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Customer Portal Requests for Transport

If you so allow it, your facilities can use their Customer Portal to book future transportation. This helps reduce the phone traffic coming into your dispatch office.

AngelTrack uses email to communicate with the facility, notifying them when their online request was accepted or rejected by your dispatchers.


Activating This Feature

This feature is off by default. You must activate it before your facilities will be permitted to request transport using the Customer Portal.

To activate the feature, follow these steps:

  1. Login to AngelTrack with administrative privileges.
  2. Visit the Preferences page under Settings.
  3. Scroll down to the "Customer Portal" section, and tick the ☑ Facilities can use the Customer Portal to request transportation checkbox.
  4. If you wish to receive an emailed copy of each customer request, provide an email address in the box. This is optional, because customer requests already accumulate in the Requests for Transport queue under Dispatch Home, and so you need not worry about losing track of one.
  5. Notify your facilities about the feature. You must send each facility the following four pieces of information:
  6. Read through the rest of this document below, in order to educate yourself about the portal's capabilities and restrictions.

Remember, in AngelTrack, any location can be a facility, even residential houses. Your frequent-flier private patients can use it from home, just exactly like your nursing homes use it.

Your dispatchers should submit a few practice calls

Your dispatchers will potentially be answering questions from your customers about this feature. Each dispatcher should therefore familiarize themself with the feature ahead of time, by connecting to the Customer Portal and submitting a request or two just like a customer would.

It is easy to visit any specific customer's page in the Customer Portal: open the Facilities List, find the facility, click to open their Facility Edit page, and then scroll down to the link which reads: View the portal as the facility sees it...

Once the facility's portal has opened, click one of the Add buttons to open the transport request page. (If you do not see any Add buttons, then the AngelTrack administrator needs to enable the feature first, by following the instructions above.)


The Submission Form is Right Inside the Customer Portal

When you allow your customers to request transport online, a pair of Add buttons appears in each facility's portal, like this:

Simple buttons to launch the request page

Clicking either button opens the request form. The "Departures" button pre-configures the form for a transport departing from the facility, while the "Arrivals" button pre-configures a transport returning to the facility. It's the same form either way.


Keeping a Dispatcher In the Loop

AngelTrack does not allow a customer to place calls directly onto the schedule. Instead, AngelTrack queues up customer requests for approval by a human dispatcher.

This arrangement is explained to the customer when they first hit the submit button:

Advisory message upon submission

The dispatcher's job is to review each customer request, and either accept it -- placing it onto the call schedule -- or reject it. Either way, the customer is notified via the email address they were required to provide when submitting their request. (Examples of these notification emails are given below.)

Whenever a customer request for transport is awaiting acceptance by a dispatcher, AngelTrack will display an indication on the Dispatch Home page:

Requests waiting advisory

A dispatcher will click that red link, opening the Requests for Transport page which displays a grid of pending requests. Each request presents a choice:

Older requests -- be they accepted or rejected -- can be reviewed at any time.

Although your dispatchers are kept in the loop for calls requested via the portal, they are relieved of the urgency of telephone calls. They can review and book the requests at leisure, after the dispatch office quiets down in the evening.


The Many Restrictions Prevent Most User Errors

The main problem with online booking of transportation has always been the high rate of user errors. AngelTrack imposes many restrictions on what can be booked online, in order to greatly reduce the opportunities for error.

Consequently, it is not for general-purpose booking of transportation. It is only for use by your facilities, and only for booking transport for their resident patients... but remember, anything can be a facility in AngelTrack, even a residential home. Therefore your private patients can use it to arrange transport for themselves: simply create a facility record representing their home, and send them their facility ID and access code.

Existing patients only

The portal can request transport only for patients who already have records in AngelTrack. To book service for a new patient, they must telephone it instead.

This restriction spares you the problems arising from customers trying to create new patient records:

  1. Customers accidentally create duplicate patient records because they will not perform a reasonable search for an existing record.
  2. Once the duplicate records exist, customers will create duplicate transports because AngelTrack does not show the calls already booked under the other record.
  3. Customers will input non-answers (such as "Insurance policy ID 0000000") when they can't be bothered to fill out all the datafields.

Existing facilities only

The portal cannot request transport to or from a location not yet recorded in AngelTrack as a facility. Instead, the customer simply chooses from your list of facilities already defined.

This restriction spares you the steady stream of wrong addresses, missing floor/room numbers, and typographical errors that result from asking non-dispatchers to input a complete street address.

Advanced booking only / No same-day booking

Because this booking system keeps a human dispatcher in the loop for each request, and because AngelTrack cannot guarantee that a dispatcher will see and respond to a request immediately after it arrives, the portal does not allow same-day booking. Customers must use the telephone for that.

This restriction also removes the temptation for customers to use the portal to request emergent transportation.

Other restrictions

In addition to the aforementioned, the portal imposes these additional restrictions:

  1. No emergency calls
  2. No calls for on-scene labs, telemedicine, well-person checks, or IV starts
  3. No requests for standby service

The first time a customer uses the portal to request transport, the portal will display an advisory panel listing all of the aforementioned restrictions. The user must click through the advisory panel in order to fill out the form.


Security Threats and Defenses

The transportation request form relies on the same security model as the rest of the Customer Portal: you issue each facility their ID and access code, which the facility's employees use to access their portal and (if you've allowed) submit requests for transport.

Defense against brute-force guessing attacks

Brute-force attacks against the ID and access code will fail because the Customer Portal will accept any ID and access code... but the dispatch boards will be empty unless the ID and access code are both correct.

The request form implements this security model in a similar way.

Anyone in the country can access the request form, fill it out, submit the request, and receive an acknowledgement. However, AngelTrack will silently discard the request unless the facility ID and access code are both correct. Brute-force attacks fail because there is no way to know that AngelTrack discarded the request.

Defense against rogue employees

A much more probable threat is a rogue employee at the facility, who gives the facility's ID and access code to a competing EMS company. A malicious competitor could use that information to book false calls. They might even book real calls, arranged to overload your operation at a strategically useful time -- perhaps coinciding with a sales visit in order to poach your contract.

In order to defend against this, AngelTrack relies on the dispatcher who reviews each request before adding it to the call schedule. AngelTrack captures the customer's IP address, which can be reviewed and geolocated right from the Requests for Transport queue. AngelTrack also captures the requestor's web browser identification; this information automatically appears in the "Dispatcher Notes" of the dispatch that was created from the request.

The requestor's IP address and web browser identification also appear in the request notification emails that AngelTrack automatically sends to your dispatcher.

If you have an ongoing problem with false requests, issue the facility a different access code (using Facility Edit). If the problem still continues, then geolocate the requesting IP address using the tool in the Requests for Transport queue. With that information you can have a conversation with the facility's administrator.


Sample Notification Emails

If you visit the Preferences under Settings and configure a notification email address for Customer Portal, AngelTrack will send to that email address a copy of each customer request. Here is a sample submission notification email:

Request for Transport
   Request ID: 458

Requested by: Jane Smith LVN at 212-555-1234
   On behalf of: Allen Care Nursing Home at 201 Allen Ave
   Requested on: 2017-03-26 22:02:00
   Requested from: 192.168.1.102
   Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/57.0.2987.98 Safari/537.36

Service: BLS wait-and-return

Date of travel: 2017-03-27
   Expected distance: 12.8

Origin: Allen Care Nursing Home at 201 Allen Ave
   Pick up at: 10:00 (precise)

Destination: Davita Dialysis Center at 1920 Fair Oaks Ave
   Drop off by: 10:30

Date of return trip: 2017-03-27
   Pick up at: 15:00 (imprecise)

Repetition instructions: She needs to go every M/W/F starting this Friday

Comments:
---------------------------
Please make sure to bring the patient's blanket and two apple juices.
She will try to take all of her pillows but do not let her bring more than one.

--
Acme EMS Transporatation
Taking care of you just like family.

Customers are required to provide their own email addresses when submitting a request. When a dispatcher accepts their request -- placing it onto the call schedule -- AngelTrack automatically sends a notification email back to the customer. Here is a sample acceptance notification email:

Your request for transport has been accepted.
   The transport is booked as dispatch ID 1427.
For questions, or to alter or cancel this trip, call your dispatcher at 212-555-5678.

Your original request is as follows; save it for your records.

---------------------------------------

Request ID: 458

Requested by: Jane Smith LVN at 212-555-1234
   On behalf of: Allen Care Nursing Home at 201 Allen Ave
   Requested on: 2017-03-26 22:02:00
   Requested from: 192.168.1.102
   Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/57.0.2987.98 Safari/537.36

Service: BLS wait-and-return

Date of travel: 2017-03-27
   Expected distance: 12.8

Origin: Allen Care Nursing Home at 201 Allen Ave
   Pick up at: 10:00 (precise)

Destination: Davita Dialysis Center at 1920 Fair Oaks Ave
   Drop off by: 10:30

Date of return trip: 2017-03-27
   Pick up at: 15:00 (imprecise)

Repetition instructions: She needs to go every M/W/F starting this Friday

Comments:
---------------------------
Please make sure to bring the patient's blanket and two apple juices.
She will try to take all of her pillows but do not let her bring more than one.

--
Acme EMS Transporatation
Taking care of you just like family.

Likewise a rejection notification email -- marked URGENT -- is sent when a dispatcher rejects their request:

Your request for transport has been DECLINED.
   Explanation: This transport is already booked on our schedule, recurring every M/W/F, so you are good to go.
For questions, call your dispatcher at 212-555-5678.

Your original request is as follows; save it for your records.

---------------------------------------

Request ID: 458

Requested by: Jane Smith LVN at 212-555-1234
   On behalf of: Allen Care Nursing Home at 201 Allen Ave
   Requested on: 2017-03-26 22:02:00
   Requested from: 192.168.1.102
   Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/57.0.2987.98 Safari/537.36

Service: BLS wait-and-return

Date of travel: 2017-03-27
   Expected distance: 12.8

Origin: Allen Care Nursing Home at 201 Allen Ave
   Pick up at: 10:00 (precise)

Destination: Davita Dialysis Center at 1920 Fair Oaks Ave
   Drop off by: 10:30

Date of return trip: 2017-03-27
   Pick up at: 15:00 (imprecise)

Repetition instructions: She needs to go every M/W/F starting this Friday

Comments:
---------------------------
Please make sure to bring the patient's blanket and two apple juices.
She will try to take all of her pillows but do not let her bring more than one.

--
Acme EMS Transporatation
Taking care of you just like family.

All such emails are sent by AngelTrack using its regular dispatch email account, which does not accept replies. The customer must call the dispatch office on the telephone if there are any difficulties.


Remember, You Can Change the URL

You can change the URL of the Customer Portal, in order to home it in your company's domain rather than in angeltracksoftware.com.

To learn how, refer to the Customer Portal Guide.



AngelTrack Help Index - AngelTrack Support