A major hospital group in Canada has seen a sharp fall in missed appointments after installing a patient registration, booking and check-in solution from Savience. Serving 1.3m residents in southern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area, William Osler Health System has also cut queues in outpatient receptions, leaving staff with more time for people who genuinely need help and for other jobs.
At the outset, a key objective for William Osler was to provide patients with a seamless interaction between their home and hospital care. A better pre-appointment experience for patients was paramount, with improved communications, appointment reminders, and ability to confirm or cancel appointments online. Additionally patients can change demographic details online, send a request to reschedule appointments and complete appointment registration questions, saving time at reception.
The Savience solution was first installed at Peel Memorial Centre (PMC), an ambulatory care clinic at Brampton, Ontario and then at the 260-bed Etobicoke General Hospital at Etobicoke, in Toronto’s northwest.
A year into the project and William Osler had achieved its initial goals. Queues and registration line-ups have gone. Patients now go directly to the particular clinic or waiting areas where large screen displays call them to the registration desk.
All patients use the kiosks to sign-in on arrival, with staff on hand to give assistance.
Before, face-to-face registrations would take between 4 and 5 minutes, whereas self-registration using one of the check-in kiosks takes just 70 seconds on average, which is good news for patients and staff.
Cutting ‘no show rates’ was another priority as this is a major cost for any hospital. The issue is particularly acute in Canada due to the geography, distances patients need to travel, and potentially severe weather.
Sending appointment reminders has had a dramatic impact on ‘no shows’.
At PMC, reminders are sent for all outpatient clinics, which averages 150 reminders a day in line with patient preferences. Two-thirds of patients receive voice reminders, 29% text and 4% emails.
On the flip side, reducing no shows has led to a comparative increase in traffic at registration. But with the technology bearing the brunt of the extra workload, staff numbers have not increased.
In the first full 12 months to May 2018, William Osler reported that 64,700 check-ins were completed via the kiosks. This figure is nearly 82% of the total suggesting that people are comfortable with touch screen technology and will readily adopt new practices.
With appointment tracking boards in each clinic, staff have an instant ‘at-a-glance’ view of appointments with details such as time, location, exam, doctor and so on. The real time view shows whether the patient has checked in, giving staff visibility of workflows to better plan and prepare.
James Moolecherry, CTO at William Osler, says Savience’s solution has pushed the care process beyond the traditional hospital walls. ‘Appointments start at home.
‘Staff and patients have welcomed the transformation,’ he said. ‘Clinical and administrative staff have embraced the system and see real value in terms of time- savings and improved patient experience.
‘The Clarity application does exactly that; it gives staff a clear picture of their workload to track patients and plan their clinical workflow. Most check their patient load via the dashboard at the start of the day and then constantly refer to this to monitor patient arrivals and plan for any changes.
‘This improved visibility of patients and workload allows clinical staff to properly prepare the paperwork and charts so there’s no waiting once the patient arrives at the clinic. Again, this leads to a more efficient service, seamless workflows and improved customer satisfaction,’ Moolecherry added.
William Osler Health System
One of Canada’s largest hospital networks, William Osler Health System serves the city of Brampton, Ontario and the western Toronto district of Etobicoke, amounting to 1.3m people. The network consists of two major hospitals and an ambulatory care centre, specifically:
Savience technology at William Osler Health System
Savience is known largely for its patient check-in kiosks, but its technology goes far beyond that. At William Osler, this includes queuing displays and wayfinding screens, plus text, voice and email appointment reminders. There is also an online portal for patients to update demographic details and preferences or make, change and cancel appointments.
Another plus is the Savience solution is linked to the group’s Meditech hospital information system to update all registration information automatically, ensuring patient records are current and accurate.
The Savience applications employed include: