Accordant Health Services to install multi-media messaging platform to manage chronic diseases

Greensboro 13 December 1999Accordant Health Services, a leading provider of expert systems-driven disease management programmes for complex, chronic diseases, has integrated the Interactive Intelligence's Enterprise Interaction Center's (EIC's) real time web communications option into its clinical call centre. Patients are able to go on-line and without picking up the phone to communicate directly with a nurse in the clinical call centre, by initiating a real time one-on-one chat session. The web chat option allows patients to connect directly with a professional who specialises in their condition.


This significant web-enabled advancement provides consumers with convenient options for interacting with nurses and other health care professionals, and for accessing rich disease-oriented information, as stated by Steve Schelhammer, president and CEO of Accordant. "We can now offer patients multiple communications options while achieving impressive flexibility and efficiency in customer service and clinical operations", according to Mr. Schelhammer.

"Accordant is the first company in the health care sector to integrate fully EIC's web component with the rest of EIC's telephony features", said Dr. Donald E. Brown, president and CEO of Interactive Intelligence Inc. "Accordant's novel EIC application introduces a unique intersection between the clinical call centre and the Internet, thus offering health care customers new self-service options and making it more convenient for them to access live nurses."

Accordant's EIC solution unifies multiple media types, including telephone, fax, e-mail, and web chat, onto a single computer platform. Call centre-based nurses process web interactions the same way they process phone calls, faxes and e-mail, right from their desktop PCs. This fully automated, open communications system also seamlessly links with Accordant's disease information database to offer patients the following on-line options:

  • On-line personal health assessment tools.
  • One-on-one web chat sessions with call centre-based disease management nurses.
  • Interaction with other Internet community members and experts via chats, message boards, "ask the expert" sessions and live forums.
  • Access to rich disease-specific libraries and other relevant content.

Jenice Valentine, who is a Lupus patient enrolled in Accordant's disease management programme, states that Accordant's on-line assessment tool is very convenient and provides a lot of information that she can't always get from her doctor. Her rheumatologist agrees that this is a very useful service for people with Lupus, especially with instant access to a nurse who is able to answer specific patient questions.

Mr. Schelhammer adds that Accordant has created a very rich, interactive environment designed to address all patients' specific learning and health management goals as well as any individualised communication preferences. The application of sophisticated database technologies allows Accordant to dynamically present individualised health content to its members while EIC's unified multi-media messaging platform gives patients numerous choices in how they access this information.

EIC allows Accordant nurses to handle both inbound and outbound calls, as well as live web chats, resulting in a far more effective and efficient customer service. Additionally, the system supports standard call centre components such as the following:

  • Skills-based routing, which directs calls to the most appropriate nurse available for a particular concern.
  • Caller ID, which can be used to automatically retrieve patient records.
  • Predictive dialling which allows staff members to devote more time to one-on-one patient interactions instead of spending time trying to reach patients.
  • IVR, which allows patients the option of retrieving information via telephone prompts while giving access to a "live" nurse if desired.

Accordant Health Services, based in North Carolina, focuses on providing specialised health information for complex, chronic diseases with the goal of improving clinical, patient satisfaction and cost of care outcomes. To this purpose, the company relies on expert "tele-web" systems that integrate Internet and call centre technologies to enable flexible, intelligent and customised information sharing among patients, providers and health plans. At present, Accordant offers programmes for 14 complex and chronic diseases in the expert areas of neurology, rheumatology, pulmonology, and haematology. Accordant's Medical Advisory Board is comprised of national medical experts who participate in the development and continuous quality improvement of the company's programmes.

With over 300 installed customer sites to date, Interactive Intelligence Inc. is a major developer of enterprise software that allows enterprises, call centres, and service providers to automate virtually every aspect of their business communications. The company's flagship product, Enterprise Interaction Center (EIC), is an "all-in-one" communications server, based on Windows NT, which replaces proprietary communication devices like PBXs, ACDs, IVRs, voice mail systems, fax servers, web gateways, as well as CTI middleware systems.

Add-on products include Interaction Web (web chat and collaboration, web callback, and Voice Over Net calls), the Interaction Recorder (voice logging), Interaction Director (SS7 pre-call routing), and Interaction Dialler (predictive dialling). EIC for Service Providers offers support for large-scale subscriber services including unified messaging, one-number "follow me", call screening, conferencing, and international call back. The company also markets e-FAQ, a standalone e-mail response management solution for organisations of all sizes. Interactive Intelligence Inc. is headquartered in Indianapolis with offices in Atlanta, Boca Raton, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Washington D.C., Aix-en-Provence, and Tokyo.

Leslie Versweyveld

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