Health Services installed two laptops in the building’s reception area on Jan. 23, allowing students to check themselves in for scheduled or drop-in appointments.
Rather than sign in at the front desk, the new system asks patients to enter their information — name, student identification number and ailment or appointment time — as well as answer a few questions about their mental health on a computer in the reception area.
“It gives the nurses a way of knowing if someone is here with a hang nail or someone has a fever of 103,” Health Services Clinic Manager Kathleen O’Dea said. “If someone comes in and they’re bleeding, though, we’ll call nurses to come get them — that doesn’t change.”
Information prompts on the digital system are the same questions that receptionists previously asked students to complete on paper forms. With the new process, Health Services has eliminated the need for at least two pieces of paper with each patient.
If a patient doesn’t know his or her student identification number, or mistypes other information, a computer screen appears to check-in with a receptionist instead.
Before Jan. 23, receptionists sporadically asked students to use the laptop-based system last semester to check its functionality. Once all Health Services employees learned how to incorporate the new process, O’Dea said she integrated the laptops into the check in process full time.
“It is more efficient and confidential,” O’Dea said. “The several students that I have treated in the clinic have said that thought it went well.”
While most feedback has been positive, O’Dea said some have concerns about germ spreading from ill students touching the laptops’ keyboards. There is hand sanitizer next to the computers to reduce such hazards, O’Dea said.