New system saves time, money

Published 7:45 pm Friday, June 9, 2017

Most folks dread the clipboard full of tedious forms at the doctor’s office almost as much as they dread seeing the doctor.

Jackie Knight, a patient at Harbour View Family Practice, enters her information on an iPad as part of a new system in use at Bon Secours.

But a new initiative by Bon Secours, which has been put into use at all of its doctor’s offices, allows patients to fill out all of their information and even make payments on an easy-to-use digital program loaded onto an iPad.

“It’s a quicker, smoother check-in process we’re providing,” said Tisam Mohammed, a patient service representative at Harbour View Family Practice. “It’s taking care of the patient as a whole.”

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The new system, created by Tonic, allows patients to fill out their name, address and other vital information on the iPad. They can also designate who is permitted to get information about their health, such as a spouse or parent, and sign other forms. They can even swipe their credit card to pay co-pays and get a receipt emailed to their inbox.

Bon Secours was the first health system in Virginia to adopt the system. It has been in place since January, and most patients have appreciated it.

“I like it,” said Jackie Knight, a patient at Harbour View Family Practice who used the new check-in system for the first time in May. “I like anything that uses technology.”

Bon Secours spokeswoman Lynne Zultanky said more patients are using the technology than originally hoped.

“The older adults are embracing it more than you would think,” she said.

Some things, like taking insurance information, still must be done manually. But the system replaced a seven-page packet of paper that patients previously had to fill out with the clipboard.

That’s important for a number of reasons — not the least of which is saving paper.

“Being environmentally friendly is important to the sisters,” Zultanky said, referring to the Sisters of Bon Secours, who founded the Bon Secours Health System in 1983.

Protecting patients’ privacy is vitally important, and not having all the paper that might accidentally get thrown in the wrong trash bin helps protect patients’ privacy even more than before, Zultanky said.

Mistakes are less likely, since staff don’t have to enter the information into the computer after a patient writes it down. It also helps staff at the practice concentrate on other duties. Kelly Smith, a patient service representative, said there is now more time to call patients and remind them to come in for yearly wellness exams, among other duties.

“It helps for busy days,” Mohammed said.