Patient demographics and survey app for DocAppointments

Online appointments booking service DocAppointments has added a patient demographics and survey app to its product suite that integrates with Best Practice and PracSoft to create a new patient file.

The app allows new patients to fill out their personal details on a tablet while waiting for their appointment and for existing patients to update theirs, freeing up reception staff for other tasks and promising to reduce data entry errors.

It also allows practices to conduct surveys while the patients are waiting, including accreditation and patient satisfaction surveys, which might also help to reduce waiting time irritation.

DocAppointments founder Calin Pava said the new app was one of a number his company had developed to make the patient journey easier and improve productivity in general practice. These include the original appointment booking service app, a self check-in app launched last year, and a new repeat script request function in the DocAppointments system that comes at no extra cost for subscribers.

Dr Pava said that in all practices in Australia, new patients are either given paper forms to fill out by the receptionist, who then has to enter the data into the computer to create a new file, or the receptionist takes the details over the counter, meaning patient privacy can be breached.

He estimates that the whole process takes about four and a half minutes for the receptionist, but by getting the patient to do it themselves, not only are errors reduced but the receptionist's time as well.

When a new patient comes to a surgery, they are handed a tablet to fill in their personal details. When they are finished the app is locked and they are told to take it back to the receptionist. The receptionist puts in a code, checks that the details are correct if necessary, and then clicks save. The app will then immediately create a new patient file in PracSoft or Best Practice.

“The app does the same for existing patients with the difference that the receptionist puts in the ID of the patient, the app goes and extracts existing details, the patient can then check or change them and then the receptionist authorises the change,” Dr Pava said.

“We believe it reduces the time from four and a half minutes to less than one for the receptionist. Errors will be reduced and there are no privacy issues either.”

The app has been developed for Android tablets as they tend to be the cheapest models, and DocAppointments is charging a flat $250 per annum fee for the app to practices. Dr Pava said the next practice management software package he hopes to integrate with is Stat, and, depending on demand, he will look at integrating with the other GP software providers as well.

While it might seem like obvious technology, Dr Pava said he was not aware of other a similar product that integrates with the two market-leading practice management systems. “As far as I'm aware there is one company that does a kiosk but they are charging thousands a year,” he said. “To me that is ridiculous. We will be charging them $250 a year. That is the kind of money that every practice can afford.”

In addition to filling out personal details, the app also has the capacity to allow practices to design their own surveys, he said. “That is all in DocAppointments admin, and they can put in whatever question they want, and as many questions as they want, and as many surveys as they want.

“For their accreditation, practices have to do a survey, so instead of doing them on paper you can do them on the tablet. In addition, practices might be interested in doing quality surveys on how their patients are going and whether they're happy or not, and we've discovered that it can also be used when a doctor is late.

“The receptionist can give the patient a tablet and ask them to update their details, and to help the practice with a survey while they are waiting for the doctor. That can take about 10 minutes and the patient is happy that they doing something useful instead of getting irritated.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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