Vanderbilt Health expands self check-in, centralized welcome desks at adult ambulatory clinicsAug. 22, 2023, 1:10 PM
by Jill Clendening
Adult patients with appointments at Vanderbilt Health System ambulatory or outpatient clinics will soon be able to save time and skip the line by completing a self check-in.
Beginning Aug. 30, patients can check in for appointments at adult ambulatory clinics at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks (OHO) using the My Health at Vanderbilt secure patient portal app on their phone or tablet.
Patients can also quickly complete their check-in for any OHO adult clinic using a tablet provided at a centralized welcome desk at the entrances to the clinical spaces. Patients can also choose to complete a traditional in-person check-in at a welcome desk with a Vanderbilt Health patient services specialist.
Self check-in and centralized welcome desks are also now available at the Vanderbilt Health medical office buildings in Clarksville, Pleasant View and Hendersonville. Self check-in will launch at The Vanderbilt Clinic on Sept. 20 and on Oct. 4 at adult ambulatory clinics at Medical Center East (MCE). A centralized welcome desk will not be added at MCE.
Other adult ambulatory clinics will add self check-in throughout 2023, and psychiatric ambulatory clinics and pediatric ambulatory clinics will be adding self check-in and centralized welcome desks in 2024.
The self-check-in process allows patients to maintain more distance from others, which is especially important if they are feeling sick. It also better ensures other patients or visitors won’t overhear personal information.
“We are continually working to provide the best experience for our patients, and adding self check-in and centralized welcome desks are among our top priorities this year,” said Wendy Monaci, MBA, Executive Vice President for Adult Ambulatory Operations. “We anticipate that 60% or more of our patients will soon be using the self check-in process, and we expect to see that number climb as everyone becomes more familiar with this.
“We want our patients to have a consistent experience throughout Vanderbilt Health, and this is one important way to ensure that happens. Our goal is to have self check-in available at all adult ambulatory clinics in the Vanderbilt Health System by Thanksgiving.”
By using the My Health at Vanderbilt app on a phone or tablet, patients complete a few pre-visit questions, then click a button that states, “I’m here.” If patients have already completed the pre-visit questions in advance of their appointment, they can use the My Health at Vanderbilt app to click the button to let clinic staff know they’ve arrived.
“We can get a dinner reservation, take a work meeting and even buy a car on our phones,” said Chetan Aher, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Adult Ambulatory Clinics. “Our patients expect they can transact all types of business on their phones, so why not check in for a doctor’s appointment with our app? Recent developments in the electronic medical record, paired with our patients’ strong use of My Health at Vanderbilt, made this a natural next step.”
Self check-in was first implemented with great success at Vanderbilt Health Walk-in Clinics this spring, and it quickly reduced lines at front desks and allowed patients to have increased privacy. In July, self check-in was piloted at the Vanderbilt Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks and at the Medical Center East Cardiology clinics.
“The pilots highlighted what we already suspected,” Aher said. “First, patients were both eager to use the new system and satisfied with the results. They took to it easily. Second, we saw how integrated our workflows are. A change at the front desk has up- and downstream effects on our clinics, and each of these changes needs to be addressed.”
While the patient in front of a staff member will always be a top priority, by engaging patients to complete their check-in electronically, clinic staff can focus on other tasks, such as scheduling visits and answering messages.
“No one wants to wait in line,” Aher said. “During the busiest times of the day, no matter how hard our teams work, we do see bottlenecks at our front desks. By expanding our check-in options and making the process available virtually, patients can save time and skip the line.”
The Virtual Front Desk project is a result of an extensive collaboration between Ambulatory Operations, HealthIT and VUMC IT.