University Health Center streamlines patient care

Rather than call to schedule appointments at the Student Health Center, students now have the ability to schedule appointments far in advance online on the Center’s university Web page.

“This is all about being a convenience to the students,” said Health Center Director and Nurse Practitioner Michelle Reed. “Students can be anywhere in the U.S. and look up the times and add them to their schedule.”

Before using online scheduling, students were required to call in advance since February. However, this system proved inefficient because there were only three nurses answering calls on two lines. Before that, students were able to walk in and wait to be seen, often for hours.  Now patients can be in and out of the Center in just about 45 minutes.

To provide this service, the Health Center utilizes online software called Appointment Plus to receive and record student appointments.

Students simply pick a viable date on the calendar provided they choose from a series of times ranging from 7:20 a.m. to 5 p.m. Up to three patients can be seen per time slot. The software also helps keep track of patient statistics, such as names, addresses, contact information and student ID numbers. According to Reed, the purpose of a patient’s visit is not asked or recorded by the new system.

In the past when the center used paper charts, nurses and center employees had to manually record a patient’s statistics, which took up a lot of space and time. Now this information is stored on a  three terabyte server. The server itself  completely isolated from other systems, making outside hacking impossible and guaranteeing the security patient information.

According to Reed, the use of online scheduling and record keeping not only streamlines the process for students and nurses, but also is helping the center become more eco-friendly.

“We’re almost completely paperless,” said Reed. “Were required to keep our charts for six years, but after that all of our records will be completely electronic.”

To increase the speed of their care even more, the Health Center has recently added thee fully equipped examination rooms to service more students at one time.

“The whole idea of these additions is to keep the flow going,” said Reed. “Our goal is to treat students and get them back to class as soon as possible.”