Versus in the News

Eliminate the Wait: Self-Rooming at Aurora Children’s Health

group-practice-journal-eliminate-the-waiting-roomThe March 2017 cover story in Group Practice Journal is authored by Versus clients Cheryl Becker, RIHA, CPHQ and Donald Beno, MD, of Aurora Children’s Health.

Dr. Beno and Becker write about eliminating the waiting room with a self-rooming process made possible through Versus Advantages™ Clinic and real-time locating system (RTLS) technology.

Excerpts appear below. Members of the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) or subscribers to Group Practice Journal can read the full article in the March 2017 issue.

Becker also presented at the 2016 MGMA Conference, where she was honored with the prestigious Harwick Innovation Award. Download her MGMA session slides here »

“At Aurora Children’s Health + UW Health in Green Bay, Wisconsin, we realized that to truly have a positive impact on the patient experience, we had to find ways to reduce or eliminate the wait. We acknowledged that no matter how much we improved other aspects of care, wait times had the potential to sour overall patient satisfaction. When we started designing a new facility, eliminating the waiting room through self-rooming bubbled to the top of our wish list. Before jumping in, we realized that we needed an indepth understanding of patient flow and staff workflow so we could identify exactly how to make improvements—and how we would operate without the traditional waiting  room. To gain insight, we put together a team consisting  of physicians, nurses, office management, and operations improvement personnel to examine our current practices from scheduling through discharge …

“After settling on the on-stage/off-stage design, we next considered how to efficiently move patients throughout the facility without requiring them to sit in a waiting room. For this, we looked to technology, implementing an automated communication system that serves as ‘air traffic control.’ Patient flow software, powered by a real-time locating system (RTLS), communicates every step of the patient experience on monitors throughout the facility. The system assigns ‘locator badges’ to patients, providers, and staff to monitor which rooms are available, where patients and staff are, who has seen the patient, and who needs to see the patient next. With this at-a-glance visibility into the entire clinic, front desk staff quickly see the status of each exam room and immediately direct the patient to an appropriate location. …

“This new system has changed the patient care experience dramatically. Instead of taking a seat in the waiting room when arriving at the clinic, a patient service representative (PSR) assigns each patient an RTLS locator badge. The PSR directs the patient to an exam room, with no time spent waiting. Because the RTLS patient flow software automatically monitors room availability, the PSR simply glances at a computer screen to see which rooms are ready. …

“When the patient enters through the on-stage entrance to the exam room, a medical assistant (MA) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) locates their presence on the ‘air traffic control’ system—a large screen monitor that shows each room, its status, who is in the room, and how long they’ve been there. The MA or LPN (also wearing a locator badge) then enters through the off-stage door to take vitals. After the MA/LPN leaves, the physician easily sees on the monitor that it’s his or her turn to be with the patient. If the physician needs assistance  or an ancillary service such as a vaccine, the provider presses the button on the RTLS badge, sending a message through the patient flow software to the caregivers (RN, MA, or LPN). The message automatically identifies the physician who needs assistance and his location. …

“Implementing the self-rooming model and addressing patient flow in this holistic manner enables our clinic to achieve positive results, including: Improved professional collaboration … Increased productivity … [and] Improved patient satisfaction … In the final analysis, eliminating the waiting room reinvented the care experience. Not only are patients satisfied, our clinicians work in an environment that enables them to deliver optimal care efficiently, calmly, and productively.”

download-cheryl-becker-mgma-session-slides

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