Last week I received a postcard from my auto dealer. It was time to bring my car in for service. They also send me email reminders and call me should I fail to make an appointment. I get similar reminders from my dentist. I even get reminders each year from the city letting me know it is time once again to test my lawn sprinkling system for "back flow". On the other hand, I cannot remember the last time I got a notice from my doctor that it was time to come in for a checkup. I guess he's got so many patients that he doesn't need the business, or maybe he doesn't really care that much about keeping me healthy. One could wonder!
That's why I was particularly pleased to see a new case study from one of our customers. It concerns a health plan that's been using our unified communications technologies to improve patient outreach and compliance around preventive care services. The health plan is Care1st in Monterey Park, California. Working with technology partner 4PatientCare, they implemented an automated interactive patient communication and scheduling system based on Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. According to officials at Care1st, the solution has dramatically increased the number of people who are getting appropriate initial health assessments and needed preventive services.
The unified communications solution contains an automated decision tree which gives patients different action options when they receive a call from Care1st reminding them of available services. They can schedule an appointment for a specific time and date, or let their provider know that they would like an initial health assessment but are not yet ready to make an appointment. In all, there are more than 100 "nodes" on the decision tree to accommodate nearly all of the possibilities that the system might encounter when interacting with a Care1st member. Patient like the system because it is so easy to use. According to Care1st, the automated system does a much better job of documenting their patient outreach activity and is also saving money compared to what was previously spent for patient calls and reminder mailings.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft Corporation