How NYU Langone eased registration bottlenecks

From the mHealthNews archive
By Eric Wicklund

What's the most important step in developing a mobile registration process? Making sure everything ties in seamlessly to the electronic health record.

That's one of the lessons learned by NYU Langone Medical Center, which recently launched a tablet-based registration platform for patients of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health. The platform, for the center's inpatient and outpatient locations, enables patients to start the registration process online at home, then finish the job on tablets in the waiting room.

The project, involving the health system, OnBase by Hyland, Samsung Electronics America and Computer SI and funded by a $5 million gift from AIG, not only eliminates paper files (an estimated 200 sheets of paper a day) and cuts the time spent in the waiting room, but eases the workload of clinicians. No more scanning paper files into the EMR, or typing in data, or trying to look from the chart to the EMR and back again while talking with a patient.

[See also: Want to improve patient engagement? Start with the basics]

"There are a number of factors that must be considered," NYU Langone CIO Nader Mherabi told mHealth News. "It is particularly important to determine how information will translate to the office workflow and be validated before inclusion in the patient’s medical record. Because a patient may begin the workflow at home using our patient portal and complete the workflow once they are in the physician’s office, integration between the mHealth platform and our Epic platform must be seamless."

The health system joins a broad array of healthcare providers integrating mHealth solutions into the patient check-in and registration process – an ideal entry point for health systems just entering the mHealth landscape, or those looking to reduce paper waste, cut down waiting room time and help clinicians better import patient data into the EHR.

According to NYU Langone officials, a patient arriving for an appointment at the Tisch Center or one of its offices can now check in with PatientSecure, NYC Langone's palm scanning ID technology, and is given a Samsung Galaxy Tab S. Using the new Mobile eCapture System, the patient sees only forms that haven't yet been completed or need updating. Those forms, furthermore, already include data pulled from the Epic EHR system, and the completed forms are automatically integrated back into the EHR.

"Tying this to the EHR is what makes the workflow seamless for both the patient and the registration users," Mherabi said. "It is of minimal benefit if not tied to the EHR."

Another important lesson learned? Approach this from the patient's point of view.

"It is all too easy to assume that we know exactly what the patient wants," Mherabi said. "We may do a pretty good job of adopting the patient’s perspective, but sometimes things are missed. It is crucial to be able to recognize and correct misperceptions quickly. On one occasion, this was as simple as enlarging check boxes on a form that were too small for some of our patients."

Mherabi said the project has so far received "overwhelmingly positive" support from patients, so much so that officials are fast-tracking the roll-out across other departments of the health system – including the NYU Langone Huntington Medical Group, a Long Island-based practice that recently joined the ambulatory network.

See also: 

Hospital-issued tablets target patient education, satisfaction

CHIME: Tablets are a triumph in home care