LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Technology plays a pivotal role in the operation of hospitals to get patients care through emergency and routine calls.
Call centers at hospitals are 24/7 operations, and the same is true for Adventist Health White Memorial Hospital in Boyle Heights.
Call into the facility and it’s Angelica Hernandez and her team who will make the connection.
“We get about 3,000 calls a day,” said Angelica Hernandez, a call center operator. “Calls for help are the most urgent. Code Red is fire. Code Pink is infant abduction.”
The code that’s most common is Code Blue for alerts about cardiac arrest.
Of all of the STEAM disciplines, running a busy hospital call center relies most on technology and art.
Elevator bypass buttons help to prevent delays and systems that beep to let call center operators know a code has been issued.
For doctors, Hernandez and her team can be switchboard operators and for community locals, they take on the role of investigators using the art and science of communication to properly navigate requests and needs.
“We have people — especially elderly patients — they’re like, ‘I need to schedule an appointment.’ Okay, what kind of appointment. ‘I don’t know, something with my breast.’ Okay, mammogram,” Hernandez recalled of one of her interactions.
Sometimes patients dial the operators just to hear a friendly voice, and Hernandez provides that, too.
“They’re sad being in a hospital so they miss being at home,” she said.
The calls from patients have also led to longlasting friendships.
“I still have patients calling me from years and they just want to know how I’m doing,” Hernandez told CBS2. “It’s very touching and that’s why I love what I do.”
As a child, Hernandez said she never imagine that one day she would play such an important role in helping keep a hospital on track.
“I was a young mom, so I quit school but I went back and got my GED,” she said.
From there, she tapped into her love of the medical field and started out by becoming a medical assistant before learning of an opening in the call center department.
Now, Hernandez has been working in the hospital for 17 years and is ready with a friendly voice on the phone for frightened patients, frazzled doctors, medical emergencies or power outages.
Her advice to the next generation is to never let a setback hold you back.
“I struggled. I’ve been a single mom. I have three beautiful children,” Hernandez said. “Don’t give up because there’s always good things out there that you can do.”