Lecture: IVR Decision Aid



The objective of this assignment is to teach you how clinical decision aids work, in particular how patient portals for maintaining diaries work.  You are asked to program an Interactive Voice Response system for collection of patient symptoms.  We acknowledge that you are not computer programmers and therefore provide you with Voxeo platform that is relatively easy to implement and requires no prior computer programming experience.  Once you have prepared your product, we expect you to present how your product helps providers meet stage 2 meaningful use requirements.  You should prepare a presentation of your product.   This presentation should contrast your product with other systems in the field. 

Details of Interview

You can focus your IVR system on a topic of interest to you.  Three possibilities are the following:

  1. Home monitoring of patients' symptoms.  After initiation of a treatment, patients are asked to use a secure Interactive Voice Response system as a diary for their symptoms.  They call into a phone number to record their symptoms. At first contact, the computer acknowledges that they have reached the TRSC Online Diary.  Then it states that the diary cannot be use for emergencies.  Next it asks:  "What are your symptoms?"  Responses to this question are matched to 5 of the Treatment Related Symptom Checklist (TRSC) 25 symptoms.  If a checklist item has been found, then a question about the severity of the symptom is asked.  If the question on severity of the symptom indicates that the symptom is not present, the computer has misclassified initial response of the client and symptoms are verified one at a time.  If the client indicates there is an emergency, the client is instructed to call 911 and their call is transferred to an operator.  TRSC►

  2. Reduce readmissions.  The call should check that the patient has not received duplicate or contraindicated prescriptions for medications, understands the proper steps to take if symptoms change, has specific primary care follow up scheduled and is not alone.  Alternatively the call can focus on 3 care transition questions.  Questions► Example►

  3. Medication compliance for homeless patients.  Ask if the homeless patient has taken his medication as prescribed?  Think through many different responses to this question. Read►

Here is an example of a student's completion of this assignment:

Alternatively if students would like to change the content of the interview to focus on discharge planning, they can focus on creating an IVR system for the

See for an example of implementation in discharge planning:

How to Design an IVR?

Go to Voxeo Designer Development platform.   Create a free account.  Voxeo's support is 24x7 and free, even before you're a paying customer. Their developer portal allows you to map to real phone numbers, and make real calls, all for free.   Register►

Once you have registered, from the main menu choose Account and then choose Voxeo Designer.  Do not use other platforms, such as Evolution Platform, as these are more complex platforms and will take you more time to complete the class assignment.  Once you have selected Voxeo Designer, you will see the following options:

Learn about how to use the designer platform by using the options on the lower left hand side.  Start your project by creating a simple program that says "Hello".

Presentation Rubric 

Present your work as a narrated slides posted to the Author Stream or other public sites.  Narrate► Upload►

Make sure the following are part of your presentations: 

  1. Title slide with your name or alias
  2. Importance of symptom diary systems (rely on and reference published in the literature) More►
  3. Current applications of patient diaries to care improvement  More►
  4. Design of your system, include the visual flow from Voxeo
  5. Telephone number to try the system
  6. Discuss anticipated impact on stage 2 meaningful use criteria
  7. Concluding comments

Make the presentation look good:

  1. Consistent font and size for the text
  2. Take into account that web displays are 1/4 size of web displays.  Make sure that all elements are readable in the smaller size.
  3. No more than one point per slide.  No multi-point slides
  4. Clear narration at CD quality
  5. No spelling or grammatical errors
  6. Put within the description of the presentation the following statement:  "This presentation was prepared as part of the HAP 360 course on Information Systems in Health Care Management  taught by Farrokh Alemi, Ph.D. at George Mason University  Department of Health Administration and Policy."  Add a sentence about you to the description.  Keep in mind that the work you are uploading will remain on the web for years to come and will help shape your career.

Submit the URL for your presentation to your instructor Email►


For additional information, please see the following links:

  1. Monitoring of homeless patients More►
  2. Isabel patient symptom monitoring More►
  3. Impact of automated monitoring of alcoholics More►
  4. Impact of Treatment Related Symptom Checklist  (TRSC) More►
  5. Analysis of asthma diaries More►
  6. Helping patients think through causal models More►
  7. More examples from Gabrielle Hardeen

This page is part of the course on Information Systems.   This page was edited by Farrokh Alemi, Ph.D.  ęCopyright protected.