Northern Health is implementing a new after-hours registration for patients.
This month, 10 different facilities are being given access to video remote registration. Among those hospitals is the Bulkley Valley District Hospital.
At most Northern Health facilities, after-hours registration of patients is done by clinical staff after they have medically assessed or triaged the patient.
Now patients will register using technology that automatically connects them to a trained registration clerk at a central office within the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia. When they get to the screen, the patient will be able to see the clerk and the clerk will ask them basic personal information.
“So for people for whom it’s their first visit to emerg, they ask their address, emergency contact information and why they are there. But they don’t seek out any extra information and they are not triaging. That’s the job of the nurses,” said Andrea Palmer, spokesperson for Northern Health.
The technology allows the registration clerk to see the patient as well as any identification cards like the BC Services card. This minimizes any potential for registration errors or omissions.
“We’re really fortunate, it’s a significant upgrade to just having the audio telephones only and it certainly is an accessibility amendment for people who may require face to face contact for proper communication,” she said.
However, this doesn’t take away from the assessment done by nurses and other medical staff.
“They are just asking enough information to enter the person for the first time into the system or to verify that what they have on the screen for repeat visitors is accurate and up-to-date,” said Palmer.
If a patient is unable to give their information, a designated person who has the patient’s information — such as a family member — can complete the registration process on their behalf.
From May to June, the remaining 12 hospitals in the North will receive the new system as well.
Northern Health conducted the pilot project for after-hours remote patient registration in May and June of 2015 at eight different facilities across the region.
During that time, nearly 27,000 emergency department patients were registered via the remote system.