Boost efficiency by integrating systems used by access — Minutes shaved off registration
Whenever patient access employees at Bon Secours Richmond (VA) Health System registered a patient, multiple systems were involved. Registrars switched from scheduling software to the hospital’s registration system, with yet another system used to scan documents.
"Staff searched for appointment information and orders in different systems," says Erin D. Baggett, director of patient access at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital and St. Frances Medical Center in Richmond, VA. Registrars had to create and remember multiple passwords for different systems. "The amount of time staff spent looking for information and having to toggle back and forth between multiple systems was time-consuming, and, honestly, difficult," says Baggett.
At times, systems did not work well with one another. Information sometimes wouldn’t flow from one system to another. Joe McDearmon, director of patient access at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center in Mechanicsville, VA, says, "Certain systems had to be opened in sequential order to properly sync. If this was not done, documents could potentially scan in the wrong record."
Platform: One stop shop
Leaders at Bon Secours have strived to consolidate systems in recent years, with the goal of "one patient, one record," says McDearmon. "This decision was driven by healthcare reform and a need to more efficiently serve our patients," he says.
Now patient records can go from the doctor’s office and hospital seamlessly. "Moving to a single electronic medical record has allowed for a streamlined approach to patient care," says McDearmon.
Patient access can now schedule, pre-register, complete registration, scan documents, and verify insurance coverage in a single system. "This definitely has shaved minutes off of registration," says McDearmon. "The integration has definitely made us more efficient." Average registration times were cut in half from 10 minutes to five. "When patient access systems are integrated, it creates a much smoother process for frontline staff," says Baggett.
When each facility went live with the integrated system, trainers were on hand to provide "elbow-to-elbow" support.
"This was crucial," says McDearmon. "Training was a much larger endeavor then what was initially estimated."
Registrars and patient access staff can now find information in a "one-stop-shop" platform. "This is more efficient," says Baggett. "It also increases their level of confidence when performing their job or the task at hand."
Registration kiosks in outpatient areas, the urgent care center, and the emergency department also are integrated.
"The software uses a blended approach of options for patient to be able to identify themselves," says Baggett. Kiosks in outpatient diagnostic departments at Bon Secours Memorial Regional allow patients to complete registration and collect copays.
"This allows our staff to no longer be tied to a desk,’" says McDearmon. "They are greeting patients and processing their needs as soon as they enter our facilities."
Erin D. Baggett, Director, Patient Access, Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital & St. Frances Medical Center, Richmond, VA. Phone: (804) 287-7082. Email: Erin_Baggett@bshsi.org.
Joe L. McDearmon, Director, Patient Access, Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center/Richmond Community Hospital, Mechanicsville, VA. Phone: (804) 764-6152. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.