Following an initial 8 week pilot at a single facility, a nationwide private hospital group has successfully rolled out EpiSoft’s automated, online COVID-19 pre admission screening to the remaining six private hospitals in Victoria and Queensland which have COVID-19 screening guidelines in place.
The tool is integrated into the epi-me patient portal (also known as “eAdmissions”) and was co-designed by EpiSoft and the hospital group in rapid response to the varied state health department guidelines.
Prior to EpiSoft’s online COVID-19 screening, the hospital staff were grappling with an immense workload introduced by the guidelines, which initially recommended a PCR-based COVID-19 test for every admitted patient within 72 hours of admission. The process of verbally educating each patient about the screening requirements, following up and reviewing their test results compounded the time per admission for frontline hospital staff. Adding to their workload were frequent changes in the screening guidelines and across states and territories in line with the latest health advice, which led to patient confusion with their pre admission requirements and phone calls to staff.
In response to the pressure, EpiSoft and the hospital group initiated a project to digitise COVID-19 screening using the existing epi-me patient portal which was already being used by their patients to fill out pre admission forms ahead of their stay. As the screening guidelines frequently changed, the online workflow needed to be versatile and adaptable to the different requirements of each state in which the hospital group operated in – including the questionnaire required, the testing window and what type of COVID-19 test was recommended.
How the tool works
EpiSoft’s COVID-19 screening questionnaire is automatically sent to patient portal users a few days before admission, and provides education about the testing requirement and why the hospital is collecting this information. Automated reminders can be configured to send at several intervals prior to the day of admission if the screening remains incomplete. The questionnaire performs an epidemiological screening, collects the patient’s COVID-19 test result as well as their vaccination status. The instructions for patients can be configured by hospital staff and published overnight which enables a rapid response to changes in screening guidelines.
As all patients are now provided a single online channel to provide their COVID-19 screening, the hospital group’s efficiency in their pre admission process has significantly improved as the information is clearer, more centralised and is exported directly to their Patient Administration system.
The pre admission process is also much less stressful for the patients as they are provided adequate notice of what COVID-19 test they need and when.
A ‘COVID Alert’ was also added to the hospital group’s epi-me Clinical Alerts worklist which automatically flags patients who self-report COVID-19 symptoms, a pending or positive test result, or are not fully vaccinated. Previously, hospital staff were manually reviewing this information patient by patient which risked clinical issues being missed or not followed up. With epi-me‘s Clinical Alerts module, only the patients of concern are flagged in a single worklist for infection control nurses to follow up.
COVID-19 Screening is yet another feature of EpiSoft’s hugely successful epi-me portal. Other features include online pre admission forms, Informed Financial Consent workflow, payment gateway, sophisticated event triggered patient communication tools, self-serve appointment booking and management, as well as being architected to support multilingual portals.
epi-me was first launched back in 2011 with the Sydney Adventist Hospital. The company has a 100% customer retention rate for epi-me. As well as being integrated to all of the most popular Patient Administration Systems, epi-me has integrated to numerous EMRs including EpiSoft’s own.
More information about epi-me can be found here