LeanTaaS rolls out generative AI hospital operations solution in latest example of uniting new tech with old-school messaging

LeanTaaS’ generative AI hospital operations solution iQueue Autopilot may be called the first of its kind, but it’s part of a larger trend of hospitals uniting groundbreaking tech with old-school SMS text messages.

The meeting of old and new is being rolled out in all parts of hospital management from billing to scheduling to post-discharge follow-up. LeanTaaS’ iQueue Autopilot includes the so-called “Lean Back” method that proactively alerts clinical decision-makers via text messages to potential scheduling and staffing issues along with solutions.

“Healthcare has a unique opportunity to leapfrog older technology by harnessing AI to improve patient access, staff and clinician experience and reduce staff burnout,” said Sanjeev Agrawal, LeanTaaS president and COO, in a press release. “For decades, legacy IT systems and standard dashboards have simply admired the patient access, capacity issues and staffing problems hospitals experience. Thanks to the power of predictive and prescriptive analytics — and now generative analytics — we can give leaders, frontline staff and clinicians dynamic solutions at their fingertips that proactively solve the biggest challenges facing hospitals today, including broken workflows and crippling staffing shortages.”

Players across the sector are tapping into the device already in patients' and providers' pockets. A recent report from Salucro Healthcare Solutions found that text messaging to enable medical bill payments is on the rise. Patient interest in receiving test message notifications about medical bills rose 30% since 2022. Just over half of patient respondents said text message reminders would prompt faster payment.

Atrium Health implemented a feature sending patients a message when their bill is ready along with a link to make the payment directly without having to log into the portal. Despite a 15% response rate, since June of last year, $6 million has been collected through the mobile payment programs and 40,000 paper statements have been eliminated.

A representative from insurance marketplace GoHealth told Fierce Healthcare that when the company leapfrogged snail mail and moved passed email strategies to text messages, click-through rates increased by 102%.

Memora Health also recently partnered with SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University to employ text messages to lighten the load for care teams. Memora’s intelligent care enablement platform digitizes the follow-up process by automating clinical touchpoints through text messages.

“The content of those messages will depend on various factors including advanced Natural Language Processing and special scripts we are designing based on Memora’s experience with other clients as well as our system’s workflows,” Mafuzur Rahman, M.D., University Hospital Downstate's chief medical information officer, said. “Memora automates answers to some of the most frequently asked questions patients have around a particular episode and is able to identify when a matter is truly urgent.”

Messages are informed with post-discharge guidance like appointment prompts and reminders along with proactive screening for changes in symptoms and adherence to care plans.

Through the messaging platform, patients can also complete a social determinants of health assessment survey to identify barriers to care including housing and food insecurity, financial constraints to care and safety.

Rahman believes there has been growing interest industry-wide in solutions like SMS-based communications “because of the low barrier to entry and the opportunity to proactively engage with them in a very familiar mode,” he told Fierce Healthcare.

When a matter is deemed urgent, the patient will be passed on to a clinical care provider. When designing the pilot program, Rahman said, the partners focused on addressing common symptoms such as vomiting and dizziness that are “typically benign” but can cause patients substantial distress.

The hospital’s Emergency Care Center sees nearly 45,000 patients each year with another 9,000 patients discharged from inpatient settings annually. With over 80% of phone calls from unknown numbers going unanswered and staff shortages being rampant, Rahman says the program fills an important gap.

“This will come as no surprise, given the nationwide shortage of clinical staff, but the biggest challenge we have had has been a lack of staff — and when it comes to contacting patients post-discharge, our providers are overwhelmed,” Rahman said. “Once a patient is discharged and sent home, typically our RNs are tasked with manually reaching out to each patient and following up as needed to ensure they have the resources they need, including medications and follow-up appointments.”

Despite a slowing in the venture capital market, Memora scored $30 million to scale its delivery of complex care management. The startup is working to help healthcare organizations meet the barrage of messages coming from patients, a deluge that has increased 157% over the last three years.

The San-Francisco-based company has partnered with over 50 organizations that pay a monthly subscription fee for the software, including the Mayo Clinic, Penn Medicine and Edward Elmhurst Health. Recent partnerships have also included the largest health system in South Jersey, Virtua Health, and premier research institution Moffitt Cancer Center.