Simplifying Imaging Scheduling Process Through Automation

Houston Methodist is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the No. 1 hospital in Texas and among the top 20 hospitals nationwide. Houston Methodist is the only nationally ranked Honor Roll hospital in the state and is designated as a Magnet hospital for excellence in nursing.

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Business Objectives


Imaging is a critical element to the continuum of care. Timely access to imaging gives caregivers critical information needed to make the best clinical decision. Houston Methodist delivers thousands of imaging appointments per month with over 100 imaging options. High patient follow-through as well as short time to completion affect quality of care, cost, and revenue for Methodist. How this happens also plays a vital role in staff and patient satisfaction.


Challenge


Methodist was not new to digital scheduling. Their solution offered a way to book imaging appointments via a consumer scheduling module on houstonmethodist.org, but this solution brought about a 3-fold challenge.


The solution was not integrated with their EMR (Epic) for scheduling. This meant staff had to enter appointments as they came in through email. It also limited availability to a general calendar instead of live appointment times.


The solution was not integrated with their EMR for Order creation. Orders had to be attached to the emailed appointment request and then manually entered into the system by staff.


Referring providers had to use the consumer experience to schedule referrals. This created redundant work for referring providers in scheduling the appointment and provided no additional insight, such as appointment status or closing the referral loop, once booked.


Resolution


Blockit was brought in to fully automate the imaging scheduling experience and provide multiple user experiences that were optimized to who was needing to schedule appointments and how it would be scheduled.


Full integration into Epic. Blockit’s depth and breadth of integration enabled the solution to be fully integrated with real-time availability, booking of appointments, status updates, and order creation. Blockit was the first and remains the only platform to have fully automated the imaging process. Now the scheduling experience is digital, requiring no staff involvement. As a result, staff satisfaction increased.


User experience designed for both consumers and referring providers. Rather than force everyone into one sub-optimal workflow, Blockit empowers different users depending on their needs. Consumers need quick access and ease of booking; therefore Blockit provides a 3-click process to compare availability and book imaging appointments. Referring partners need the ability to sync with their existing workflows, book patients with ease, track the status of appointments, and close the referral loop. Blockit provides this via our integrated referral platform.


Managing complexity with ease. Imaging scheduling is hard: CPT codes, disqualifying elements, information collection relevant to specific studies, and more. Blockit fully enables the necessary steps required to digitally deliver imaging scheduling while maintaining the integrity of the scheduling process.


Automating steps to increase engagement. While the referral process enables providers to help navigate the patient, the patient is also given the ability to self-schedule via text or email once an order has been placed in Epic. The order kicks off a workflow in Blockit that enables the patient to self-schedule via their device, further increasing the chances for higher follow-through rates.


Result


Methodist is now averaging over 2,500 digital consumer imaging appointments with a 92% follow-through rate. Hundreds more are being facilitated via the referral platform with similar follow-through rates. What once took an average of 4 minutes per appointment prior to Blockit now requires 0 minutes, giving back over 200 hours of staff time per month for this singular use case. Staff satisfaction from both scheduling and referring partners, as well as the patient experience, continue to climb.

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