As many hospitals begin to resume “normal” operations, including restarting non-urgent appointments and elective surgeries, a top concern is reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection within care settings – and reducing patient anxiety that comes with it.

In fact, according to recent research from Lumeon, nearly 70 percent of hospital leaders believe patient fear will delay or limit demand for elective surgery, with the impact felt through the end of 2020. To offset these risks and concerns, as patient intake ramps back up, hospitals around the world are moving quickly to put new measures in place, such as virtual check-in, that help keep patients and staff safe.

For Keck Medicine of USC, a world-class academic medical center in Los Angeles, this includes reducing the time patients spend inside the facility unnecessarily, particularly in waiting rooms.

To support physical distancing and reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure at its facilities, Keck Medicine recently deployed Lumeon’s virtual check-in solution, which keeps patients waiting outside of the facility until their physician is ready to see them. Here’s the process:

Ahead of their upcoming appointment, patients receive automated SMS reminders that include instructions to remain in their car and simply text “READY” upon arrival. After texting “READY,” the patient is registered as having checked-in and is asked to continue to wait in their car or near the clinic until further notice. When the care team is ready to receive them, an SMS is sent to notify the patient to come in, along with directions to the appropriate location. Upon arrival, they can be escorted directly to their exam room. This check in process may limit wait times and risk for the patient and optimizes efficiency among the staff.

Keck Medicine will more safely manage check-ins for more than 80,000 patients per month as appointment numbers ramp back up toward expected levels. During the first ten days of system operation, 67 percent of eligible patients checked in virtually for their appointments.

“Keck Medicine of USC has an enduring commitment to the health care needs of our community. Patient safety is always our highest priority, and during times like this, it’s even more important to create an environment where our patients feel safe and at ease during their visit,” said Laurie Johnson, chief ambulatory officer with Keck Medicine of USC. “

Because Keck Medicine has already deployed Lumeon’s automated appointment reminder solution, Lumeon was able to quickly extend the system’s programmable logic to go live with the virtual check-in solution in just a few weeks, while taking advantage of the existing electronic health record integration.

Today’s “new normal” is pushing health systems to rethink care delivery models, which requires an enterprise platform that can rapidly address emerging requirements that all patients can easily adopt. Lumeon is proud to play a role in helping providers like Keck Medicine revise traditional processes and provide the best care and patient experience possible, even in the face of a pandemic.

A graphic showing Lumeon's virtual care solutions including virtual check-in