Here's How Mayo Clinic Is Streamlining the Patient Experience with Interactive Kiosks and New EHR System from Epic

Mayo Clinic patients at the health system's main medical complex in Rochester, Minnesota, can now enjoy a streamlined check-in process using electronic kiosks.

A total of 51 interactive self-service machines have been installed throughout the campus, allowing patients to check-in online, verify and update their demographic and insurance information, electronically sign forms, pay account balances, and much more. The new kiosks - which are already in use elsewhere at Mayo Clinic Health System sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin - are designed to provide added convenience and flexibility when visiting the main hospital.

"For many of our patients, this will streamline their check-in," said Steve R. Ommen, MD, Associate Dean at the Mayo Clinic Center for Connected Care. He added that patients will still be able to check in at the front desk when they arrive for their appointment and will also have the option to start the check-in process at home by using Mayo's online eCheck-In feature.

"Patients can answer pre-appointment questionnaires and sign authorizations using their computers or mobile devices at home," said Ommen. "Once eCheck-in is completed, the system generates a barcode and patients can scan that at the kiosk or let staff know they've completed eCheck-In."

Epic Electronic Health Records

The new devices are not meant to replace employees but support them. Staff and volunteers remain on-hand to assist patients with any questions they have when using the kiosks, which, according to Ommen, have been manufactured with a high level of screen protection to keep patients' information secure.

"Loss of jobs is not part of the implementation of the kiosks," he said. "Rather, patients using the kiosk will free staff time, so staff can help patients who need more time for check-in and more time to complete questionnaires and forms."

The move to install interactive kiosks at its Rochester campus comes as part of Mayo Clinic's $1.5 billion transition to Epic Systems technology, which sees Mayo moving to a single, integrated electronic health record (EHR) and billing system as the hospital continues to build on its commitment to integrated care that today's patients have come to expect.

Known among the Mayo Clinic community as the "Plummer Project" - named after Henry Plummer, MD, a Mayo physician who created the world's first patient-centered health record more than a century ago - Epic replaces the multiple EHR systems that had previously been in use across all Mayo campuses.

"This major step in the implementation of the Plummer Project is a confirmation of the dedication, planning and execution by outstanding Mayo Clinic staff, Epic colleagues, and our implementation partners," said Steve Peters, MD, Co-Chair of the initiative. "Having one integrated system builds on our foundation of putting the needs of patients first, which will enhance services, accelerate innovation, and enable us to provide better care."

One Centralized System

By streamlining and centralizing information, Epic allows healthcare providers across all Mayo Clinic departments and campuses to easily access patient records and data from one system - including medications, allergies, immunizations, lab results, and health histories - regardless of where those patients are seen throughout the Mayo Clinic Health System.

"Surgeons will be able to manage consultations easily regardless of where the patient is in the hospital," said Peters. "This reduces the time spent searching for charts. Therapists' flow sheets, which handle complicated or lengthy assessment tools, will be standardized. This will give therapists more time to work directly with patients. Radiologists will be able to quickly see all the patient's information within the chart, which improves the reading workflow. Radiologists also can look back at study notes. Physicians can electronically access patient records from other health systems, with patient consent, using Epic."

The new kiosks are integrated with Epic, allowing patients to check-in electronically and update their information. Physicians and other providers are also able to share information more effectively with patients, and all billing is now done through one system, meaning patients receive just one consolidated bill.

Final Thoughts

The Rochester roll-out of the new Epic EHR system went live on May 5. It is the third of four implementations - Epic was launched across Mayo Clinic Health System sites in Wisconsin and Minnesota in 2017, with Arizona and Florida campuses scheduled to go live this fall.

Already, the investment is paying off. According to Peters, after the first six months of use, Epic made workflows faster, eliminated redundancy, and allowed providers to do more of what they do best - focus on patient care.

"This is a testament to an incredibly hard-working, well-synchronized team," said Mayo Clinic's Chief Information Officer, Cris Ross. "Working on a unified system will enhance our ability to share information and take the best practices of Mayo Clinic to benefit all patients at all sites."

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