Stephanie K. is passionate about helping people, and in 2022 found herself looking for a job where she could do just that, as well as grow in her career and build a strong work-life balance. She found what she was looking for at UPMC.
Stephanie has been a contact center specialist at UPMC since October 2022, but she’s worked at our organization off and on for several years. Her very first job at UPMC was in 2015 at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital, where she was a unit clerk. When her husband’s job relocated them to Virginia for a short time, she worked in other health care related positions.
“When my husband was offered the opportunity to come back to Pittsburgh, I couldn’t resist,” says Stephanie.” She returned, working at the front desk of a UPMC outpatient rehabilitation facility in Pleasant Hills. And after about a year, she transferred to UPMC Scheduling Services, where she felt she could especially thrive.
The contact center specialist position allows Stephanie to help 40 to 50 families a day get access to the care they need. It also allows her to work from home, meaning more time with her husband and cat. And the benefits have allowed her to follow her dreams.
“Working at this position gives me the freedom to travel, which we love to do. We've been to Jamaica, Saint Thomas. It's been amazing,” Stephanie says. “I get PTO, so the hard work that you've put into it, they give you the time off you deserve for doing a good job for the company.”
Connecting Families to Pediatric Specialists
Stephanie helps families connect their children with pediatric specialists – including cardiologists, ophthalmologists, gastroenterologists, and others. The calls can range anywhere from scheduling a routine check-up to coordinating a more involved plan of care for a condition that may require lengthy treatment or surgery.
On busy days, which are often Mondays, Stephanie will field calls for adult specialties as well. She paces herself to give each caller compassion and adequate care, while also getting to as many callers as possible in a timely manner.
“It’s all a team effort,” Stephanie says. “It doesn't matter which department you work in at UPMC. I can always reach out to somebody, and there's always somebody there to help with a call, even if they're not right behind you sitting in a cubicle. We all chat through Teams, so that's very helpful.”
Stephanie often receives calls from out-of-state parents who say they are looking for the best provider or best hospital for their child.
“I had a mom call in from Tennessee. She wants to travel here specifically for her child’s specialist appointments. And another mom, she is moving to Pennsylvania soon and wasn’t sure about local pharmacies and PCPs. I helped her get familiar with the UPMC locations in our area. You know, you want to help if the information is there, so going above and beyond for somebody, it just goes a long way. I let them know that our doctors and providers are very, very good at what they do.”
Simplifying Access to Care
Shortly after beginning this position, Stephanie was trained on a new phone system that has made her experience on a call, and patients’ experiences, simpler and smoother.
“For pediatrics, the call comes in and displays the patient’s and parent’s names, as well as their phone number. You can see if they've been with UPMC before, which departments they’ve been to. We now have language interpreter capabilities as well. I can be directly on the line with the patient or parent and the interpreter. I find these newer features make scheduling much smoother.”
Stephanie meets with her supervisor regularly to listen to and review some of her calls, focusing on what went well, if there’s anything that was missed, and overall learning from each interaction.
“I love my job,” says Stephanie. “To listen to myself interact with families and work to better the next call…it’s pretty awesome. I’m not doing this just as any job. It’s truly my career.”
She also shares her department practices ‘warm transferring.’ When Stephanie needs to transfer a patient to another UPMC line, she stays on the phone, explains the patient’s situation to her colleague, and makes the introduction. This way, patients are not transferred to a voicemail or left explaining their details over again when they may have already spoken about them to Stephanie.
“A warm transfer is really what it sounds like. You want it to feel as if you were in person introducing yourself. Then, that patient can have a good impression that this warmth will continue to their office visit.”
“I would want anyone reading this story to know our contact center specialists…we really put ourselves in patients’ shoes when we’re helping them schedule,” Stephanie says. “A welcoming voice goes a long, long way.”
At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means warm interactions each step of the way.
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