Interactive Pen Displays Accelerate Patient Registration

AuntMinnie | When a medium-sized imaging center decided to achieve a paperless clinical work environment when replacing its aging RIS, it expanded this goal to include patient interaction as well. One year later, this decision has paid off handsomely.

The patients of Valley Regional Imaging in Fayetteville, NC, won’t find ballpoint pens and paper forms at this facility. Instead, they’ll be greeted with a friendly smile and invited to an interactive pen display cubicle. This electronic technology expedites registration workflow, reduces a variety of operational expenses, and has almost completely eliminated clerical errors, omissions, and accidental retention of incorrect patient information, according to the outpatient imaging center.

Valley Regional Imaging is a full-service center, offering CT, MRI, ultrasound, radiography, fluoroscopy, mammography, and bone densitometry examinations, averaging 3,300 patient visits a month. Exams are read by 21 subspecialty radiologists.

When the center was established in May 2009 as a joint venture of Cape Fear Valley Health System and Carolina Regional Radiology, it acquired an existing outpatient imaging facility which included a leased RIS and PACS. The staff quickly discovered that the RIS was underautomated and labor intensive, with many manual processes built into it. It was time for a change, according to executive director Rhonda Mayorga, PhD.

Patient at interactive pen display cubicle. Image courtesy of Valley Regional Imaging. A new RIS (MedInformatix) and PACS (Intelerad Medical Systems) became fully operational in July 2010. Just a few months earlier, Mayorga investigated whether interactive pen displays could eliminate the need for patients to complete paper forms and consent documents.

She and her colleagues liked what they saw, but they couldn’t kick the tires and try out the product due to issues with the existing RIS. They went ahead and purchased five displays (Wacom Technology), taking a gamble that patients and the registration/clinical staff would like it, and that it would work as promised.


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