BREANNA BAN is a senior orthoptist at a new specialist public hospital in Queensland with a digital first strategy. She discusses the efficiencies, safety and satisfaction new technology brings to the clinic.
Often when performing orthoptic diagnostic testing, patients will express how fortunate they are to have access to advancing technology.
Having the opportunity to contribute towards a new orthoptic department at the Surgical Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (STARS) – a new public hospital with a digital first strategy – has been an incentive to consider how to capitalise on improving patient care with the use of new digital systems. STARS is part of Metro North Hospital and Health Service in Brisbane.
In addition to the environmental benefits of a ‘paper lite’ service, there are many clinical benefits associated with continual evolving and emerging technology.
Creating an eye healthcare service model with digital integration provides an opportunity to improve how healthcare is delivered. This begins from the moment the patient arrives at the hospital to check in. At STARS the patient can check in for their appointment through an automated self- service kiosk by scanning the barcode on the appointment letter or swiping their Medicare card. Once checked in, the clinic is notified of the patient’s arrival and they will be advised by the kiosk of any additional waiting times or if the clinic is running behind.
The patient is also provided the option of having a text message sent to their mobile phone when it’s time to go to the ophthalmology waiting room. This emergent technology improves patient satisfaction with an option to spend any extra waiting time in the retail and food precinct rather than an ophthalmology waiting room. It also provides clarification of when they can expect to be called through for their consultation. The hospital has support readily available to help any patients unsure about how to check in through this digital system.
Our clinical workflow processes are utilising a software application that indicates the stage of the consultation the patient is at. Orthoptists work closely with the ophthalmologist and the introduction of this software has enabled a streamlined method of communication between the professions. The administrative officers, orthoptic team and ophthalmologists have access to an overview of who is seeing which patient in which room and the amount of time spent with the patient. The application enables the orthoptist to write comments regarding the status of the appointment such as ‘waiting for OCT’ which assists with the overall clinical flow and awareness of the patient session.
On completing all assessments, the orthoptist will note on the digital application which room the patient is set up in ready for the ophthalmologist. The department has implemented a helicopter workflow model where the ophthalmologist will work out of two rooms and alternate between them. This method helps decrease waiting times for patients and considers patient safety by reducing the likelihood of a fall for elderly patients needing to navigate into multiple waiting rooms.
Digital integration within the department assists with efficiency and patient safety. One of the software platforms being utilised in our service enables the patient’s details to be automatically sent across from the patient database to the modality worklist on the ophthalmic equipment. These names automatically appear in the worklist on the machines once the patient has checked in and then disappear from the machine after their scans are completed.
These advancements in technology decrease the chance of human error when manually entering patient details into the machine, which increases productivity and efficiencies.
During busy clinical sessions with a high volume of patients to see, this digital integration also helps streamline the orthoptic consultation. The orthoptist can spend more time engaging with the patient and has the ability to see a higher volume of patients throughout
The new public hospital – Surgical Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (STARS) in Brisbane. the session instead of spending time typing all the patient’s details into each machine. Another advantage and workflow efficiency of digital integration is managing the patient’s clinical documentation. All orthoptic clinical documentation is typed directly into the electronic medical records and signed electronically. The department has created auto-text templates to minimise the time it takes to type up these notes and allows the orthoptist to spend more time consulting with the patient.
These digital systems at STARS provide enhanced patient outcomes and experiences by supporting essential face-to-face orthoptic interaction to deliver quality healthcare.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Breanna Ban is the senior orthoptist at the Surgical Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (STARS). STARS is newly opened specialist public hospital with a digital first strategy. The service is part of Metro North Hospital and Health Service (MNHHS) in Brisbane, Queensland.