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PhoneMyDoctor helps physicians with the push of a button

By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
TAMPA, FL – Debuting a deceivingly simple technology that offers physician practices the chance to save time, reduce costs, limit liability and increase billing, PhoneMyDoctor is new Louisiana-Based firm (booth #1038) whose flagship product was "developed for physicians with physicians and meets every requirement for effective, efficient telemedicine," according to co-founder Paul Guillory, MD.

It works like this: Rather than using a traditional answering service, a doc calls PhoneMyDoctor for after-hours calls.

When patients calls the practice, they're put through a series of prompts that records necessary information, such as pharmacy details, and the nature of their complaints.

The physician then receives a text notification from PhoneMyDoctor indicating that call. He or she then calls into PhoneMyDoctor with a specially-provided 800 number specific to his or her practice.

On the same call, he or she can listen to the patient's complaint and then either a) call the patient back, b) place a prescription with the patient's pharmacy, or c) dial into his or her office to leave detailed follow-up instructions for the next day.

The entire call is recorded and then sent in a report to the physician. That can be added to the patient's records, which, aside from the benefit to the patient, reduces risk liability.

With that increased documentation, the completely automated system -- which requires no new equipment or training -- helps docs reduce costs up-front, while providing additional billing opportunities on the back-end.

It's "seemingly, from the user's perspective, a very low-tech offering," says PhoneMyDoctor's John Dolak. "But the reality is the combination of technologies that went into creating this system" is fairly complex.

The patent-pending system combines technologies such as VoiceXML and interactive voice response packages. In addition, "a combination of databases go into making this work, and then to keep it HIPAA compliant adds another level of complexity.

In development for years, there was "a lot of testing and experimenting to see if we could make all these technologies talk to each other seamlessly," he says.

The result is a self-contained, intuitive (for patient and doctor) system of prompts and cues.

"Doctors really hate the fact that, when taking after hours calls, they need to hang up with the patient and then dial the pharmacy," Dolak says. Here, "all they have to do is say 'yes' when the system asks if they want to call in a prescription, and the system connects them with the pharmacy the patient selected."

So far, the physicians who've signed on to the service love being able to deal with patient calls from the car, he says, and the fact that it frees up time after hours. They also like that it "doesn't cost any more than a traditional answering service."

Patients, meanwhile, should like that it makes for more complete medical records.

And, of course, "malpractice insurance companies love it because of the documentation."

In simplest terms, though, docs "just think it's neat," says Dolak. "They just talk to it, and it does all this stuff."

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