Tool simplifiesappointmentscheduling

Staff report

LUMBERTON — Southeastern Health is working to improve customer service with a new electronic messaging tool used to schedule follow-up appointments before patients are discharged.

The tool, called iNexx, allows hospital unit discharge coordinators to reduce their phone call volume to practices by more than 80 percent, and reduce the time it takes to confirm a follow-up appointment for a patient from 25 minutes using a phone to six minutes using electronic messaging.

“Patient follow-up with a physician after leaving the hospital significantly reduces their chance of readmitting as these appointments increase compliance with medications and other care plan instructions,” said Joann Anderson, CEO of Southeastern Health.

In a 10-week period, 675 patients were scheduled follow-up appointments before leaving the hospital. Appointments are made directly with the patient’s primary care physician. If a patient does not have a physician, the hospital ensures access to follow-up care at hospital-owned practices.

“I love it. I don’t have to sit on the phone trying to schedule appointments at the various clinics. I can go do other tasks while the appointment is in the scheduling process,” said Angela Smith, a unit secretary at Southeastern Health. “The process and my efforts are seamless to the patient so it’s a win-win-win for me, for the patient and for the hospital.”

Staff report

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