Listen for outpatient encounters

You may want to listen for encounter updates if you want to follow up with patients after an outpatient visit. Typically, you can use this API action so that you are notified when any of these events occur within your connection’s EHR system:

  • A patient arrived for a scheduled outpatient appointment; 
  • A patient arrived for a telehealth appointment and is waiting for a provider; or
  • A patient arrived for a walk-in outpatient appointment.

You can use this API action if your system does any post-visit work, like sending a customer survey, providing post-appointment information, or offering services after an appointment. Or you may want to use this if you’re tracking general population health. The main purpose is if your system cares that a patient arrived for a visit or that there’s updated clinical information after a patient visit. 

Supported systems

You can receive event notifications for this API action with the Redox FHIR® API.

Your connection's system can push event notifications to yours with a polling or subscription type of system. 

Special considerations

Not real-time updates

While you do get notified that a patient arrived for an appointment, the EHR system doesn’t necessarily provide real-time notifications. The EHR system typically initiates a daily batch request with data payloads for all patients that arrived for a scheduled appointment or walked in for an appointment. However, the batch may contain data for appointments that occurred three to five days beforehand. Just take that into account as you’re planning your own workflow around this data.

Redox FHIR® API

Keep in mind that for the FHIR® API, encounter updates are different from scheduling updates. A scheduling update is related to new appointments, changes to appointments, or patient pre-work before an appointment. An encounter update, on the other hand, notifies you that a patient arrived for an appointment and that clinical data may be available. Learn more about listening for scheduling updates

There should be a related encounter for a scheduled appointment, but there won’t be an encounter if the patient is a no-show. Also, an encounter may exist without a scheduled appointment if a patient is a walk-in. 

Visit arrival instead of visit completion

If you want to follow up with a patient after a completed visit, we recommend that you listen for and time your workflow from the visit arrival instead of visit completion. This is a more reliable method since visit completion can be inconsistent. 

A common use case for this is if you send patient surveys after a completed visit. In this case, you could listen for the visit arrival, then send the survey X hours after the visit arrival time. Whatever the use case, you can determine the most appropriate amount of time to begin your system’s workflow after the patient arrives for the visit.  

It’s also important to note that you may not receive notification of a visit arrival immediately; these notifications are sent in batches, so you may receive notification of a visit arrival three to five days after the patient actually arrived for the visit. No-show notifications also may be delayed. Take that potential delay into account when determining the timing of your workflow.

Inpatient and outpatient visits

If you want to track inpatient visits in addition to outpatient visits, we recommend that you listen for hospital admission updates too. Learn more about hospital admission updates.

Action steps

Listen for outpatient arrival notifications

How to respond to event notifications

Upon receiving this type of event notification, you only need to respond with the relevant HTTP status code. After that, you decide what your system should do with the notification.

The EHR system sends an event notification for each individual patient that checks in for a hospital or outpatient visit.

If you're listening for outpatient encounters, this step is required.

Event notification

Listen for patient registration updates (visit)

How to respond to event notifications

Upon receiving this type of event notification, you only need to respond with the relevant HTTP status code. After that, you decide what your system should do with the notification.

For a visit context, the EHR system sends an event notification whenever:

  • a patient record is created at the time of hospital admission or visit; or
  • a patient's demographics are updated during the hospital visit.

Event notification