Here's how the services manager sets up the Portal.
After logging in, the services manager clicks "Dashboard" at the top right of the screen and then clicks “Settings” in the top menu bar. The office name, email, contact name and phone number must be filled in. Below, the services manager fills out customizable fields that include specific instructions for referring HCPs. The “Canned Replies” field is customizable. Facility secretaries and technicians can select these time-saving, pre-created replies from a dropdown when posting within a Portal thread.
Next, the services manager clicks "Add New User/Test Proc." in the top menu. Here secretaries may be added. Existing secretaries can be deleted, should they leave the practice. Multiple tests/procedures that are offered at this facility location can be added and individually named.
In the "Assign Test/Procedure" area, the services manager lists all of the secretaries associated with each test/procedure, identifying one key secretary for each test/procedure and Saves all changes.
This is how simple it is to set up a ConsultSTAT-Services Portal.
The portal architecture emulates an online helpdesk. In a helpdesk, the member creates a new Ticket, then posts a question and the expert responds in the following post. An ongoing back and forth conversation can occur between the parties, appearing in chronological order as an expanding thread of posts on the page. In a ConsultSTAT portal, the member (referring HCP's office) creates a new Request, asking for (i) a test or procedure, or (ii) general information. An essential element of an appointment request is the uploading of the requisition, which appears as an attachment within the post. The facility secretary then responds in a subsequent post with either an appointment date or with the information requested. Following a test or procedure, the facility posts the report to the thread, for the referring HCP to download. The referring HCP can continue the dialogue, requesting clarification or further information. Thus each test/procedure can also result in a mentoring session, which terminates once the referring HCP is satisfied.
No, it is not an EMR. It is everything other than an EMR and a government billing system. The Portal is the facility's communication hub, replacing phone and fax for communication between referring HCP, facility secretary and services manager. Once a Request thread is completed (the report uploaded by the facility and downloaded by referring HCP's office and the dialogue between referring HCP and facility has ended), both offices save the entire thread as a PDF file and attach it to the patient's electronic or paper medical record. This provides accurate and complete documentation of all discussions concerning the patient, which is critical for medical-legal purposes.
It is not necessary to have an EMR. Once the PDF of the thread has been created, you can print it (along with the report letter) to add to the patient's paper medical record, or you can save it (along with the report letter) to the patient's electronic medical record.
Each facility location requires a separate Portal, because the members associated with a location are the referring HCPs that are unique to that Portal. The facility can schedule appointments for multiple tests/procedures inside the Portal. The services manager can assign which secretarial staff is associated with each test or procedure.
In the "Assign Test/Procedure" area of the Dashboard, the services manager designates all of the secretaries associated with each test/procedure, identifying one key secretary for each test/procedure. When a referring HCP opens a "New Request" and selects a test/procedure and then Saves, the Request is automatically assigned to the key secretary associated with that test/procedure. The Request then appears as a "Booking Request" on the "Manage Requests" page of every secretary who is associated with that test/procedure. Any one of these secretaries can open the "Booking Request" and deal with it. When that secretary clicks "Save", she now becomes the "ASSIGNED TO" secretary, replacing the key secretary (see the far right column on a "Manage Requests" screen). If another secretary opens the Request further along the workflow and Saves, she now becomes the "ASSIGNED TO" secretary, replacing the previous secretary. In this way, the Portal documents which secretary has updated which post. This is not only important for medical-legal purposes, it also serves a quality control function, allowing the services manager to monitor the quality and quantity of updates from each of his employees.
In the set up, the services manager sets the smallest, functional length of time for an appointment. He does so separately, for each test/procedure. For any one test/procedure, longer appointments will be multiples of this base time. Example: If a 15 minute base time is selected, the secretary can create a 15 minute appointment, a 30 minute appointment (2 consecutive 15 min. appointments), a 45 minute appointment (3 consecutive15 min. appointments), etc.
The booking system and associated calendar are integral components of the Portal. They have two additional benefits: (i) generating automatic email notifications to the referring HCP that an appointment is imminent or that the patient did not appear for the scheduled appointment; (ii) at the time of the test or procedure, the technician can open the patient's thread directly from the calendar entry to access the requisition and other information. You can certainly duplicate appointments made in the Portal into your existing booking program; however, you'll soon find it redundant.