What's on the Horizon for Patient Communication Systems?

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Like many electronic health records and practice management software programs, patient communication and engagement systems continuously add features, both in conjunction with other software programs as well as on their own. For example, Solutionreach became one of the first cloud-based companies in 2000, and others, such as Websystem3, have followed suit.

A more recent development for Solutionreach was the 2013 launch of PatientReach, a digital application designed to improve the patient check-in process. Practices can download PatientReach onto an iPad, transforming it into an automated system for gathering patient information. The iPads are distributed to incoming patients, who then begin a simplified check-in process.

Aimee Leifer, head of Demandforce’s Health Services Division, told Vision Monday about a number of new developments in store for this patient information and engagement software. These include a major change to text messaging that will help users adhere to new TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) laws. Initial tests show a significant increase in the utilization of text messaging to confirm appointments, according to Leifer, who said that two times as many patients were confirming through text than before the change.

Other new additions planned for Demandforce include two-way confirmations with other management systems and new automated optometric-specific templates to help doctors manage care. Demandforce has also been selected by Yelp to bring bookable appointments to its pages. Real-time scheduling will allow patients to book and confirm their own appointments, similar to making dining reservations on OpenTable, a feature that’s already available from 4PatientCare. ■