Whilst we love all technology here at psHEALTH, it’s the real-world application of technology to improve healthcare and efficiency that we are really excited about. In this short blog I want to set out for clinicians, administrators and other non-technical people how our referral management solution can automatically process email attachments and efax documents.
It is a thankless task. Admin and clinical staff managing incoming referrals often perform time consuming tasks, manually opening email attachments to make triage decisions, making assignments to a particular team or submitting requests for further information. In addition, staff are often forced to record triage decisions in excel (or similar) as the underlying PAS systems are not designed to manage this type of workflow.
It does not have to be that way. Imagine an IT system that can open up your emails, process and read the attachments and then automatically make triage decision. Then, depending on referral type and your system configuration, the referral is automatically routed to the right destination or presented for approval by your staff.
That system is ART (Advanced Referral & Triage), a referral management solution from psHEALTH. It is designed to dramatically reduce staff cost, improve speed and reduce errors in the operations of referral management centres or single-point of access hubs. For the front-end of the process, we have reduced manpower by over 90%, removing arduous admin tasks and thereby freeing up staff to work with patients.
What about efax and reading PDF attachments? Yes, this is a core capability for us. ART uses world-class optical character recognition (so called OCR) which with great accuracy can convert most attachments into readable text. Over the past 10-15 years the accuracy of OCR has improved tremendously, and now with the addition of linking the recognition of actual characters to medical dictionaries, we can extract machine readable text with even greater accuracy. Our technology can not only ‘read’ traditional GP letters, but can also ‘read’ templates and interpret tick boxes, etc.
The real benefit of OCR is that we can convert referral information of all types into machine readable text. Once all attachments are in machine readable form, we can move to the next step in the process – the application of our rules engine. Here the machine (software) will extract key words and run these words against a set of pathway rules. For example, we have extracted out of the referral letter that this is a routine ophthalmology referral for cataract removal, a procedure that locally requires an individual funding request (IFR). Upon identifying this our software can automatically respond to the GP informing them, or create a task for a user to follow up.
The next step for the Referral Management team here at psHEALTH is to continue to refine our triage rules using machine learning. Both AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning are buzz words in the world of technology these days; for us it simply means creating a feedback loop so that when admin or clinical staff accept or reject the recommended triage decisions, this is fed back into the software to improve the hit rate. This means that in the future, even complex pathways can be fully automated.
These are exciting times for our customers and the people here at psHEALTH.
Feel free to contact us Here if you would like to discuss how our referral management software can help you deliver better, more cost-effective healthcare.
Product Manager Referral Management