Susan Ibáñez, Julie Jackson, and Chris Lindley: The future of online patient scheduling

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A Valley of Innovation—Rapid Adoption of Technological Solutions to Address COVID-19

Ibáñez, Lindley, and Jackson addressed how Vail Health uses technological innovations to address pandemic-related challenges.

About Susan Ibáñez

Ibáñez is the chief information officer at Vail Health, a nonprofit community healthcare system in Colorado’s Eagle and Summit counties. Within the system are a 56-bed hospital, a 24/7 emergency care facility, and other specialty services and clinics.

About Julie Jackson

Jackson is the director of applications & informatics for Vail Health. She has been with Vail Health for over four years and is also a registered nurse working with COVID-19 patients.

About Chris Lindley

Lindley is the chief population health officer at Vail Health. He is also the Vail Health COVID-19 incident commander and the executive director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health.

Rick Kuwahara: How do you think that online scheduling that self-scheduling? Do you see it? You know, that aspect of it being able to help you in the future?

Susan Ibáñez: Just like the first presenter in the summit showed, you know, telemedicine being a huge game-changer. And there was a lot of hesitancy risk-averse, and, you know, regulatory and everything else that we had to face prior to COVID remote workforces another great example, there were many things that were positive, unintended consequences of COVID. And so patient scheduling, there’s traditionally been a hesitancy to release the full schedule for patients to be able to schedule we worry about the inaccuracy of data that patients might enter themselves because insurance cards are very hard to read, things like that. So while there was hesitancy, I believe that many things have been proven in COVID, that it actually does work. And we do need to move forward with it. So I believe, for our organization, those are initiatives that we will undertake.

Julie Jackson: Agree that historically and that is one of the reasons why we couldn’t actually move forward with our larger vendors, Cerner and Allscripts because we hadn’t previously configured for self-scheduling. But we did, we do have living proof of concept. And I think, actually, Chris, you’re amenable to trialing it to the behavioral health providers, what I think that would be a good step in showcasing that it can work when it’s a behavioral health appointment, I think where the challenge historically has been with self-scheduling in particular, is that one to one ratio. And so behavior health visit is a set time. And so if we can get our foot in there, and leverage our existing platform, all scripts, I think that’ll be a good segue to self-registering and scheduling. As far as the registration process, I think what we’re finding if we compare to our own errors that our registration staff do, and patients create, so I’m Julie, a Jackson, or I’m Julia Jackson, there’s that matching queue. And so we’ll always have that as long as we have humans no matter of whether it’s the patient or us putting the data in, there’s going to be that mismatch cue that we’ll have to to work but I see great opportunity in Vail health.

Chris Lindley: I think it’s really the future and that is allowing patients they can direct not only their medical care but also when they schedule and how they do it and at the convenience of their smartphone. One thing we’ve learned through all of this, it’s you know, you hear about it, but you don’t see it till it’s really in an emergency but everybody has a smartphone, very few actually can log on to a computer or want to take the time to make a phone call. And you know, set something up with the scheduler so allowing them to do it very quickly from their phone and get the appointment scheduled at their liking is a great customer experience benefit and I think somewhere where we want to, as Julie and Susan have mentioned, want to go into the future.

Watch every minute of Vail Health’s session here.

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