ARC lets customers rate their care

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ARC lets patients rate their care

Tablets from Humm Systems allow patients at Austin Regional Clinic to grade their experience. (via )

North Austin-based tech company Humm Systems has created an app that allows patients to give on-premise feedback to their health care providers. Austin Regional Clinic is participating in a pilot to test the program at three locations.

Lynae Harrison, electronic medical records operations manager at ARC, said the clinic has received 4,000 responses since beginning the pilot in late June.

“We’ve definitely never had that type of response,” she said.

Harrison is responsible for the implementation and oversight of the pilot program with Humm. The program included installing Humm tablets at ARC locations in Cedar Park Medical Plaza, Pflugerville and Anderson Mill in Northwest Austin.

Patients use the tablet to fill out a brief survey and write comments about their experience. ARC staff gets survey results in real time, which Humm CEO Bernard Briggs said is unlike any other method of measuring customer satisfaction.

Briggs said Humm started in the restaurant and hospitality industry with clients such as Truluck’s, Maudie’s Tex-Mex and Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q.

A dean at Yale University who saw a Humm tablet while vacationing in Vermont called Briggs one year ago and encouraged him to move the platform into the health care setting, Briggs said.

Now, Humm devices are deployed at more than 70 health care facilities, he said.

“That part of our business is growing so fast,” Briggs said.

Thanks to the new quality-based model of health care, medical facilities are eager to collect customer feedback, he said.

Harrison said ARC has always been focused on customer service, and the company is constantly searching for new ways to improve. Humm was exactly what ARC was looking for, she said.

ARC placed Humm tablets in different locations throughout each clinic to see which placement garnered the most patient participation. The Anderson Mill clinic used a kiosk of multiple tablets that patients can approach in the waiting room. At Cedar Park Medical Plaza, where Harrison said mostly specialty care is delivered, administrators at the front desk hand a tablet to patients during the checkout process. At the Pflugerville clinic, devices were placed in each exam room, where a nurse or physician encourages patients to use the tablet while they are in the room alone.

The Pflugerville model, where patients had some time, comfort and privacy, was the most successful, Harrison said. Across all three clinics, patients on average scored ARC 96 out of 100, she said.

Physicians and staff have also appreciated the program, Harrison said. When a patient gives the clinic a positive review in real time, it boosts staff morale, and makes employees happier to care for the next patient, she said.

On the same token, the app is helpful for management, who can identify a problem immediately and address it, she added.

The pilot program ends at the end of September, and ARC plans to hire Humm to expand the program.

“It has been so successful we are positive we’ll move forward with it,” Harrison said.

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Kara covers Northwest Austin, Round Rock ISD and health care in the greater Austin area.

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