News | October 17, 2007

Vocantas CallAssure Provides Hospitals With Automated Post-Discharge Patient Follow-Up

October 18, 2007 – Interactive voice response solutions maker Vocantas Inc. recently announced general availability of Vocantas CallAssure, optimized for use in the healthcare environment.
The company says CallAssure uses advanced computer telephony and speech technology to enable clinics and hospitals to more easily monitor patients in the hopes of mitigating adverse effects that are common in recently discharged patients.
Studies cited by the maker show that as many as 20 percent of patients experience adverse events upon release from the hospital. One third of these adverse events lead to at least temporary disability and 3 percent lead to death. Research shows one third of adverse events are preventable and healthcare facilities can play a role in this prevention with comprehensive patient follow-up.
CallAssure has recently completed clinical trials in North American hospital environments with favorable results. The results of the most recent trials were released Oct. 11 in Ottawa, Canada as part of the Halifax 7, Canadian Healthcare Symposium, with Dr. Alan Forster of the Ottawa Health Research Institute presenting his findings.
Dr. Forster’s study, conducted in Edmonton, Alberta through Capital Health, concluded that by using CallAssure, 88 percent of the post-discharge work related to telephone monitoring of patients was eliminated, with nurses having to contact only the patients who required intervention.
“Patients were keen to participate in the study and were advised in advance of what to expect,” says Rinda LaBranche, clinical quality consultant from Capital Health in Edmonton. “Several carefully designed questions determined if they were having any adverse events and if so, the patient could transfer directly to a nurse at HealthLink Alberta or request a callback. If the patient’s verbal response highlighted a significant issue, the system advised them to seek immediate medical attention.”
The company said patients’ responses revealed an extremely high acceptance of the automated follow-up system. Independent research further revealed that, when asked, two-thirds of patients actually preferred the system to speaking with a nurse, company officials said.

Vocantas said it designed CallAssure based on real calls with nurses so the resultant data correspond directly with the information that would have been gathered had a nurse conducted the call. As a result, the system asks questions based on the needs of the particular healthcare facility. Vocantas works with hospital administrators to determine the best script for the calls and also determines the appropriate business rules based on patient responses. The course of action during and after the call is up to the facility. Nurses can be contacted with call data via telephone or e-mail and so conduct the necessary follow-up only with those patients who require post-discharge attention. Callers can be transferred to live attendants who can deal with the patient immediately. And even where no further action is indicated, data are collected for statistical trends and patient satisfaction analysis.
CallAssure is easily integrated into existing telephone systems and can either be installed on site or hosted by Vocantas.

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