Amtelco Simplifies Software Installation & Maintenance for Remote Operators

1Call Web Agent v5.5 solution rated Avaya Compliant

1Call

1Call, a division of Amtelco and a leader in developing software solutions and applications designed for the healthcare communications and call center marketplace, announced its 1Call Web Agent v5.5 solution is compliant with key Avaya OneCloud™ solutions, helping customers easily connect remote operators and minimize maintenance.

1Call Web Agent is a web browser-based telephone agent interface that offers simplified installation and maintenance, especially helpful for remote operators.

1Call Web Agent is compatible with most modern web browsers and enables agents to process multi-channel calls via desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The application is now compliance-tested by Avaya for compatibility with Avaya Aura® Session Manager 8.1 and Avaya Aura Communication Manager 8.1 via SIP Trunk.

“1Call Web Agent provides intelligent attendant console services, integrated call and screen recording, personnel directories populated from an organization’s HR data sources, patient directories populated from Health Level 7 (HL7), admit discharge transfer (ADT) updates, operator scripting, on-call scheduling, and advanced automated messaging and dispatching with our MergeComm integration engine,” said Tom Curtin, CEO of Amtelco and 1Call.

“Technology partners like Amtelco are helping Avaya customers increase their efficiency, productivity, and strengthen their competitiveness,” said Karen Hardy, Global Vice president, Product Management, Avaya. Amtelco is a Technology Partner in the Avaya DevConnect program, part of the Avaya Experience Builders™ network.

This unique global collaborative is exceptionally positioned to deliver the next-gen customer and employee experiences businesses need through the Avaya OneCloud AI-Powered Experience platform. Partners in the DevConnect program develop, market, and sell innovative third-party products that interoperate with Avaya technology and extend the value of a company’s investment in its network.

As a Technology Partner, Amtelco can submit products to Avaya for compliance testing, where a team of DevConnect engineers develops a comprehensive test plan for each application to verify its Avaya compatibility.

This enables customers to confidently add best-in-class capabilities to their network without having to replace their existing infrastructure, helping speed deployment of new applications and reduce both network complexity and implementation costs.

1Call, a division of Amtelco

Amtelco’s 1Call Division is the leader in developing software solutions designed for the specific needs of the healthcare call center marketplace. 1Call features a complete line of modular solutions designed to streamline enterprise-wide communications, save an organization’s limited resources, and promote efficiency, helping bring wellness to their members and their bottom line.

Checklist to Ensure Patient Care Quality in Nurse Telehealth Triage

TriageLogic

By Ravi K. Raheja, MD

How do you ensure patient care quality when it comes to nurse telehealth triage? Whether you use an outsourced nurse triage service or want to license software and use your own team, follow this checklist when addressing every patient caller.

Not only do these important items minimize liability with remote care, but they also ensure a high quality of care for patients and a decrease in overall healthcare costs. We’ve seen firsthand how successful these items have been in our own nurse triage call center, which is why we want to share them with you to improve your own patient health outcomes.

Develop Detailed Nurse Triage Training

To be effective at telehealth triage, nurses must remain focused on each patient’s needs, obtain the appropriate information about their symptoms, know how to handle difficult calls, and document all information thoroughly. At TriageLogic, we use a 10-step approach to training nurses, which can be found in our learning center course: “Critical Steps to a Triage Call.” You can also read a related article on training triage nurses.

Broadly speaking, when it comes to triaging patients over the phone, nurses must remember to smile, show empathy, and remain calm and confident while they are addressing patient questions and concerns. They must also use three types of listening—active, reflective, and empathetic—to fully understand each patient’s symptoms and guide them to the appropriate care.

Along with the potential for angry or distressed callers, triage nurses must also know how to handle patients whose symptoms call for emergency services.

Use National, Standardized Protocols

Nurse triage protocols developed by Drs. Schmitt and Thompson are the gold standard for patient care quality. When integrated with nurse triage software, they provide the most intuitive means of establishing caller dispositions by using yes/no questions to determine symptom severity.

A group of independent medical professions review these protocols annually and update them during important health-related events (like the COVID pandemic).

Give Answering Service Operators Their Own Protocols

Answering service operators (ASOs) are the first people to interact with callers on a nurse triage line. Their purpose is to greet patients and ask them about why they’re calling. This helps identify urgent versus non-urgent issues and passes each caller’s request along to the right triage nurse. However, it’s become clear that ASOs also need their own protocols to avoid delays in patient care.

Why?

ASOs don’t always ask detailed questions. For example, if a patient calls for a medication refill, the ASO should verify if the patient has also started to experience any withdrawal symptoms, rather than simply assume the request is non-urgent.

Establish Average Patient Callback Times

When a call comes into an ASO, they will pass those caller requests along as emergent, urgent, or non-urgent. Each of these groups come with different requirements on how soon triage nurses should call them back. A quality nurse triage program should have established time limits. Sticking to these time limits is vital to patient care quality.

For emergent, that’s five minutes or less. Urgent requires fifteen minutes or under. And non-urgent should be within thirty to sixty minutes.

Staggering calls in this manner not only prioritizes patients based on severity, but it also avoids overwhelming your triage line depending on how many nurses you have scheduled.

Record Calls for Quality Assurance

Recording your nurse triage calls is an important part of any quality assurance program. Doing so keeps your nurses accountable and less likely to deviate from using the Schmitt-Thompson protocols.

It also mitigates liability against your nurses. In case of a poor health outcome, these records corroborate the actions a nurse took, the reasons why, and whether those were correct.

Finally, recorded calls provide oversight and identify potential training needs. Evaluating them will indicate whether a nurse is struggling in a particular part of the triage process and allow managers to create opportunities for improvement.

Implement Secure Texting

Secure texting is an HIPAA-compliant option that allows nurses to chat with doctors without having to download an app or additional software. Nurses send messages to doctors’ phones over browser encryption, and doctors are required to click a link to acknowledge each message before accessing patient data.

This ensures patient confidentiality and speeds up responses from doctors depending on the severity of each patient’s symptoms—all of which leads to greater patient care quality. All messages are then documented in the patient’s file for reference.

TriageLogic

Ravi K. Raheja, MD is the CTO and medical director of the TriageLogic Group. Founded in 2007, TriageLogic is a URAC accredited, physician-led provider of high-quality telehealth services, remote patient monitoring, nurse triage, triage education, and software for telephone medicine. Their comprehensive solutions include integrated mobile access and two-way video capability. Contact them if you have questions regarding any of the items from the above checklist or you’d like to discuss how to implement them within your own nurse triage.

June 2022 Issue of AnswerStat

Read the June issue of AnswerStat, the information hub for healthcare contact centers.



Feature Content:

Vendor Spotlight on 1Call: Improving Response to Critical Laboratory Results with Secure Messaging
Notification of critical laboratory results is crucial. Tap secure messaging technology to send key information to the right person quickly and accurately. << read more >>

Vital Signs: Channel Specialization Versus Multichannel Proficiency, by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Channel specialization is good for some agents and multichannel proficiency is ideal for others. This mix of channel focus is essential for your contact center. << read more >>

Decrease Patient Liability Using Nurse Triage Software, by Ravi K. Raheja, MD
Effective triage software is an easy-to-use solution for nurses that includes standardized protocols to address any patient symptom. << read more >>

Ten Years Ago: Improving Communications Between Contact Centers and IT, by Donna Fluss
Contact center managers now have an advantage when it comes to managing technology. If your internal IT group falls short, cloud-based contact center vendors can be the solution. << read more >>

Industry News

Send us your healthcare call center news for consideration in the next issue of AnswerStat.

Marketplace Directory: AnswerStat Directory of leading Healthcare Contact Center vendors:

Call 4 Health
Startel first impressions are everything
Pulsar360
Keona Health


About AnswerStat
AnswerStat is the information hub for healthcare contact center news and resources, published specifically for hospital and medical contact centers and distributed free to qualified readers, decision -makers, and influencers at hospitals and healthcare contact centers worldwide.

Contact us for more information.

Peter DeHaan Releases Healthcare Call Center Book

Peter Lyle DeHaan, founder and publisher of AnswerStat, announced the publication of his latest book, Healthcare Call Center Essentials. It’s scheduled for release on June 6, 2022.

“In a very real sense, this book has been two decades in the making,” said DeHaan, “It started when I launched AnswerStat magazine in 2003. I’ve taken what I’ve learned about medical contact centers since then and combined it with a lifetime of call center experience to produce this book.”

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

In addition to writing and publishing magazines and books about the call center industry, DeHaan’s lifetime of experience includes managing a multi-location call center, employment with a call center vendor, and consultant for healthcare call centers, medical answering services, and telephone answering providers.

The result is the book Healthcare Call Center Essentials.

Healthcare Call Center Essentials is designed for those who want to manage a more effective medical contact center. From daily operations to long-term success, this essential guide will help readers create a thriving contact center that meets the urgent needs of both patients and the medical community.

In it, you can discover how to better manage your team and support achievable strategies to meet goals and support patients and healthcare centers. By implementing the strategies and tips in Healthcare Call Center Essentials, you can improve your daily systems and perfect your contact center operation.

Healthcare Call Center Essentials is available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.   Read more of his articles at PeterDeHaanPublishing.com.

Decrease Patient Liability Using Nurse Triage Software

TriageLogic

By Ravi K. Raheja, MD

Patient phone calls, and questions about whether symptoms require an office or emergency visit, are part of every busy medical practice. However, how do you train nurses to ensure that they give the appropriate care advice every time, while documenting caller information, symptoms, and dispositions?

If your team wants to decrease liability on these calls, implement software with medical protocols that document all this information. Choose a solution that employs time-tested protocols. This helps ensure each patient caller is directed to the appropriate level of care in an appropriate window of time, regardless of when they call.

Effective triage software is an easy-to-use solution for nurses that includes standardized protocols to address any patient symptom. It also includes thorough documentation with timestamps and the ability to customize triage and care instructions based on the needs of the practice. The information should be integrated with your EMR or able to be simply copied to an EMR file, ensuring continuity of care.

Documentation

When it comes to avoiding liability as a triage nurse or healthcare provider, documentation is everything. Consider the following example of a doctor who took a patient’s call while out of the office. He couldn’t notate his care advice to the patient in their chart. In fact, the only option available to him was to scribble his notes on a napkin.

That patient went on to experience a medical complication, then subsequently sued the doctor by disputing what the actual care instructions were during their call. Thanks to that napkin though, the doctor had proof of what he’d said. Thankfully, nurse triage software is far more thorough.

Standardized Care

Seek a solution with protocols that are easy to follow, are updated regularly as new healthcare issues develop, and can be customized with instructions specifically for your practice.

In turn, this ensures that nurses are prompted with the best questions to ask patients based on the severity of their symptoms and allow those nurses to document their thought processes as they triage each call. With this, all their interactions are recorded and easily accessible for reference.

The results? Nurses can shift their attention to their patients, and patients receive the correct outcomes, no matter which nurses they speak with. Another advantage is that all incoming calls receive the same quality of care or advice regardless of which nurses answer them.

Patient History

Along with symptom severity, effective triage software allows nurses to record relevant patient history so that their dispositions for care are based on all their potential health factors. Nurses must be mindful of addressing callers objectively, avoiding stereotypes, and using their listening skills to evaluate symptoms in their entirety.

Timestamps

Triage software should include timestamps for pivotal moments recorded on nurse calls. These include when calls are received, when they’re returned, and when they’re completed.

Consider that the biggest threat to nurse triage is delayed patient care. As such, it’s critical that your nurses correctly address patients’ symptoms in a timely manner, advise them to seek care from the appropriate medical professionals, and have the documentation to back up their work.

Clear Dispositions

Part of the nurse triage process is providing clear dispositions and follow-up instructions. If a patient’s condition suddenly changes, a nurse’s notes should reflect this change, as well as the triage advice they offered.

When patients are referred to providers, this documentation should also be easy to share with them. If it is, those providers can address those patients immediately and maintain a continuity of care, especially when their patients’ needs are urgent.

If a patient’s health begins to deteriorate, triage software should have instructions for the responding nurse to know how to expedite assistance from a referred provider. This should include a secure texting and chat option that lets nurses contact physicians, update them on the conditions of their patients, and close the loop on care.

Conclusion

Triage software can help ensure patients are directed to the appropriate level of care in an appropriate window of time. This decreases provider liability and improves patient care.

Ravi K. Raheja, MD is the CTO and medical director of the TriageLogic Group. Founded in 2007, TriageLogic is a URAC accredited, physician-lead provider of high-quality telehealth services, remote patient monitoring, nurse triage, triage education, and software for telephone medicine. The TriageLogic group serves over 9,000 physicians and covers over 25 million lives nationwide.

Contact them to schedule a demo and see how TriageLogic’s MyTriageChecklist solution can benefit your patient callers and their dispositions.

Channel Specialization versus Multichannel Proficiency

Effectively Handle Communication Channels in a Medical Contact Center

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.

In the last issue of AnswerStat we looked at the need for multichannel integration in your healthcare contact center to better serve patients and produce superior outcomes. We considered this from a systems standpoint. Now let’s look at multichannel from an agent and operational perspective, specifically channel specialization versus multichannel proficiency.

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

Ideally you want every agent trained and fully proficient to handle communication on any channel option that comes in, be it voice, text, email, video, social media, and so forth. Some agents relish being proficient on all channels, while others prefer to specialize. A contact center needs both types of agents.

Channel Specialization

An agent that specializes in one channel, for instance telephone calls, will develop a higher level of effectiveness by focusing on that one channel. Through repetition they’ll gain an enhanced level of skill through their specialization.

This will enable them to move from one call to another with greater speed and increased efficacy. In short, they’ll get more done faster.

But they must also be cross trained on other channels. There are two reasons for this.

One is in the event of a telephone call that needs to switch channels, such as to move to video or email to better facilitate effective communication. In this instance you don’t want an agent with a telephone channel specialization handing the call off to a video or email specialist. Instead, you want the original agent to move with the patient or caller to the new channel.

The second reason you want agents cross trained is so they can switch to a different channel if there’s a need to do so. This could occur with an increased amount of traffic in a channel different from the one they specialize in. Without this cross training, you could end up with specialists in one channel sitting idle while specialists in another channel struggle to keep up.

Though you have agents that specialize in one channel and mostly work in that area, they must be ready and willing to jump to another channel when the situation requires it.

Multichannel Proficiency

Other agents would find channel specialization to be quite boring. They relish being proficient on many channels, even on every channel your healthcare contact center handles. They enjoy the variety that comes from interacting with patients on various channels.

These multi-channel agents can handle patient contacts on any channel as needed, whenever needed. This allows them to switch between real-time communication (telephone and video calls) depending on the traffic demands at any moment. Yet at the same time they are equally proficient at processing non-real-time communication (email, text, and social media) as required.

This means they can effectively work in the channel where they’re most needed.

Specialists and Generalists

While channel specialization is good for some agents and multichannel proficiency is ideal for others, this mix of channel focus is also essential for your contact center. Just like with healthcare, a contact center needs both specialists and generalists.

The specialists can concentrate on one channel, reaching a level of effectiveness that a generalist could never achieve. Yet a generalist is effective at quickly and easily migrating from one channel to another.

Though every agent in your contact center should be cross trained to handle any channel, determine which area is the best for each agent, channel specialization or multichannel proficiency. You need both.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.   Read more of his articles at PeterDeHaanPublishing.com.

Quality Contact Solutions named Top 10 Healthcare BPO for 2022

Quality Contact Solutions (QCS) shared that they have been recognized among the Top 10 Healthcare BPO Companies 2022 by Healthcare Business Review.

“We are excited to share that Quality Contact Solutions has been named a Top 10 Healthcare BPO for 2022 by Healthcare Business Review, a trusted source by healthcare leaders for information on managing healthcare business and operations,” said Julie Kramme, vice president of sales for QCS.

“With lower costs and increased efficiencies, business process outsourcing (BPO) is the perfect solution for healthcare organizations,” added Kramme. The QCS team can support the various needs of their clients in the nuanced healthcare industry.

Quality Contact Solutions is an industry leader in call center and telemarketing services solutions, including B2B and B2C programs. QCS offers many telemarketing services, including outsourced sales, upselling, cross-selling, surveys, lead generation, sales lead qualification, appointment setting, inside sales, and inbound customer service. 

Vendor Spotlight: Improving Response to Critical Laboratory Results with Secure Messaging

By Nicole Limpert

1Call

George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” This is especially true in the healthcare sector. Unfortunately, ineffective diagnostic communication can have dire consequences for patients. It is estimated that there are 40,000–80,000 deaths in the United States each year due to diagnostic error. Poor communication of laboratory test results is a contributing factor in these errors.

Critical laboratory results, also known as panic results or values, are defined as test results that exceed established high or low limits. Abnormal results are different from critical values. “Abnormal” and “critical” are not used interchangeably.

Critical results are considered life threatening and require corrective action to be taken promptly. After the critical laboratory results has been verified and entered into the lab’s computer system, notifications are sent to the patient’s physician and/or physician’s representative, the ordering entity, and any other clinical personnel responsible for the patient’s care.

Critical Results Reporting Standards

According to the “National Patient Safety Goals” set by The Joint Commission, timely reporting of critical results need to be made to the responsible licensed caregiver(s) within an established time frame so that the patient can be promptly treated.

They outline three elements of performance to achieve this goal:

  1. Collaborate with organization leaders to develop written procedures for managing the critical results of tests and diagnostic procedures that address the following:
  • The definition of critical results of tests and diagnostic procedures.
  • By whom and to whom critical results of tests and diagnostic procedures are reported.
  • The acceptable length of time between the availability and reporting of critical results of tests and diagnostic procedures.

2. Implement the procedures for managing the critical results of tests and diagnostic procedures.

3. Evaluate the timeliness of reporting the critical results of tests and diagnostic procedures.

Critical Lab Communication

When a critical lab value is verified, often a phone call is made to report the result and it is documented in the laboratory information system. To comply with patient safety goals, the person taking the call must read back the patient’s name, the hospital number, and all laboratory results. Read back is required to ensure accurate transmission of information.

Historically, verbal communication has been considered the preferred procedure for notifying critical values. However, the need to communicate lab diagnostics quickly and accurately is paramount for lowering the risk of a patient experiencing an adverse medical event.

An article in the National Library of Medicine titled “Critical Laboratory Values Communication: Summary Recommendations from Available Guidelines” finds that “The results of surveys conducted in the UK, Italy, US, China, and Croatia have notably emphasized that there is poor consensus regarding many aspects of critical values management. This is a concerning issue, for not less than three good reasons.

“First, the lack or delayed communication of critical values has been clearly recognized as a source of significant harm to the patients, since these test results may lead to treatment modification in as many as 98 percent of patients admitted to surgical wards and up to 91 percent of those admitted to medical departments.

“Then, critical values communication is an integral part of many accreditation procedures for medical laboratories, including the universally agreed International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

“Finally, timely notification of critical values has been endorsed as one of the leading quality indicators of the post-analytical phase [of laboratory medicine] by the Working Group ‘Laboratory Errors and Patient Safety’ (WG-LEPS) of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC).”

Information technology tools are becoming an essential component of medical lab communication because they provide:

  • Fast and accurate communications
  • Automated systems
  • Reporting
  • Simplified communications
  • HIPAA compliance to protect patient health information

The Traditional Process of Reporting Critical Values

The College of American Pathologists (CAP) offers a laboratory accreditation program. To attain accreditation through the CAP, they require that at least 90 percent of critical values be reported within 30 minutes after obtaining a verified result. A similar requirement is in place through The Joint Commission.

Sometimes it is difficult for organizations to attain or retain accreditation because the traditional process to verify and document notifications (read back) can be time consuming. Typically, institutions will designate categories of personnel who are authorized to receive critical values, usually physicians and nurses.

If the critical laboratory results are communicated to a suitable medical staff member, the name of that person, time of contact, and documentation of read back is recorded. If the result is provided to non-medical personnel, that person is required to notify the correct physician, record the notification, and read back in the patient’s medical record.

If the non-medical personnel are unsuccessful in contacting an appropriate person for transmission, the next step is often to page the provider. Significant delays can result if there are issues with contacting the provider or using precious time to find out who is on-call.

The Benefits of Using a Secure Messaging App

Secure messaging apps can outperform traditional phone calls by improving timeliness when reporting critical laboratory results. When healthcare organizations change their process of reporting critical values by telephone to using a secure messaging app instead, they can meet or exceed the standards put forth by accrediting agencies, experience increased efficiency by immediately getting the results to the right person, see a reduction in the time it takes to report results, and have a reliable record of the communication because messages are automatically time-stamped when sent, received, and read. Built-in reporting features provide accurate information about the communication process.

A secure mobile messaging app also provides:

  • End-to-end message encryption to protect electronic patient health information and ensure all communications are secure and protected
  • Freedom from outdated pagers. Devices can be consolidated through secure messaging apps so that all correspondence can be done from a smartphone, tablet, laptop, smartwatch, or desktop computer
  • Ease of use
  • Customization
  • The ability to send massive amounts of data quickly and accurately while keeping users connected through WiFi and cellular networks
  • Voice-to-text modes so users can speak a message into their device, and it automatically converts into text
  • Persistent alert settings ensure important messages won’t be missed
  • A message log to keep track of messaging histories
  • Interoperability by having the ability to seamlessly integrate with on-call scheduling
  • Safety features such as bio-metric access and remote disabling if a device is lost or stolen

Notification of critical laboratory results is a crucial function of the clinical laboratory. Using technology such as secure messaging, ensures information is received by the correct personnel, quickly and accurately, to help improve patient care.

1Call, a division of Amtelco

Nicole Limpert is the marketing content writer for 1Call. The 1Call Division of Amtelco is a leader in developing software solutions and applications designed for the specific needs of the healthcare call center marketplace. 1Call features a complete line of modular solutions specifically designed to streamline enterprise-wide communications, save an organization’s limited resources, and make them tremendously efficient, helping them bring wellness to their members and their bottom line.

The May 2022 Issue of Medical Call Center News



Read the May 2022 issue of Medical Call Center News.

Medical Call Center News is an e-newsletter published by Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc, in conjunction with AnswerStat magazine.

Please tell your coworkers about Medical Call Center News.

Thank you!

[Medical Call Center News is published by Peter DeHaan Publishing IncPeter Lyle DeHaan, editor.]

April 2022 Issue of AnswerStat

Read the April issue of AnswerStat, the information hub for healthcare contact centers.



Feature Content:

AS TOC April 2022

How Effective Communication Helps Organizations Achieve the Quintuple Aim, by Nicole Limpert
Correcting inefficient communication can help an organization towards their triple, quadruple, or even quintuple aim. << read more >>

Vital Signs: Multi-Channel Integration, by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Pursue multi-channel integration at your healthcare call center to better serve patients and produce superior outcomes. << read more >>

Guest Column: Tools to Improve Call Center Efficiency, by Mark Dwyer
Time is money, and saving time saves money. The best way to accomplish this is by using your call center solution as effectively as possible. << read more >>

How Telehealth Triage Nurses Can Address Mental Health Calls During Winter, by Ravi K. Raheja, MD
While professional healthcare providers are necessary when it comes to severe mental illness, telehealth triage nurses still can offer simple solutions to patients with milder symptoms << read more >>

Self-Care Tips for Physicians, Telehealth Triage Nurses, and Office Managers, by Ravi K. Raheja, MD
Top recommendations for healthcare staff on how they can manage the physical and mental stresses they experience on any given day. << read more >>

Ten Years Ago: Home-Based Agent Success, by Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.
There are many benefits from allowing agents to work from home, but if it’s pursued without the proper preparation, the advantages won’t happen. << read more >>

Industry News

Send us your healthcare call center news for consideration in the next issue of AnswerStat.

Marketplace Directory: AnswerStat Directory of leading Healthcare Contact Center vendors:

Call 4 Health
Startel first impressions are everything
Pulsar360
Keona Health


About AnswerStat
AnswerStat is the information hub for healthcare contact center news and resources, published specifically for hospital and medical contact centers and distributed free to qualified readers, decision -makers, and influencers at hospitals and healthcare contact centers worldwide.

Contact us for more information.

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