Patient satisfaction scores soared after bedside registration was implemented at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, IL.
“Our scores were below the target prior to this process starting and rose to numbers within the 90th percentile,” reports patient access director Wendy M. Roach, RDMS, CHAM.
The new process is used in day surgery, inpatient surgery, cardiac catheterization, and interventional radiology. “Patients expressed that they were stopping too many times prior to the department when they had already registered,” says Roach. When patients were pre-registered over the phone, they assumed their registration was complete.
Patients love the feeling of a “one-stop process” and going straight to the department with no waiting. “We have thought about extending this to GI lab outpatient procedures, but we are just in the discussion phases,” says Roach. These steps occur:
• Registrars pre-register the patient and print documents for the chart.
This step takes place once patient access receives a scheduling request from the surgeon’s office for the operative procedure. “At this time, pre-registration is completed over the phone. We are looking into an online portal option,” notes Roach.
• The paper chart goes to the nursing team to complete the preoperative history and physical documentation.
“Every patient is given a folder called the ‘hard chart,’” explains Roach. After members of the nursing team complete their clinical notes, the hard charts are transported to the preoperative area the night before the surgery.
• When the patient arrives, the hospital’s patient relations staff members check the patient into the tracking system.
• Clinical staff members take the patients to their preoperative rooms.
• The patient’s nurse completes the surgical consents.
“At the same time, she is completing any documents or consents that are required by patient access,” says Roach.
Some nurses didn’t want to do a task they viewed as a non-clinical function. However, “they now understand the importance and value of this service for the patient,” says Roach.
If there are any unresolved issues regarding payments or reimbursement, clinicians refer the patient to a financial counselor. “A laminated card goes onto the hard chart with the financial counselor’s phone number,” says Roach.
The department has used this process for a year and has had some occasional challenges. Usually, the problem is incomplete documentation, such as missing signatures or copies of insurance cards. “This is generally when we have new preoperative clinical staff members or when any of our paperwork changes,” says Roach.
To address this issue, someone from patient access gathers the paperwork completed by the clinical staff. “At the time of the pickup, our patient access staff will fix any items that they identify as incomplete prior to leaving the unit,” says Roach.
- Wendy M. Roach, RDMS, CHAM, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Barrington, IL. Phone: (847) 842-4186.