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   Current UPHS employees must apply HERE

Lead Communication Specialist, Contact Center

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Job ID: 150090
Category: Customer Service/Patient Access
Work Type: FT
Location: Philadelphia, PA, United States
Date Posted: Sep 21, 2022
Work Schedule: WILL REQUIRE full or partial on site work

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Penn Medicine is dedicated to our tripartite mission of providing the highest level of care to patients, conducting innovative research, and educating future leaders in the field of medicine. Working for this leading academic medical center means collaboration with top clinical, technical and business professionals across all disciplines.

Today at Penn Medicine, someone will make a breakthrough. Someone will heal a heart, deliver hopeful news, and give comfort and reassurance. Our employees shape our future each day. Are you living your life's work?

The Lead Communication Specialist (Lead), Corporate Operator Services (COS), supports other Communication Specialists within the three-shift 24/7 Contact Center for the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS). Corporate Operator Services serves the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC), Pennsylvania Hospital(PaH), and Good Shepherd Penn Partners (GSPP).

In addition to performing Communication Specialist job functions, the Lead Communication Specialist (Lead) provides new and incumbent staff with escalation and advisory support during their daily interactions with UPHS- and non-UPHS callers. Specifically, the Lead serves as first-line support to staff for incoming calls requiring further information, research, and/or caller de-escalation. The Lead serves as an information and communication conduit within the Contact Center, assists with daily staffing and scheduling, and plays a key role in handling on-call schedule changes. S/he collaborates with the Contact Center Manager and others to identify, resolve, and communicate issues both within the Contact Center and the hospitals/physicians it serves.

The Lead Communication Specialist deals with callers, patients, families, UPHS professionals, and the general public in an effective, efficient, and tactful manner. S/he is a resource for the names, functions, and services of various departments, physicians, and other key UPHS/hospital personnel.

The Lead Communication Specialist is highly competent and knowledgeable is all aspects of the Communication Specialist job. This includes transferring callers/patients, paging physicians, processing after-hour answering service calls for physicians and hospitals, and providing on-call information to medical clinicians. S/he is skilled and experienced in processing priority line (codes and STATs) calls, documenting clinical and non-clinical emergencies, and dispatching medical practitioners to patient locations in a timely and accurate manner. The Lead is also proficient in the use of the department's communication technology (e.g., MediCall, eNotify, WebXchange, QGenda, Avaya). 

The Lead Communication Specialist displays a high degree of reliability, initiative, and decision-making ability. S/he displays effective communication with UPHS/non-UPHS callers, physicians, hospital staff, and the general public. The Lead reflects a positive and professional demeanor and serves as a role model to other Communication Specialists.

This position requires quick thinking and a clear, concise communication style. The Lead Communication Specialist must remain calm and careful while performing urgent call processes. S/he must display human qualities of empathy, compassion, kindness, and patience. The Lead must exemplify Penn Medicine Core Values and exhibit solid Customer Service skills, a patient-centric attitude, a collaborative team spirit, and the ability to think critically and quickly.



o Shows willingness and assumes Communication Specialist job responsibilities, as required. (See Communication Specialist Daily Responsibilities below.)

• Provides positive support to Communication Specialists as needed and/or as requested, including:

o Is available to help when an escalated situation arises; displays enthusiasm and willingness to assist.

o Handles tough interactions with callers in an appropriate manner; listens, assists, diffuses, and de-escalates.

o Researches resources; helps to find answers and follows up.

o Contacts UPHS hospitals/departments for needed information.

o De-escalates on-the-floor situations by displaying a positive demeanor.

• Serves as an information and communication conduit within the Contact Center, including:

o Supports daily information flow to Communication Specialists.

o Knows names, functions, and services of various departments, physicians, and other key hospital personnel.

o Communicates changes to Communication Specialists (all shifts).

o Shares updates, issues, and concerns with frontline staff.

• Exhibits solid knowledge regarding UPHS entities; shares knowledge with staff.

o Oversees break/lunch schedules.

o Creates/makes changes to on-call schedules.

o Accepts basic and complex on-call coverage changes and relays information to staff.

o Gives a complete and accurate shift-to-shift report to other Communication Specialists.

o Completes the 24-hour report documenting a shift report and results of an equipment check.

• Assists with daily staffing and scheduling, including:

o Creates shift/break sheets.

o Handles call-outs and staffing issues; adheres to and follows the complete process.

o Notes call-outs on schedule; notifies the staff scheduler.

o Finds coverage; contacts agents if needed.

o Covers for any position that has not been filled.

• Works with the Contact Center Manager and others to identify, resolve, and communicate issues.

o Informs the Contact Center Manager immediately of all situations affecting patient care.

o Informs the Contact Center Manager of minor complaints/service issues within 24 hours of discovery.

o Recognizes problems as they occur and/or monitors trends to identify recurrent problems.

o Researches questions and problems concerning UPHS hospital services to determine possible solutions.

o Communicates software/hardware/system equipment problems when discovered.

o Follows the notification process for problems with phone, pager, and/or facility.

• Promotes professionalism in the Contact Center and serves as a role model to other Communication Specialists.

o Avoids participating in gossip and discourages it in others.

o Displays self-accountability, pro-action, and motivation.

o Demonstrates fairness and appropriate due process in actions and decisions.

o Treats all staff equally, fairly, honestly, and respectfully.

o Avoids self-promotion at the expense of other Leads; encourages use of other Leads when issues arise.

• Troubleshoots software/hardware/system equipment problems within area of expertise.

• Contacts UPHS hospitals/departments for needed information or problem resolution.

• Contacts hospital practices for issues with office phone lines, physician sign-ins, or other related circumstances.

• Takes sign-outs from physicians and clinicians.

• Enters complete, detailed, and easy to understand messages for overhead paging.

• Prepares seating arrangements, as needed.

• Monitors the phone queue.

• Supports the orientation, training, and ongoing support of new employees.

o Assists other Communication Specialists that provide side-by-side instructional support.

o Communicates additional training or reference requirements to the Contact Center learning resource.

• Performs special projects and other duties as directed by the Contact Center Manager.

o Accepts responsibility and works independently using the Contact Center Manager as a resource.

o Completes projects within the specified time frame.



• Develops self and others to be a service-oriented and valued resource to UPHS and the Contact Center.

• Attends COS staff meetings on a regular basis; shows active participation.

• Meets regularly with COS leadership for mentoring and professional development.

• Attends Leads meetings regularly (as shift allows); shows active participation.



• Uses an open style of communication.

o Provides clear expectations for self and others.

o Offers constructive feedback to staff regarding work performance and behavior.

o Accepts constructive feedback.

• Creates a positive work environment to enhance effective Customer Service.



• (Performs daily Communication Specialist job functions: 65% for day shift, 60% for evening shift, and 90% for night shift.)

• Answers and correctly processes incoming/outgoing calls for hospitals within the University of Pennsylvania Healthcare System (UPHS).

o Answers calls for main number, physician answering service, internal “0” calls, and priority lines for Penn Medicine hospitals.

o Provides quick and professional response to all call inquiries via communication technology and online reference materials; effectively manages and efficiently uses all resources.

• Performs daily call handling functions for UPHS hospitals and physicians, including:

o Provides callers with patient and hospital information.

o Transfers callers to patient rooms or hospital/clinical/administrative departments.

o Handles answering service calls and overhead paging.

o Provides on-call information and processing.

o Processes priority/emergency calls.

o Dispatches medical practitioners to patient locations

• Proficiently uses the department’s communication technology (e.g., MediCall, eNotify, WebXchange, QGenda, Avaya) to process calls according to UPHS and hospital policies, procedure, and guidelines.

• Processes and documents all code, STAT, trauma, and fire calls as well as internal/external disaster plan calls accurately and according to departmental procedures.

• Monitors and responds to all alarms located in the Contact Center; notifies necessary personnel according to departmental procedures.

• Enters complete, detailed, and easy-to-understand messages for physician answering service and overhead paging in the COS communication console system.

• Handles physician on-call communication and processing, including:

• Demonstrates thorough understanding of UPHS physician on-call schedules; correctly pages the appropriate on-call physician on a 24/7 basis.

• Delivers physician answering service messages to the on-call physician within an appropriate timeframe based on the clinical nature of the message.

o Assists in entry of on-call schedules in appropriate databases, as appropriate.

• Preserves confidentiality, privacy (HIPAA), and dignity of patients, visitors, and staff according to hospital policy.

• Understands and operates all back-up and disaster recovery functions including:

o Software failsafe mode

o Digital and overhead paging systems

o Evacuation and disaster recovery procedures

o Disaster recovery location equipment

• Utilizes TDD phone for call processing with a hearing impaired customer.

• Participates in group activations utilizing eNotify software.

• Supports the onboarding, orientation, and training of new-hires via side-by-side observations and support; provides support to co-workers collegially when needed.

• Consistently meets acceptable monthly phone availability measures.

• Recommends improvement to work processes, systems, Customer Service, etc., as relevant and appropriate.

• Performs special projects and other duties as directed by the Contact Center Manager.

• Demonstrates responsiveness to work expectations; works as scheduled; exhibits regular and punctual attendance.

• Follows COS policies for time-off requests.

• Attends and participates in regularly scheduled operational meetings; reviews all minutes.



• Follows Penn Medicine and COS Customer Service guidelines with all callers.

o Speaks in a professional manner with all callers and Penn Medicine co-workers.

o Displays courtesy/respect for patients, families, physicians, hospital staff, and all UPHS employees.

o Manages telephone interactions in a prompt, courteous, and informative manner.

o Listens carefully in order to respond appropriately, answer questions, or obtain needed information.

o Seeks clarity to ensure understanding; responds promptly and follows through.

o Presents information accurately, clearly, and concisely to callers and colleagues to ensure their understanding.

o Prepares concise, accurate, and well-organized documentation, as appropriate.

• Exemplifies the highest level of guest relations.

• Displays human qualities related to empathy, compassion, kindness, and patience.

• Explains work procedures and methods to others.

• Consistently meets acceptable Quality Assurance program scores.

• Accepts and follows through with constructive feedback, including results of QA monitoring/coaching sessions.

• Communicates sensitively with patients having possible hearing difficulties or memory/information processing difficulties.

• Confirms understanding of patient’s needs; arranges for translator or to have an English speaking person talk with agent on behalf of the caller.



• Presents ideas and information in ways that others can easily understand.

• Communicates to all staff in a professional manner according to UPHS policies and guidelines.

• Discusses work-related issues directly with management; avoids gossiping with co-workers.

• Collaborates willingly with management and co-workers; maintains a positive and optimistic outlook.

• Presents ideas and information in ways that others can easily understand.

• Exchanges clear and concise information via the most appropriate verbal medium (e.g., face-to-face, phone, voicemail).

• Relays written information via the appropriate method (e.g., letter, memo, fax, email).


• Performs duties in accordance with Penn Medicine and entity values, policies, and procedures

• Other duties as assigned to support the unit, department, entity, and health system organization


Minimum Requirements

Required Education and Experience

• H.S. Diploma/GED is required

• 3+ years Customer Service experience is required

• Computer/Windows and system navigation experience is required

• Experience in hospital communication console systems for texting, paging, oncall scheduling, clinical alerting, etc. is required

• Experience in contact with the general public is required

• Previous supervisory experience is preferred

• Previous experience within Penn Medicine is preferred

• Previous work in a Healthcare setting is preferred

Required Skills and Abilities

• Must make appropriate decisions based on the facts presented under an emergent timeframe

• Must think and act quickly while making accurate decisions, especially during emergency situations

• Must demonstrate critical and creative thinking; must have meticulous attention to detail

• Must exercise judgment in dealing with sensitive and confidential information

• Must provide feedback regarding work performance to Communication Specialist with tact and discretion

• Must display a pleasing telephone voice and manner, good diction and tone, and professional grammar

• Must possess a high degree of reliability, initiative, and decision making ability

• Must take initiative to learn the complex workings of the health system

• Must communicate effectively with UPHS/non-UPHS callers, physicians, hospital staff, and the general public

• Ability to handle stressful situations including patient/physician complaints and excessive call volume

• Ability to remain calm and careful while performing urgent call processing

• Ability to read, understand, and follow verbal and written instructions

• Ability to work within a busy and patient-focused environment; willingness to assist co-workers when needed

• Ability to maintain a professional demeanor at all times

• Ability to work a 24-hour shift rotation, based on operational needs of the department

• Ability to sit at workstation for long periods of time

As part of our COVID-19 response, this position may currently be offering partial or full remote work. However, in the near future this position will require full or partial on-site work.

    We believe that the best care for our patients starts with the best care for our employees. Our employee benefits programs help our employees get healthy and stay healthy. We offer a comprehensive compensation and benefits program that includes one of the finest prepaid tuition assistance programs in the region. Penn Medicine employees are actively engaged and committed to our mission. Together we will continue to make medical advances that help people live longer, healthier lives.

    Live Your Life's Work

    We are an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. Candidates are considered for employment without regard to race, ethnicity, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, marital status, familial status, genetic information, domestic or sexual violence victim status, citizenship status, military status, status as a protected veteran or any other status protected by applicable law.

       Current UPHS employees must apply HERE
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