Implementing Interactive Voice Recognition Technology to Activate Vulnerable Patients

  • Jeremy Rich HealthCare Partners Institute for Applied Research and Education
  • Janella Howe
  • Lori Larson
  • Chan Chuang
Keywords: telemedicine, chronic diseases, COPD, patient activation, patient engagement


Purpose: To help better align the intersections of patient needs, quality of care, and cost, we implemented an automated monitoring program that aimed to reduce preventable hospital admissions for vulnerable patients. Interactive voice recognition (IVR) is a form of remote patient monitoring that enables the clinical team to intervene sooner when a patient’s symptoms worsen. The goal was to improve patient activation by having them recognize symptom exacerbation and record their responses to a weekly IVR survey which was sent to the clinical team for potential action.

Methods: At a health care organization in Southern California, ninety chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients who were in enrolled in a self-management program completed IVR surveys based on COPD symptom zones. Patients answered the weekly surveys for 6 months and the data were transmitted to the clinical team for review and potential action.

Results and Conclusion: When COPD program patients used IVR, hospital admissions decreased and a positive return on investment was projected. Patients stated that automated monitoring helped them become more involved and motivated in their care. Clinicians indicated that using IVR freed up their time to concentrate on patients who were more at-risk for disease exacerbation and expanded their clinical capacity. In an era of clinical and financial accountability, being able to better identify patients who are at risk for hospital admission and who may benefit from more intensive management are key elements to help improve quality of care and the patient experience.


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Author Biography

Jeremy Rich, HealthCare Partners Institute for Applied Research and Education


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How to Cite
Rich, J., Howe, J., Larson, L., & Chuang, C. (2013). Implementing Interactive Voice Recognition Technology to Activate Vulnerable Patients. Journal of the International Society for Telemedicine and EHealth, 1(1), Pages 3-11. Retrieved from
Original Research