MedNow, a 7-location urgent care + primary care practice led by Mark Newton, M.D., deployed the MedChat triage bot combined with ER Express’ online scheduling solution to screen and book patients for telehealth visits and COVID-19 testing.
“We have long made it a top priority to deliver high-quality, timely, and efficient care. MedChat along with ER Express allows MedNow Urgent Care to stay at the forefront of respecting our patients’ valuable time,” said Newton, practicing ER physician and founder & CEO of MedNow.
“When the county asked us to provide COVID-19 testing, we needed a way to screen and prioritize patients,” said Newton. “Our scheduling partner ER Express brought the MedChat triage bot to our attention. In just a few hours, we launched the triage bot tailored to our telehealth workflow.”
The triage bot screens patients to determine their individual level of risk based on Centers for Disease Control criteria. Medium- and high-risk patients are routed to schedule a telehealth screening through ER Express’ queueing software and, if appropriate, prioritized for testing. Patients with severe symptoms are triaged to nearby emergency departments. All patients can opt for a telehealth visit no matter their risk.
“Members of our communities want a way to know if they should be concerned for their health,” added Dr. Newton. “Offering the triage bot assessment reassures low risk individuals. The full protocol of triage bot, telehealth encounter and in-person testing maximizes the number of patients we can serve. As the protocol evolves, MedChat’s platform makes it very easy to change the bot’s screening criteria. We can now better deliver care to the patients who most need to talk to a provider and get tested. Like almost all counties, the demand for testing exceeds our capacity to test them all at once.”
In the first week, more than 600 patients screened themselves – many during off-hours. In the first weekend, more than 60% of high-risk patients scheduled a telehealth consult.
MedChat helps physician practices and other providers screen and triage patients quickly. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, practices primarily deployed MedChat to improve call response times, simplify scheduling, respond to billing questions, and handle other common patient inquiries. The chatbot and live chat platform became immediately useful for COVID-19 response because screening criteria and triage rules can be quickly adjusted as clinical guidance changes.
“We were already working with MedChat to deploy Schedule Bots for urgent care and emergency departments,” said Sahil Patel, founder & CEO of ER Express. “When COVID-19 hit, our clients asked for ways to assess patients, facilitate telehealth workflows and handle growing call volume, we immediately thought of MedChat. We are now deploying MedChat with several clients to triage patients, enable staff to work from home and alleviate the flood of inbound phone calls.”