Oregon Health & Science University has granted an exclusive license to Attain Technologies for software designed to manage patient phone calls.
The Web-based application was developed by Peter Andersen, M.D., F.A.C.S., associate professor of head and neck surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine. OHSU's Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery has used the system for three years to intake, refer, store and respond to calls from patients. More recently OHSU's departments of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, and Family Medicine have begun using the software in their clinics.
Attain Technologies will incorporate the software into its PatientServe solution, which the company is developing to enhance physician-patient communication and help medical practices streamline their operations electronically.
"When it is available later this year, PatientServe will enable physicians and clinics to use the Internet for consultations, scheduling appointments, approving prescription refills, and triaging nonurgent phone messages from patients," said Phillip Levy, president of Chesterfield, Missouri-based Attain Technologies. "The system is secure and compliant with the new HIPAA regulations."
Andersen developed the software with the help of Jean Trygstad, director of hospital and clinic services at OHSU. They wanted to create an electronic messaging system that could replace the otolaryngology clinic's paper-based protocol. "Intake forms for patient calls can be misplaced or not filed correctly," Andersen said.
The computer-based system proved a boon to office staff, allowing calls to be processed and resolved more quickly, and tracked more accurately. In turn, patient satisfaction increased and the office ran more smoothly. "We estimate we've probably saved the equivalent of one full-time employee" by using the electronic system, Andersen said. "As more people use the software, it will be revised."
Andersen worked with OHSU's Technology and Research Collaborations (TRC) office to copyright and market the software. Levy came across the technology while browsing TRC's Web site.
"It was one of those lucky things," Levy said. "I was looking for solutions that add efficiencies, time and cost savings to the practice of medicine. I thought I'd look into what OHSU was doing."
"It gives us great satisfaction that a solution discovered and used at OHSU is finding its way to the marketplace so that others can benefit from it," said Jessica Zeaske, M.H.S., Ph.D., TRC licensing associate. "The licensing agreement enables Attain Technologies to strengthen its PatientServe solution and also helps the university earn revenue in the process of fulfilling one of its goals -- improving health care delivery."
Levy predicted that physicians, patients, employers and insurers all will benefit from PatientServe. "The application of technology to improve patients' access to their physicians is more than a niche application," he said. "Solutions like OHSU's phone message management software are valuable new tools in the delivery of patient-centered health care."
Through TRC, OHSU transfers discoveries resulting from its clinical, educational and research activities to companies for commercial development and, when appropriate creates new ventures. OHSU scientists have disclosed 600 new technologies since 1985, resulting in more than $10 million in licensing revenues. This revenue is used to advance OHSU's teaching and research activities.