality has improved dramatically in recent years and costs are very reasonable.

In summary, whatever your needs, Portals has the prompt management capability to provide the professional quality solution you need that will fit into your business requirements and budget.

Do contact your account executive or reach out to me if you have questions about these options.