Phytel Unveils Automated SaaS Tools to Bridge Patient Care Gaps

Health care software developer Phytel has introduced new SaaS software to identify care gaps and improve doctor-patient communication.

Phytel, a developer of health care population-management tools, has unveiled Atmosphere, a suite of software as a service (SaaS) products that automate communications to patients to bridge gaps in care.

Atmosphere allows doctors to send automated messages and surveys to patients to follow up on their needs and remind them about appointments. A dashboard generates analytic reports detailing how well the communications platform helps improve quality of care.

"It's a consistent process to help catch these patients as they continue to slip through the cracks," Russell Olsen, vice president of product management for Phytel, told eWEEK. Communication methods include calling, texting and emailing.

Announced Sept. 19, Atmosphere is the first collective population-health software for providers, according to Phytel.

The software can also identify steps needed to satisfy Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' reporting requirements for quality of care under the Physician Quality Reporting System to be eligible for incentives. Atmosphere then customizes the patient follow-up routine to meet those Medicaid requirements.

"By supplying care teams with the necessary automation tools, identifying and contacting patients with care gaps, and supporting patients' engagement with their providers, Phytel gives providers the capabilities to meet their patients' entire preventive and chronic care needs while reinforcing our clients' financial performance," Steve Schelhammer, CEO of Phytel, said in a statement. "We are leveraging technology and data visibility to deliver powerful automated benefits that are crucial for success in the emerging population health management model of health care delivery."

The software draws on a data integration engine that sifts through scheduling, billing, administrative and lab data, Olsen said. It queries a physician's database in real time to get updates on a patient's status.

In addition, if patients are at risk of a health condition based on their population data, the software creates customized plans to help them avoid the risks.

Atmosphere monitors patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol to see if they have appointments scheduled as directed and books them if necessary. For diabetics, the software sets up rules around diet and exercise to keep patients engaged in their health.

"The care-coordination platform is about engaging patients more than just coming back into the office," Olsen said.

Meanwhile, the software's clinical rules engine runs against the data set and identifies care gaps, or ways patients need to reconnect with their doctor, Olsen said.

"The rules engine might identify a group of patients that are at risk based on their clinical values and history and some of the other indicators we're looking for and analyzing," Olsen said.

If patients haven't completed online risk-assessments, the software will notify them to complete them.

Phytel's registry stores data on 20 million patients nationwide, according to the company.

The software also includes a communications platform that pulls information from the registry and decides when to send automatic communications to patients about tests or exams.

Phytel is opening up its API for other vendors to develop products based on the Atmosphere platform, Olsen said.

On July 28, Phytel introduced Hospital Readmission Management, an application that allows doctors to monitor patients' progress after they leave the hospital to limit the number of readmissions.