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, before rollout 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.
Patients use the kiosks to sign-in on arrival at PMC, with staff on hand to lend assistance. The hospital reports an average of 5,350 appointment check-ins a month or more than 80% of the total number of appointments. Queues at reception have gone.
Before, face-to-face registrations would take between 4 and 6 minutes, whereas self-registration using one of the check-in kiosks takes just 70 seconds on average, which is good news for patients. And great news for staff, giving them more time for direct patient care.
The story was repeated at Etobicoke with 75% of patients* using the self check-in kiosks, with the number set to rise as people become more familiar with the technology.
The system went live at Etobicoke Wellness Centre in November 2018 and then at the Etobicoke patient tower in July 2019.
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.
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.
The investment has also changed patients’ perception, with a survey in early 2019 showing improved satisfaction and confidence. Seventy-five per cent said they were “very confident” that they know what to do to take care of and manage their health.
‘Patients embrace technology as an enabler of exemplary quality of care,’ Moolecherry said. ‘Technology truly enhances responsiveness and provides more time for patient-provider communication and connection.’
As well as having Savience’s Check-in, Clarity and Clarion modules, PMC and Etobicoke now also use its CareExpress Lite at the respective minor injury unit and emergency department. It enables the registration team to call the patients to complete registration and is fully integrated with William Osler’s hospital-wide emergency system and with the Ontario wide triage system, eCTAS.
Also in the pipeline are new modules for virtual consultations and payments at kiosks.
*Figures recorded in the three months May-July 2019 – 44,995 appointments, 33,621 kiosk check-ins
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: