August 15, 2008
Checkin in, with changes

The process of filling out MGH patient check-in forms is a familiar – and oft repeated – ritual. In many cases, these forms contain personal information – such as date of birth, address and phone number – that already has been recorded within MGH information systems, making them repetitive and inefficient for both patients and the administrative staff who process them. A team from the MGH/MGPO Practice Improvement Division recently embarked on an effort to explore ways of improving the efficiency of the patient check-in process.

Known as the Reducing Administrative Data Redundancy (RADaR) project, the initiative examined instances where administrative information that had already been captured in the IDX system or the longitudinal medical record (LMR) was requested again when patients checked in for an outpatient appointment. By sampling 18 outpatient practices, the team discovered that 81 different paper forms – containing up to 143 pages – were in use across ambulatory practices. They also determined that 23 of the forms could be streamlined to reduce administrative content, and another 8 potentially could be eliminated completely. Based on this work, a self-assessment guide for practices has been developed and piloted, and a technical solution that would pull all routinely requested data fields onto one report is being investigated. More information about these changes will be available to outpatient practices in the coming months.

Members of the RADaR project team are Melanie Cassamas, Joe Feiner, Ali Spray and Jason Trella of the Practice Improvement Division; Paul Nealey and Kristin Smith of the Registration and Referral Center; Krista Neff, Liz Fearing and Matvey Palchuk, MD, of Partners Information Systems; and Kerry Sedlock and Rose Sheehan of the Professional Billing Office.

For more information about the project, contact Christine Primiano, MS, MBA, director of Ambulatory Consulting Services and co-chair of RADaR, at cprimiano@partners.org. For more information about planned improvements, contact Stacey Houghton, MBA, director of the Practice Support Unit and co-chair of RADaR, at shoughton@partners.org.

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