Interactive voice response (IVR) technology is all around us. People are asking “Siri” to update calendars, provide directions and find a good pizza place. But, we’ve just scratched the surface on what IVR can do.

VAL9000 takes IVR into patient medical records and is one of the Phase 1 recipients in our Open App Challenge. Doctors can use it to interact verbally with the Electronic Health Record (EHR).

Reducing click, swipe, type

Instead of entering or retrieving data in the EHR by clicking, swiping or typing, clinicians simply speak to the EHR. For example, a nurse might report that Stanley’s blood pressure today is 120/70. VAL9000 captures the information and automatically knows where to save it in the EHR.

A clinician can also retrieve patient information from the system by simply asking questions, “What’s Stanley’s blood pressure today?” This is an especially useful function when a physician is on call or out of the office. He can call into the EHR from a mobile device and access a patient’s records.

Productivity plus insight

VAL9000 provides feedback along the way as clinicians add information. Let’s say I order an MRI on the right knee of my patient. The system can tell me the patient had a similar procedure three months ago and provides the results. I have the option to continue or cancel my order, and also receive an alert that results are available for review when the new MRI is complete.

VAL9000 plans to tap even more of the capabilities of IVR to offer clinicians reminders and diagnosis guidance. Hopefully, we’ll take the productivity gains for granted in the near future.

An Open environment for developers

IVR presents a lot of technical challenges too, especially with qualitative patient data. Some skeptics might be asking: Is it going to work?

But it doesn’t matter. What matters is we try. Innovation is an experiment where you don’t know what’s going to happen.  And we’ll only have a shot at making it work if we have an Open environment.

Of course IVR is not going to work everywhere for everyone. The point is to figure out where it is the right solution, and where does it work well.

I look at any of these technologies like playing golf. We’re iterating towards a better solution. We could paralyze ourselves thinking we need to get a hole-in-one with every shot.  Instead, we need to start with a drive off the tee, test different clubs and try different swings – until we find the solution that works best.

Robert Koffler, CEO of VAL9000, is more used to “moats, barbed wire and missile defense systems” around the data in EHRs.  By providing our Application Programming Interface (APIs), Allscripts give him hope for the future of the EHR industry. He said he’d never thought he’d live to see the day when IVR would work with EHRs. But here we are. Again, that’s the power of Open.

Editor’s Note: Open App Spotlight will feature other Allscripts Open App Challenge Phase 1 recipients over the next several weeks. The challenge reflects Allscripts commitment to being Open to innovation, and why Open matters to the future of health care. To learn more read the Open App Challenge news release, or to see stories like these in person, join us in Chicago this August at Allscripts Client Experience (ACE13).

 

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About the author

Stanley Crane is Chief Innovation Officer for Allscripts. In his more than 30 years of healthcare and consumer-related software experience, he has led the development of award-winning software programs including electronic health record, electronic prescribing, web-based medication sales, online physician education, resource scheduling, financial systems, materials management, medical translation software and voice recognition dictation systems. Previous to his healthcare experience, Stanley was involved in Silicon Valley, where he held positions with many well-known software companies. As the General Manager of Lotus cc:Mail, he created the first remote mail products. He was also the Vice President of Engineering at WordStar International, and Director of Applications at Ashton-Tate, managing their Macintosh products as well as dBase IV. Before that, Stanley was a founder of two Internet startups – MaxMiles, an automated frequent flier mileage aggregator, for whom he built the first versions of the product; and Shopping@Home, a company that was acquired by Allscripts in 1999 to support medication sales.

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