WHO SHOULD READ THIS WHITE PAPER: Healthcare Providers, Medical Office Managers, ACO Administrators, Meaningful Use Consultants, and EHR Software Providers
Web and Mobile App technologies have changed the way everyone communicates. Why is it easier to reserve a table at your favorite restaurant than it is to get urgent medical assistance from your provider? Call Simplified is empowering patients and providers to communicate without reliance on voicemails, operators, or answering services; increasing efficiency, accuracy, and documentation.
Patient to doctor and doctor to patient communication is vital to patient care. Information that is relayed, interpreted, and responded to is complex. Healthcare communication must be accurate, timely, and HIPAA compliant. These requirements make ‘after-hours communication’ especially troublesome.
Our over-extended, 3 trillion dollar-a-year healthcare industry faces many challenges to deliver the best care to each patient1. Since 2010, inpatient care continues to fall from 62% to 58% and outpatient care is increasing as HCA’s move services from the hospital setting into the community2. When you consider most provider offices are only open from 9:00AM to 5:00PM, there are 16 hours in each day during which patients may still need to communicate with their provider. After-hours communication systems have failed to meet these needs—until now.
Call Simplified was developed to improve healthcare communication—especially after-hours. Dr. David Finke, MD, FACOG, President, CMO and Co-Founder of Priority Reply Networks, LLC, experienced first-hand the frustration of using traditional after hours answering services—both voicemail and operator based.
Dr. Finke considers ‘after-hours care’ the weak link of healthcare delivery and electronic medical records systems.
Voicemail-based answering services offer an inappropriate method of handling after-hours, confidential patient needs. These services:
• Are not HIPAA Compliant
• Rely on the patient to leave detailed voicemails, often omitting key information such as patient name, phone numbers, DOB, or pharmacy numbers
• Force providers to write notes on scratch paper from hard to hear voicemails
• Do not have a mechanism to ensure timely response to urgent patient needs
• Do not provide an integrated method to document details of the after-hours encounter for the patient record
• Often offer unintelligible and inaccurate transcription (Live operator answering services offer an inaccurate and costly method of handling after-hours patient needs.)
• Rarely have a platform to send HIPAA compliant messages to physicians
• Rely on operators to relay information, introducing human error: think of playing the game ‘Telephone’ as a child
• Increase physician liability by inappropriately triaging messages
• Have a poor track record for customer satisfaction, data accuracy, and price-gouging
• Are the most expensive option
Call Simplified has processed over 27,000 patient messages since going live – saving physicians and staff hundreds of hours in productivity.
The way we communicate has evolved rapidly since the advent of the Internet and mobile Apps. Healthcare answering services have not kept pace nor have they embraced these game changing technologies that would increase security, increase provider efficiency, and improve patient care. Physician offices will always need to respond to the after-hours needs of patients. Today the only way for patients to contact their healthcare provider after-hours is by calling the office where the call can be forwarded to a provider’s cell phone, using a voicemail system or by speaking with an answering service. Then a chain of communication begins that must be repeated, relayed, documented, and ultimately consolidated into the patient medical record.
Patient requests should be submitted by the patient directly to the provider and not via voicemail or a third party. The provider should be notified of prioritized requests; and requests should be monitored ensuring delivery and completion. Provider time ‘on-call’ must be valued and efforts made to improve the physician experience and patient safety. Patients should be able to track any submission to completion.
The data required from the patient should be specific and customizable to each specialty. Example: Patient Jane Doe has a urinary tract infection. When she inputs her after-hours request for treatment to her Gynecologist, the provider needs to know:
• Patient Full Name (with correct spelling)
• Primary Physician
• Date of Birth
• Synopsis of Symptoms
• List of Allergies to Medications
• Preferred Pharmacy Number (verified by patient to be open)
Call Simplified is a new, and proven, technology that improves after-hours healthcare; processing hundreds of patient requests a month for multiple practices across the U.S.
Providers install the physician focused Call Simplified App on their mobile device and are now ready to start receiving messages. The provider’s practice website is updated to include a link to ‘After-Hours Care.' When
Now doctors and office staff patients click on the link or saved shortcut spend one third the time from a mobile phone or PC, it opens a listening and transcribing secure and customizable patient request messages; resulting in submission form. Patients type or dictate greater accuracy, efficiency their urgent requests directly which are and patient satisfaction. sent to the provider’s App and tracked until completion—ensuring accurate and source:
Additionally, the provider’s main office number is configured to forward after-hours calls to a specified Call Simplified number. Phone voicemail instructions direct the patient to visit the office website and use the 'After Hours Care' link. Patients can also automatically be sent a link to the patient request form via text message. Patients may also leave a secure voicemail for the provider which notifies the provider App. Guiding patients to an office’s website introduces them to potential patient education—and many patients might realize after reading such content that their question was answered or that their request could wait until morning. When a live operator is used, the messages to the provider can be securely entered by the operator into the same form—allowing message tracking and real-time documentation. This also ensures operators follow required standards to completely and efficiently relay a patient’s request to the provider.
The patient submission form can be customized by each office to capture data they deem important. Offices can allow urgent or non-urgent requests based on their preferences. Call Simplified’s patent pending, Message Guard, monitors message read-receipts and ensures completion of requests through an automated process. It will even call an alternate number in a last attempt to notify the on-call provider, or will switch another provider on call so that urgent message delivery is ensured. If desired, the office staff can monitor submissions during office hours to decrease call volume, busy signals and inefficient voicemails. The patient’s message—from submission to reply and documentation—is contained in a single and secure system.
Within the provider App, the doctor can call the patient with Caller ID blocked or call the patient’s pharmacy instantly. When patients have consented, the provider can send a HIPAA compliant text response, all in one step. This workflow enables the provider to call in a medication refill and text message the patient that their request is completed, in under 60 seconds. All texting from the App is Caller ID blocked and any attempt to reply will alert the patient that they should submit a new request if further communication is necessary.
The provider can also customize their own ‘Quick Message’ or ‘Quick Note’ phrases in order to quickly document and reply to patients. Commonly used phrases include: “Request complete, instructions and precautions provided to patient” and “I have received your request and have sent a prescription for … to your pharmacy.” e sent a prescription for … to your pharmacy.”
The office staff logs into the Call Simplified secure web portal the next business day and can transfer each documented encounter into the EMR. Additionally, office staff or providers can easily switch who is on call with one click—making it easy for one provider to cover another.
Every detail of this revolutionary App was designed and refined to make patient care safer and to help doctors streamline after-hours care for their patients.
Provider communication with patients has been transformed by Call Simplified: empowering patients and providers while embracing Meaningful Use. The possibilities are endless as our patent pending platform evolves. Soon a concerned parent will be able to upload a camera phone picture of a child’s rash to their pediatrician’s App. Pre-populating patient data from EMR’s, fitness devices, and health Apps are on the horizon—transforming patient care for the better.
For more information, please contact us:
+1 323 405 4596
1. 3 Trillion USD. Aug 26, 2016. Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/health-expenditures.htm
2. Helen Adamopoulos September 29, 2014 South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, N.Y.