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IVR Technology Group Comes Back with iAnswerListen to this article in TTS, powered by Loquendo

The customizable automated call answering system was specifically built with the medical community in mind.
By Kathleen Savino - Posted Aug 19, 2010
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IVR Technology Group (ITG), a company that provides interactive voice response solutions and services, introduced a second-generation version of its MDCall solution, which features an automated medical answering service, iAnswer. Independent practitioners or medical groups can use this system to answer and deliver calls to doctors.

ITG asserts that this solution will not only save money, but will also provide reliable call experience for patients. “Medical practices are resigned to using answering services that are often expensive, prone to error, hard to reach and sometimes, even unprofessional," said John Crouthamel, executive vice-president of IVR technologies at ITG, in a statement. "Hardly surprising since most traditional answering services suffer from high operator turnover rates and overworked staff. Low automation in the industry also means a practice has to spend more time sending verbal and written communication and ensuring that instructions are met.” 

ITG also asserts that the iAnswer system answers 99.9 percent of calls on the first ring, and because the call flow is predetermined, all calls will be handled correctly. The system also can detect unanswered calls and follow a protocol to continue to page the provider or escalate the call. The user can even define how many pages are sent, to whom, and in which order.

Crouthamel also contends that the system is completely customizable, and provides solutions that are specific to the medical community. iAnswer allows a user to keep copies of patient messages, which could help in liability protection. Furthermore, the company says that doctors using the service will find it easy to change how they receive messages through the channel of their choice—by cell phone, home phone, pager or email. Therefore, if a user loses a phone or pager, he can change his settings via the Web right away.

Though the system can take messages, those messages are not yet transcribed using speech-to-text. “We purposely do not do that, as the technology just isn’t there to take in variances in speech patterns and accents and transcribe well enough for important medical messages,”  Crouthamel explains. However, messages are available via SMS, and  the company will be looking into using speech-to-text for future releases and updates of iAnswer. “Recordings can be provided and entered into the patent's electronic record—an option for the doctors,” he adds.

“We continue to invest into iAnswer both in terms of platform and functionality,” Crouthamel says. “We strive to have good working relationships with all of our clients and as such, we can and do leverage their input and suggestions to keep our programs contemporary with the ever changing technology environment."

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