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August 07, 2016 | Tom Ballard

NextDocVisit helping improve scheduling experience for patients, medical specialists

NextDocVisitBy Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

There’s a concept in healthcare today called the Triple Aim. Simply stated, it calls for improving patient outcomes, increasing patient satisfaction, and reducing costs.

Sounds like a real challenge, doesn’t it? There’s a Nashville-based company, initially launched in Knoxville, which is planning to be a significant contributor to the process for those who require surgery and the surgeons themselves.

The start-up, which is officially named Rockhopper ZSG, was founded by Jay Crawford, a Knoxville Orthopedic Surgeon and 20-year Army Officer. He was one of the winners in the 2015 Tennessee Veterans Business Association business plan competition.

The product is marketed under the NextDocVisit brand, and we sat down recently with Greg George, Rockhopper’s President, to get an update on the story we first posted a year ago. He’s a seasoned healthcare executive who is based in Nashville and joined the company last September.

“NextDocVisit is the only private label mobile app in the market providing a cognitive tool,” George says of the product that is available in both iOS and Android versions.

So, you are probably asking a logical question: “What does it do?” The answer is bringing both value and efficiency to the traditional process of scheduling an appointment with a specialist. The benefits accrue to the patient as well as the surgical group.

NextDocVisit is focused on changing the cumbersome and frequently lengthy time that it takes a patient to schedule an appointment. Then, when the patient actually shows-up for the appointment, the individual might have been assigned to the wrong specialist, necessitating a second visit. There is wasted time in the scheduling process, wasted time if the initial appointment was with the wrong physician, and certainly frustration on the patient’s part.

George says much of this is eliminated through the NextDocVisit app.

“When a patient presents and answers a few online questions, we direct the appointment staff to schedule with the right provider,” he explains.

The secret sauce, so to speak, is the set of algorithms that takes the patient’s answers to the questions and identifies the optimal match with a surgeon in the practice. In essence, it is a decision support tool for the appointments clerks based on information provided by the patient and analyzed by NextDocVisit’s software.

“The algorithm predicts the ideal location, timing, service line, and level of provider,” George said.

So, instead of the appointments clerk deciding how urgent the need really is and whether the patient needs to see a surgeon or maybe just a physician’s assistant, the software provides the optimized answer. The clerk simply calls the patient and confirms an appointment time, again based on information provided by the patient about availability and desired office, if the practice has multiple locations.

“We were developed by a physician for physicians,” George notes.

NextDocVisit has a module that serves referring physicians who frequently schedule appointments for their patients with specialists. Also, by utilizing the start-up’s online app, a surgical practice actually can say it is accessible to its patient 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition to addressing the scheduling process, George notes that NextDocVisit provides a significant ROI for the practice. A recent study showed that the app allowed a surgical practice to bring in 40 percent more revenue per patient and increase its overall collection rate by 13 percent.

“We believe our system provides about a 75 percent improvement for the appointment process in a practice,” George says.

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