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What Technologies are Coming to the Waiting Room?

Posted on March 30, 2015 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.

Waiting Rooms

I saw this image and couldn’t help but laugh. I laugh partially because waiting in a doctor’s office is probably the only time I read a magazine these days. There’s something fun about reading a 3 year old Sports Illustrated in a doctor’s office. Although, I’m often checking my phone instead of the magazine. So, I guess like most consumers I’ll take both.

However, more importantly, this funny image started me thinking about what technologies we’ll see in the waiting room of the future. There are a number of companies (Phreesia and Epion Health) that are working with clinics to provide patients with clinic provided tablets in their waiting rooms. These mostly offer patients a way to digitally check in for their appointment, make paymens and possibly some patient education. These companies often have an interesting model that’s based on advertising or data collection and so be careful to ask the company how they make their money if you choose to go that direction.

What’s even more interesting to me is how we’re going to start leveraging patients’ devices in the waiting room. The majority of them have one and that number is going to continue to grow. The challenges is that it can be tough for a medical practice to make a really good use case for why a patient should download their app. Now imagine you’re a chronic patient. Would you download a new app for each doctor you visit? I’m a little torn on how this is going to play out, but someone is going to make some headway and really start leveraging a patient’s own device as part of the visit and that includes the time they’re waiting.

Whole companies have been built around technology to stream content to a TV in physicians’ waiting rooms. They usually provide them to the doctor for free and then make their money on the advertising and sponsored content they provide. It turns out that patients waiting in an exam room are an extremely captive audience. Plus, you can often target the advertising based on specialty (ie. GYN is mostly women, pediatrics are often parents, etc). However, how effective will this be if we all have our heads in our devices while waiting for the doctor?

Of course, telemedicine is starting to make the waiting rooms more empty. We still have a long ways to go with that and we’ll never entirely replace the office visit, but that will definitely change the dynamic of how we wait for a doctor.

I still feel like I’m not thinking far enough outside the box. What do you think? How will the waiting room of the future compare to today? What technology will we find in waiting rooms?

My Favorite Smart Phone Healthcare Posts of 2012

Posted on January 2, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Since it’s the end of 2012, I thought it would be fitting to put  the links to some of my favorite posts I wrote this last year. Did you have a favorite one? Or is there something you’d like me to talk about this next year? Happy New Year!

1. 5 Must-Have Medical Apps for Medical Students

Because this post appears to be one of the most popular of all-time here at Smart Phone Healthcare, it tops my list. I didn’t realize what a big demand there was for information on apps for medical students. I’m sure even more great apps have come out since I wrote this post, so look for an updated one in the near future.

2. My First (Actual) Experience With A Patient Portal

Over the past several months, I have learned a lot about healthcare and mHealth. During that time, I have heard and read lots of articles and information about patient portals. However, it wasn’t until just a month or so ago that I actually had the opportunity to use one myself. This post recounts that experience using the patient portal my son’s pediatrician’s office uses, powered by eClinical Works.

3. Phreesia Makes Going to the Doctor Easier

After visiting the urgent care a few weeks ago, I discovered how the office I went to was really implementing portable devices into their practice. I was so excited about the process, that I just had to write a post about it. I think that every doctor, emergency room, and urgent care center should use some thing like Phreesia.

4. New Friend Request . . . From the Family Doctor?

Just some of my thoughts about doctors and practices using social media to connect with patients. For some, it might be overstepping the patient/doctor boundaries, but I think it’s great to see doctors getting more involved with patients.

5. Does Access to the Internet at All Times Make Us Hypochondriacs?

Yes, yes it does. At least I think so. How many of us have looked up symptoms online, and convinced themselves that they have some kind of terrible disease? I’m guessing a large majority. Having constant access to the Internet through tablets and smart phones may just increase the number of people doing that.

6. Must Have Pregnancy Mobile Apps

This was my first post here on Smart Phone HC, so of course I had to put it on the list! I really enjoyed writing this post, mainly because pregnancy was something that was on my mind, since I had given birth only a few months before. I think that any woman (or sympathetic man) could really benefit from this post.

Phreesia Makes Going to the Doctor Easier

Posted on December 17, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

The other day, we had to visit the doctor after hours. Because of this, we went to the local “instacare.” However, as soon as we realized it wasn’t going to be so “insta,” with an hour and a half wait, my husband and I decided to drive about 10 minutes to another after-hours facility. We ended up at the wrong one, but decided to stay as soon as we discovered they took our insurance.

First off, I was immediately impressed with the office. The staff was extremely friendly and professional. Especially because at the first place we went, the receptionist was eating an egg roll as she tried to get our information. Secondly, I noticed right away that they had some sort of tablets sitting at the front desk, and I was really hoping I would get a chance to use one and check it out. None of the doctor’s my family usually go to have any type of technology like that (I think I’ve mentioned how my OB/GYN is about as ancient as they come,) so I was excited to see this here. As soon as the receptionist scanned my insurance card, she handed me one of the tablets and asked me to fill out the information on the tablet. I readily agreed and went back to my seat.

When I say down, my husband saw what I was holding and said, “I bet you love this. You can totally write a post about it,” so, I thought I would.

The tablets that the office used are called Phreesia, the patient check-in company. They are bright orange, and a series of questions are asked. The questions ranged everywhere from insurance ID numbers, symptoms, past medical history, and allergies. It includes automatic insurance verification, to reduce the instance of denied claims, and the patient can swipe their debit card on the machine and pay their deductible. Here are a few of there other features listed on the site:

  • Simplify your check-in with a selection of expertly-designed specialty-specific interviews
  • Automate the administration, scoring, and reporting of clinical scales before patients enter the exam room
  • Collect sensitive healthy information with proven technology
  • Obtain a legible list of medications and drug allergies
  • Obtain patient consent for managed care initiatives

Phreesia offers different varieties of the product for all kinds of specialties  so any practice could probably find use for it. It’s also secure, so patients and providers alike can be confident about inputting information.

After using the tablet, I was definitely converted. So much, that I was very tempted to switch my family over to this practice. One thing that I always hate doing is having to tell a receptionist all of my personal information, and sometimes the details of why I’m there. I would much rather have my privacy, and be able to provide as much or as little details as I wanted. I felt like I was able to be more thorough in the descriptions of past medical history, as well as about why I was coming in. Overall, I love that some practices are implementing this kind of system, and I hope to see it more often. When I worked at a therapy clinic, I always loved the little PDA’s that we handed out for patients to answer questions — something like Phreesia.