Let this computer call your patients for surveys

Periodic monitoring of patients’ health status can provide valuable information, but it’s often an expensive and time-consuming process. This computer system can make your calls — and tabulate the results.

The I-Vox system, released in September by Iameter of San Mateo, CA, provides an automated calling system to follow up with patients weeks or months after their office visit.

Generally, the system uses the SF-12 form, developed by John Ware Jr. at the New England Medical Center in Boston, to measure functional health status, and an overall patient satisfaction questionnaire. However, group practices or hospitals can use any questionnaire they choose, says Kevin Brooks, manager of Iameter corporate communications.

Patients fill out the first questionnaire before their office visit. They also receive a brochure explaining the I-Vox system, and they have an opportunity to request not to be called. Very few opt out of the system, Brooks says.

Within a preset time frame, which may vary depending on the medical problem of the patient, I-Vox calls the phone number designated by the patient. With a touchtone phone, patients (or their family members) can request to be called back at another time, or they can answer the questions, which last about three minutes. Physicians can set up the I-Vox system for longitudinal studies — for example, calling patients at six weeks, three months, and six months.

The phone introduction to the questionnaire can be personalized with the physician’s voice, Brooks says. It is also available in Spanish as well as English. The I-Vox response rate has been about 50%, he says.

I-Vox requires a $20,000 setup fee, which includes staff training and can be shared by several group practices in a locale that decide to launch the system. It has an ongoing cost of $4.75 per survey.

For more information about I-Vox, contact Kevin Brooks, manager, corporate communications, Iameter, 901 Matiner’s Island Blvd., Suite 565, San Mateo, CA 94404. Telephone: (800) 994-9111.

[Editor’s note: The product brief offered in this issue is for informational purposes only. The inclusion does not reflect an endorsement from American Health Consultants.]