Empire Medicare Improves Provider Self-Service with Speech System from MicroAutomation and ScanSoft

MANASSAS, Va. and PEABODY, Mass. - One of the largest Medicare contractors in the United States is now providing service to thousands of providers daily following the installation of a new speech-enabled application by MicroAutomation and ScanSoft Inc. (Nasdaq: SSFT). The speech system automates approximately 70 percent of routine incoming calls, resulting in a 62 percent increase in usage over the previous touch-tone system. The easy-to-use automated system increases call center efficiency and provides a higher level of customer service.


This new speech system allows Empire Medicare Services to provide automated answers to routine questions and requests from health care providers, doctor's offices and billing service providers in its New York service area. Using Vocalocity's VoiceXML Gateway, SpeechWorks(R) speech solutions and user interface design from ScanSoft, MicroAutomation developed and delivered a standards-based speech system that provides information on patient eligibility, claims and deductible status, pricing, general information about seminar schedules and commonly requested telephone numbers and addresses.


"As our caller base and volume continued to grow, we recognized the need to invest in new technologies to improve our customer service in a cost-effective manner," said Gloria McCarthy, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Empire Medicare Services. "As a result, we partnered with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and through a competitive procurement, retained MicroAutomation who successfully delivered a state-of-the-art system which has met or exceeded all of our goals and expectations."


"This system demonstrates how speech technology can improve customer service, providing access to important information any time of the day through a powerful and user-friendly system. Callers can get information such as claim status and patient eligibility without waiting for a customer service representative. CSRs are now able to focus on the more complex calls," said Suresh Gursahaney, CEO of MicroAutomation. "We were excited to expand our relationship with Empire Medicare Services and deliver a solution that provided a positive return on their investment in just three months."


As an example of the speech solution's ease of operation, one caller explained that he was able to check on more than 200 claims during a single one-hour phone call, saving him valuable time and resources.


The contract was awarded on June 24, 2003 and a pilot phase was completed within three

months. The self-service speech system was operational by November 1, 2003. The system currently handles approximately 5,000 to 6,500 calls per day and is installed at Empire's call center in Bohemia, NY.

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