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Monday, September 14, 2009

A Doctor's Office Dream Come True: Phreesia Patient Check-in System

A colleague of mine referred me to a new primary care physician with an online appointment scheduling system. Naturally my curiosity was piqued so I thought I'd give it a shot. I'm not really a fan of talking on the telephone - blame it on my Generation Y tendencies if you will, but I'd just rather not hear hold music ever again. Also, I was due for a routine check-up so I figured what the heck...

While the office's web-based appointment system was definitely functional and easy to use (if not archaic-looking), what really impressed me was my experience when I walked into the office. Instead of being handed the usual clip board and pen, a portable, wireless, touchscreen Phreesia tablet was bestowed upon me. Awesome.

The Phreesia tablet collects the same information as the old-fashioned paper method, but it ensures that the patient provides all the required information (it also adds an element of fun!). To begin, the patient can either enter his/her name and contact information manually or swipe a credit card. I opted for the manual approach as I prefer to not swipe my card unless it's absolutely necessary - that and it gave me more of an opportunity to play on the device. ;) After entering the basics, I moved on to complete the rest of the usual questions via the responsive touch screen. At the end of the process I was given the opportunity to give user-feedback, which I happily did. Overall, The Phreesia system is user-friendly and fun to use. There is no filling out the same information twice (as is often the case using paper forms) and the person on the receiving end doesn't have to decipher sloppy handwriting. The screen is bright and the fonts large so even the most committed technophobes should feel comfortable using it.

My only gripe? As far as I could tell, the data wasn't transmitted to the physician - so in the exam room I had to verbally repeat some of the same information I entered on the tablet (ie. existing conditions, regular medications, etc.) If Phreesia does offer such a feature, this particular doctor opted to not take advantage. Regardless, my overall experience was quick, painless, and fun - the way a visit to the doc should be!

Joe Says: Dr. John Lupiano, you've done this gadget geek proud. Now who's next?!

This is Joe, signing off.

2 comments:

Rachel said...

This sounds like a great device..I would totally be impressed if I walked into my doctors office and it was handed to me . As for having to repeat some of your history...chances are that even if the information is available through this service the doctor didn't look at it. Even when they have your file in their hand they still ask you lots of questions....and it's probably best that they ask you. You'll know they have correct information and if you are like me I like to have the connectivity with my doctors.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I recently had to use Phreesia at my GP’s office, and nothing felt more dehumazing and invasive than using a third party to check in. I felt badly for the elderly struggling with it. I didn’t know what entity was going to have my medical info or credit card data. I didn’t like handling a shared item in an area with sick people. Further, the market research questions and advertising were unexpected and obnoxious, especially in a medical professional’s office. To me, Phreesia is part of the disconnect between office and patient – humans. I hated it.
The more I read about these, the worse I feel. The only people raving are medstaff who think the use of these will lighten office staff load. And I want to know what incentives doctors’ office have, because they are under pressure to get x-many surveys per week.
I don’t care what I’m told about supposed privacy and how the company uses “aggregate data”- I am bit a willing participant in their data gathering. Heck, Phreesia is just now hiring someone to formulate privacy policies, so up to now, what are they? Feels Big Brotherish and if my doc continues, I may find a new doc.