Self check-in, centralized welcome desks prove beneficial to both staff and patientsFeb. 2, 2024, 9:26 AM
Vanderbilt Health adult ambulatory (outpatient) clinics began providing self check-in for appointments in late summer 2023, and the process has proven beneficial to both patients and staff. The addition of this service at pediatric ambulatory clinics is planned for later this year.
Patients can skip the line and check in for appointments at ambulatory clinics using the My Health at Vanderbilt secure patient portal app on their phone or tablet. Patients can also quickly complete check-in at ambulatory clinics using a tablet provided at a centralized welcome desk at the entrances to clinical spaces. Patients can choose to complete a traditional in-person check-in at a welcome desk with a Vanderbilt Health patient services specialist.
“We are right on schedule as we continue to now expand self check-in at Vanderbilt Health pediatric ambulatory clinics,” Chetan Aher, MD, associate chief medical officer, Adult Ambulatory Clinics. “Any change of this significance brings an expected adjustment period, and we continue to work through potential barriers to patient adoption.
“We’ve seen in our adult clinics that our patients are appreciative of this option, it has streamlined workflows and has allowed patient services specialists to support other important clinic processes that allow these spaces to function even more efficiently. We are excited about the possibilities as we continue to move forward and applaud groups like Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute (VHVI), which have integrated these capabilities into their workflows.”
Ninety-one percent of Vanderbilt Health adult ambulatory clinics have added self check-in. Some areas, such as Behavioral Health clinics and Metro Nashville Public Schools clinics, might not be eligible for self check-in due to their technical and operational processes. Any new clinic that is eligible will have self check-in available.
“I appreciate all the work by our clinic and Health IT staff to implement this new technology,” said Wendy Monaci, MBA, Executive Vice President of Adult Ambulatory Operations. “A complicated implementation has resulted in a simplified process for our patients.”
At VHVI in Medical Center East, a patient service specialist works at a welcome desk which has tablets ready for patients to grab to check-in if they haven’t already completed the process on their personal device or phone.
With the addition of self check-in, front desk staff are shifting their focus to other important components of clinic operations, such as supporting clinical staff and patients alike by scheduling diagnostics, uploading outside imaging for providers and transcribing referrals for multiple specialties.
From July when the program was launched at VHVI until mid-December, 6,800 self check-ins were completed successfully through use of tablet, personal phone or My Health at Vanderbilt, said Robert Hartman, MBA, VHVI administrative manager.
The use of self check-in at VHVI in Medical Center East reached 67.4% of appointments in December 2023, and Hartman expects that to increase as patients become familiar with the process.
“People have really just gotten on board with it, and it is creating a better patient flow through the clinic,” Hartman said. “Also, self check-in is driving more people to use My Health at Vanderbilt, which is an important goal for the enterprise.
“I’m a huge fan of using technology to create better workflows, and this is a perfect solution to what’s going on in health care as a whole. We need efficiency gains that allow us to give patients the care they deserve.”
— by Jill Clendening