Melbourne’s Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital launches outpatient digitisation project

The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne has launched a major digitisation project designed to improve the way it manages Specialist Clinic appointments as part of the hospital’s significant redevelopment plans

The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital

The hospital, which cares for more than 220,000 patients per year, has partnered with UK based hospital patient flow specialist, Intouch with Health (Intouch), and the company’s Australian partner, Device Technologies, to implement the two-phase project.

The technology will overhaul the way the hospital manages the movement of patients during their Specialist Clinic appointments and give staff improved access to information using digital solutions to replace some paper-based processes.

Phase one of the project, which went live on 10 February 2021, saw the hospital introduce Intouch’s Flow Manager; a central digital dashboard from where hospital staff can view the location of each Specialist Clinic patient and monitor the progress through different stages of their appointment.

The same dashboard also allows staff to access Intouch’s Activity Manager module, from where they can book any number of patient activities in advance and link them to specific clinic codes, areas and rooms, and set a patient on a pre-planned work-stream.

The hospital has also replaced paper-based appointment outcome records with Intouch’s eOutcomes module, allowing clinicians to speed up the outcome recording process and save appointment information digitally to improve data accuracy.

Patient-facing technology introduced in phase one of the project includes patient self check-in kiosks to allow visiting patients to register their arrival for an appointment digitally, and the introduction of Intouch’s Patient Calling module.

Patient Calling uses digital display screens to communicate important clinic information and waiting times to patients and will also display names to alert each patient to move to a specific room when their clinician is ready to see them.

Tracy Siggins, Acting Executive Director of Operations, said: “The launch of this project marks a significant step forward in enhancing the patient experience and reducing waiting times to check-in for clinics at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

“The central digital dashboard will allow staff to manage the flow of patients through the clinic more efficiently while automatically updating patients, via digital calling screens, on possible delays to their appointment times. This will be particularly useful for our elderly patients or those with hearing difficulties who may miss their name being called.”

She continued: “The new digital self check-in process will help improve the experience for patients when they arrive for their appointment by reducing waiting times to check in and supporting significantly shorter queues at reception, while at the same time, freeing up our clerical staff to be on hand to respond to patient queries or where a patient requires additional help.

Digital check-in is available in multiple languages and patients can still choose to check-in with clerical staff should they prefer to."

Ms Siggins also said the technology will help support the hospital’s Covid-19 response, adding: “Reductions in patient waiting times will help with physical distancing. This will also help minimise the number of patients in the waiting room as we continue to educate our patients to only check in fifteen minutes prior to their appointment.”

Phase two of the project will introduce Intouch’s Mobile Appointment Manager; an app that will allow patients to check in for an appointment using their smartphone or tablet either from their car or within close proximity to the hospital.

Working with Device Technologies, the hospital will also launch Intouch’s Performance Manager for staff and a Wayfinding module for patients to access directions upon arrival.

Yara Safi, International Account Director at Intouch with Health, said: “It has been an absolute privilege working with The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital project team to deploy the first phase of their digital transformation in one of their Specialist Clinics”.

“The project has run very smoothly, and we have been able to supply the team with a virtual testing environment - deployed on the cloud from the UK - to give the project team the opportunity to test the platform thoroughly before we moved to the final build of the solution.

“There are no limits to digital transformation, and we are proud to be part of the hospital redevelopment to deliver a world-class experience for both patients and hospital staff alike.”

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