Poor phone accessibility in medical practices is a long-standing, pervasive problem that annoys patients and can give practices a bad reputation. If the phone line is constantly busy, patients often simply come to the office unannounced to address their concerns. This creates stress and unnecessarily lengthens waiting times. The result: patients are even more dissatisfied.
Artificial intelligence improves communication between the doctor’s office and its patients. Whether at peak times, outside core consultation hours or as permanent support – AI-based telephone assistance is a real asset for medical practices. In an interview with 5-HT, Simon Kuttruf, founder of PraxisConcierge, talks about the development of digital solutions to support human quality in healthcare and explains the benefits of AI-based telephone assistance for medical practices, as well as for clinical trials and the challenge of pandemic response.
Digitization of healthcare through more human care and personalization
“We believe that digitizing healthcare does not mean more technology and automation, but even more human care and personalization,” Simon Kuttruf explains the idea behind PraxisConcierge. “Our digital solutions support the daily work of healthcare professionals by streamlining routine processes. We focus on the needs of doctors and patients alike to improve the efficiency and quality of personalized care. For the healthcare of today and tomorrow.”Simon Kuttruf, Founder of PraxisConcierge
Working with PraxisConcierge enables a structured processing of incoming telephone calls, which leads to a more efficient way of working. The flexible solutions to practice-specific problems provided by PraxisConcierge are helpful in this regard. There is no need to listen to the answering machine, and recorded messages do not have to be transcribed or assigned. This is because incoming calls are recorded in a structured manner and immediately assigned to a category.
Modules for every use case
The telephone is a natural and familiar channel. The digital PraxisConcierge is set up individually according to the wishes of the medical practice. For example, the announcements can be recorded by a physician assistant. In the experience of the PraxisConcierge team, this means that the new solution is very quickly accepted by patients.
The sequence of an incoming call can be flexibly configured. With the help of artificial intelligence, the practice concierge recognizes the patient’s concerns in a largely free dialog and asks for the necessary information. It asks, for example, what medication is involved or what complaints are present. In urgent cases, the patient is put through directly to the practice team. The incoming requests are displayed in real time on the dashboard and can be answered directly from the interface via text message or e-mail. An unlimited number of custom response templates can be stored. For the practice this means: Calm at the reception desk, efficient handling of patient concerns and more time for personal patient contact.
Delegation of outgoing routine communication to the PraxisConcierge
The PraxisConcierge can both take calls and handle the outgoing routine communication of a practice. For example, patients can be informed about outstanding insurance cards, due examination appointments and upcoming consultations – automatically by phone call, SMS or e-mail. The appointment data is imported via a secure interface to the practice’s calendar system. Appointment types to be reminded can be specified or individual patients can be excluded.
Seamless integration into existing practice structures
The solutions can be seamlessly integrated into common telephone systems and practice management systems. As a cloud service, the PraxisConcierge desktop is accessible on all workstations with an Internet connection and a current browser (e.g. Firefox, Chrome, etc.). A headphone output at the respective workstation is advantageous so that a recorded call can also be listened to directly once. With a fixed IP address, access to PraxisConcierge can be restricted specifically to the practice network.
The optionally offered interface to the practice management system (PVS) significantly expands the range of functions offered. By assigning callers to a patient ID, the patient file can be called up -with one click- and calls can be answered directly from the program interface thanks to additional contact data via SMS or e-mail. In addition, the entire interaction can also be automatically documented in the patient file of the PVS.
“Healthcare systems around the world, and unfortunately also in Germany, have come under severe pressure as a result of Covid-19. We see an increasing willingness to maintain quality of care through the use of digital solutions.” Simon Kuttruf reports.
For example, the startup currently also provides targeted support for vaccination management in doctors’ offices: inquiring about selected patients in a risk group, confirming appointments, and documenting educational sheets with online forms.
An MVZ for rheumatology confirms: “It is impressive how PraxisConcierge supports us in the implementation of our vaccination strategy. We could not have implemented it in this form and at this speed in a comparable way. From the first day of work, there was an improvement and facilitation of workflows.”
The startup also won last year’s #EUvsVirus Hackathon in the caregiver shortage category with its solution to follow Corona outpatients. “Covid-19 is keeping doctors at bay around the world due to its sometimes sudden change in disease progression. With the help of our solution, patients can be continuously monitored on an outpatient basis and difficult progressions can be quickly detected” explains Simon Kuttruf.
Additional field of application of clinical studies
In addition to telephone assistance for doctors’ practices, the support of clinical studies for pharmaceutical companies also represents an interesting field of application. Clinical studies are structured processes in which information about the patient’s condition must be obtained on a regular basis. The primary objective of clinical trials is to clarify the efficacy, safety and tolerability of a drug or therapy. In order to gain the most meaningful picture possible of the effect of a drug or treatment approach, a large number of subjects are usually included in the study and cared for on an outpatient basis. With PraxisConcierge, a medical history can be taken in telephone dialog: answers are recorded and presented in a structured way. The evaluation by means of AI simplifies, digitizes and accelerates the processes.
Increased data security when handling special personal data
“Last year, medical practices and MVZs entrusted us with over 100,000 calls and patient notifications. We take the protection of the data generated in the process very seriously. In addition to the service agreement, we also conclude a contract for data processing. In this contract, we assure our customers that the data will not be used for any other purpose and will not be passed on to third parties. When the main contract is terminated, all data provided to us is deleted as a matter of course,” Kuttruf explains about handling special personal data. “Our security precautions are state-of-the-art with measures such as firewall protection, blacklisting of relevant bots and repeatedly incorrect password entries, live monitoring of dashboards, etc., and are updated on an ongoing basis. In addition, all call-related data is continuously deleted after 30 days. In this way, we offer medical practices a high level of security.”
Innovation and structured processes to drive digitization in healthcare
Digitization is slowly making its way into the healthcare sector. Politicians are already committed to startups in the healthcare sector – for example, hospitals are receiving funding to implement digitization plans.
“In many cases, there is still a lack of fundamental willingness to rethink existing processes. In this regard, we would like to see more openness for meaningful innovation. The support of the 5-HT Digital Hub is very valuable for us. We look forward to expanding our network and, as a player in the field of digital medicine, to working with other startups to complement products and advance solutions that can make a difference,” affirms Simon Kuttruf.