Northern Health is implementing a new method for after-hours patient registration at the Lakes District Hospital and Health Centre starting this month.
After-hours patients will now register using technology that automatically connects them with registration clerks in Prince George.
During remote registration hours, patients will continue to be medically assessed by clinical staff when they arrive at the Burns Lake hospital. Patients will then be directed to a remote registration video phone for their registration process.
“The technology itself is extremely user-friendly,” said Eryn Collins, a spokesperson for Northern Health. “So it’s simply a matter of going to the registration station, picking up the handset, and you are automatically connected, so there’s no dialing or entering of codes or anything challenging; it shouldn’t present much of an issue for anyone.”
Collins said the new system will benefit both the nursing staff and patients.
“What happens after hours at most Northern Health facilities is that once a patient has come to the facility and has been triaged by the nurse, then that nurse will assist that patient with the registration process,” she said. “With this system, it allows the nursing staff to focus on providing care directly to patients.”
“If someone has a condition that doesn’t allow them to self-register, a family member who’s accompanying them could complete the registration process,” she continued. “But at all times the clinical staff will be available to assist anyone who isn’t able to do the process themselves.”
The only Northern Health facility that offers 24/7 in-person patient registration is the University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George.
“It’s the largest site in the region and it’s used quite heavily 24/7, unlike some of our other facilities,” explained Collins. “During the after-hours period at smaller sites around the region, there just isn’t enough patient traffic to have an after-hours registration clerk.”
A pilot project for after-hours remote patient registration was conducted in May and June 2015 at eight Northern Health facilities across the region. A total of 10 Northern Health facilities will start using the new technology in April and a further 12 will join the remote registration system in May and June.
“Northern Health is committed to seeking creative and practical solutions for improving services through innovation,” said Jeff Hunter, Northern Health’s chief information officer. “The remote registration system’s use of technology provides a personal and efficient registration service to our patients, while allowing our clinical staff to focus on patient care.”
Burns Lake will continue to have registration clerks during regular business hours.