Every day, Eastern Health registers thousands of patients for appointments within our facilities. The registration process is the first step to receiving health-care services, and it is vital to ensuring that each patient has a complete and accurate health record.
My name is Maria Rotondi and I work with the Health Information Services and Informatics Department of Eastern Health. My team is responsible for ensuring the accuracy and efficiency of patient admission and registration across our region.
Why is patient registration important? Patient registration goes beyond checking in for your appointment. It is fundamental to the integrity of patient health records and clinical documentation. All patients who present for services require a registration for each encounter or episode of care. Accurate registration ensures that all clinical information related to the encounter is accurately linked to the patient’s health record. The result is better quality of health information and better quality health care, because health providers have the right information at the right time, and can make better informed decisions.
All registrations follow provincial standards and organizational policies and procedures. Registration also supports statistical reporting of outpatient encounters and hospital admissions within the organization each day.
Self-Registration at the Health Sciences Centre
Given the Health Science Centre, the largest provincial hospital, and other city hospitals handle over 250,000 registrations per year, it can be a time-consuming task to register each patient appointment. In an attempt to decrease patient line-ups and accelerate the registration process, Eastern Health, in partnership with the Health Care Foundation, piloted self-registration kiosks at the Health Science Centre.
The first kiosk was introduced at the Health Sciences Centre on May 10, 2016 giving patients the option to self-register through the use of kiosks.
Since then, we have added five more self-registration kiosks. These machines have enhanced the registration process by helping decrease wait times and ensuring that patients get to their appointments on time.
To date, close to 65,000 successful self-registrations have been completed!
This is no small feat. A significant amount of planning, work and dedication made this achievement possible.
The team behind the self-registration kiosks understood that ease of use for patients was critical. As such, the self-registration process was designed to mirror the standard registration steps that most patients are familiar with.
In addition, patients have more control of their own information as they can correctly identify themselves, and verify their personal health information.
Putting patients at the centre
As the demand for the kiosks grew, the team enhanced the self-registration process by adding additional features and a greater set of appointment types. To ensure patients’ needs continued to be met, the team listened to patients, and made changes to the self-registration kiosks based on their feedback.
Today, patients that use self-registration kiosks at the Health Science Centre can:
- Register for multiple appointments at the one time.
- Update some personal information, such as address and next of kin.
- Automatically scan the new bar-coded MCP (Medical Care Plan) cards and expiry dates, eliminating the need for typing this information!
These added features make self-registration kiosks appealing to many people who are registering for outpatient appointments at the Health Sciences Centre.
“I have recently used the patient registration kiosk located at the Health Sciences Centre to register for a scheduled appointment, and I have to say it made for a more efficient visit. I was able to get to my appointment with ample time, no line up and it also provided me with directions as to where I needed to go!” – Patient testimony
Users of the kiosks report marked satisfaction with the ease-of-use, support available from staff and the active engagement they have in their registration encounter.
Registration clerks are always available to provide support for patients who register at the kiosks. The current set up also allows a single registration clerk to help more than one patient at a time, and provides more timely assistance.
“The kiosks have helped clear the congestion of our line-up and have assisted to keep patients on time for their appointments. The great thing about the kiosks is that they can be used by everyone, young and old, without difficulty.” Karen Squires, admitting/registration supervisor.
Naturally, the kiosks have also allowed the Central Registration Department to streamline the registration process, particularly during peak periods. The addition of the kiosks has enabled registration clerks to focus on completing hospital admissions, face-to-face registration for non-routine and more complex health services, and have more capacity to attend to challenging situations and improve overall service.
Kiosk expansion: Going forward
The kiosks have proven to be a valuable and viable extension to the traditional in-person registration process – and beneficial to patients and employees alike.
As a result, Eastern Health is expanding this project and installing more self-registration kiosks at the Health Sciences Centre as well as in other hospitals around the region. Throughout 2018, the self-registration kiosks will be available at the Janeway Children’s Rehabilitation Centre, Carbonear General Hospital and the Burin Peninsula Health Care Centre.
The team will continue to monitor and evaluate the need for self-registration kiosks at other health-care sites, and expand to these areas depending on need and benefits to patients.
Innovative implementation of technology in health care is a way by which we can improve the overall patient experience. Self-registration kiosks provide patients with an alternative form of registration that is secure, convenient and self-directed; all the while supporting organizational efforts to improve sustainability and increase timely access. The possibilities for expansion and benefits are far-reaching across the organization.
As the self-service registration kiosks become part of everyday service delivery and more and more patients opt to use them, there is no doubt about the many benefits in the registration process: reduced wait times, better access, and increased patient autonomy, participation and engagement – leading to greater patient and employee satisfaction.
There are also the benefits of more complete patient information resulting in better quality of information, and enhancement of our patient health records and clinical documentation. Ultimately, all together these benefits contribute to a better health-care system! ■
This story was written by Maria Rotondi, manager, admitting/registration and data quality with Eastern Health.