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Phone Tree EHR Integration

Posted on October 7, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

While at the AAFP conference recently, I saw a company called PhoneTree that I found interesting. They essentially take care of all the automated calling for the doctors office.

I was a bit surprised that a company like this is still around. Is there still a market for narrowly focused products like this? I know that many EHR vendors have integrated these types of features into their PMS and EMR software.

The other problem I had with this company was that they only have a one way interface for calling. Basically, you dump a csv file out from your scheduling system and they make the calls. However, there’s no method of getting the data back to the EHR software so you can know who confirmed and who didn’t in your EHR. Seems like a no brainer feature to me, but seemed to barely be on their radar. Probably because it would require an interface and interfaces are the worst to manage.

Of course, the really cool technology with phones is coming from the Cisco IP phones. I love the integrations that you can do with a Cisco phone and I love the idea of a soft phone on your computer even more. Too bad Cisco is so bloody expensive.

EMR Integration with Cisco IP Phones

Posted on September 10, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

One of the lunch demos I saw at the EHR Stimulus tour was a demo of the integration of a Cisco IP phone with an EMR. I’ll admit that they are VERY brave souls to try and do a demo like this since it’s just prone to problems. Demos are always that way. Plus, I think you can get the picture of what’s happening without seeing it. At least I could have and everyone else that couldn’t probably just saw all the configuration and thought it was too complex to even consider.

That part aside, there were a couple of things that were intriguing about the demo. First, as they said, it’s interesting to see how hardware can really affect and interact with your EMR. That’s an interesting concept that I think is worth exploring a lot more. Second, if setup correctly there are a couple features that are interesting and useful. However, I’m not sure it’s really worth the cost or hassle to get these features. They are kind of nice to have, but aren’t deal breakers or makers.

The features that I did find interesting was that it would bring up the patient name/information on the phone when they are calling. I’d be interested to see how much information can really fit on the phone. However, even if it’s just a patient ID which you can use to quickly pull up the patient’s chart, then it’s a nice time saver. Plus, you can quickly verify that it is indeed the patient that’s calling using the information on the phone. Very cool feature and pretty useful. I imagine if you worked in an office with this you’d take it for granted until you moved to an office that didn’t have it and you’d miss it.

The other feature that’s cool is really just IP phone specific and that’s having a soft phone on your computer (basically the phone just runs on your computer and you can use a headset plugged into your computer). Saves on the cost of the often expensive IP phones and I expect we’re going to see some pretty amazing advances in soft phones.

Like I said. These weren’t things that should change your EMR decision, but it is a preview of some of the types of technologies we can see integrated with an EMR.