TEMPLE — Sherri Stumbaugh of Rogers has four children, so visits to McLane Children’s Specialty Clinic are common. However, some new technology now in use could improve the experience.
On Wednesday, Stumbaugh got some help from Dr. Ashis Barad, a pediatric gastroenterologist at McLane Children’s Specialty Clinic and one of her children’s doctors, in trying out an electronic kiosk that allows her to check in for appointments without standing in line at the front desk, as well as update information, access patient portals and print out future appointments or shot records.
“The point is to make check-in as fast and easy as possible,” Barad said.
With school about to begin, getting and in and out as quickly possible is important, he said. “The last thing we want to do is have the youngsters missing more time at school because they waiting. Wait time can be a deterrent to taking your kid to see a doctor.”
Parents also can use the kiosk to easily sign up for My Chart, part of a new electronic record system Scott & White implemented earlier in the year.
Using My Chart, parents can email their doctor, request refills and get lab and X-ray results.
“There’s no more of having to wait several days to call the doctor to find about any test results,” said Barad, adding that it removes some of the frustration.
As soon as a patient checks in using the kiosk, the information goes to the front desk. A kiosk check-in notice is sent to the physician.
The pilot program is starting with kiosks on every floor of the specialty clinic, except five, as well as at West Temple Clinic, Temple Towne and Killeen Hemingway, according to Jason Culp, director of McLane Children’s clinical operations.
The kiosks have been operating for a couple of months. Barad said families who see him regularly are using the kiosks to check in.
Pediatrics was chosen to get the technology first because the parents are younger and more geared toward technology and patient volume is higher, Culp said.
The kiosks are cleaned professionally each day and wipes are available from clinic staff at any time upon request, Scott & White public affairs manager Scott Clark said.
Hand hygiene dispensers are located throughout the clinic.
The kiosks are at a height to be used by mature adults; young children aren’t able to reach the pad.
‘Get in quick’
During the check-in process, Stumbaugh was able to verify phone numbers, addresses, emergency contacts, insurance and more. If a change is needed, a patient can take care of it at the same time.
“The goal of the process is to get in quick and get back to what you need to be doing,” Barad said.
Coupled with My Chart, a patient easily can access medical records, as well as make and change appointments. With the ability to email their physician, patients no longer have to wait for a doctor to return their call.
The email also lends itself to more thorough and clearer questions, Barad said.
“During a back-and-forth conversation in a phone call some items of concern are easily forgotten. I think it’s a better way to communicate.”
Eventually, patients will be able to schedule appointments using the kiosks, Culp said.
If there’s an issue, staff at the desk are flagged and can help the patient.
The kiosks now being piloted in an adult clinic in Round Rock, said Todd Dague, senior analyst for Baylor Scott & White. “Once we start getting data back from them, we’ll probably start rolling it out on a much bigger scale.”