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By Luisa Buada and Jessica Chiu         Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today                      Facebook    Twitter         Blog
June 2, 2016                        
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  New medical technology 
Photo supplied by the Ravenswood Family Health Center
Some of the new self check-in kiosks, which are now available for patients, can be seen in the lobby of the Ravenswood Family Health Center.   

Nearly four years ago, Ravenswood Family Health Center began planning for a new state-of-the-art medical facility. Ravenswood’s vision was to provide patients with a single access point to a complete continuum of services that integrates the latest technological advances in health care to improve and enhance the patient experience.

Ensuring a pleasant patient experience was a prevailing theme in the design of Ravenswood’s new clinic. To achieve this, Ravenswood staff selected innovative technologies to change the oftentimes inefficient and burdensome waits that patients traditionally experienced.

To eliminate patients waiting in long lines, Ravenswood’s new clinic uses self check-in kiosks where patients can check-in in under 10 seconds. Patients select a language, a service type and whether they have an appointment or are walking in for care. Upon finishing these three simple selections, a ticket is printed which directs them to the appropriate lobby and reception area. Instead of waiting in a line to be called to the reception desk, patients may sit in a very comfortable lobby seat. Large screen monitors in the lobbies display and flash when a ticket is announced. A pre-recorded announcement in English, Spanish, and Tongan comes over speakers in the lobby when the next person is ready to be served.

Queuing is separately available for patients coming in for lab or pharmacy only services. To improve the flow in Ravenswood’s new retail pharmacy, there is a robot that dispenses up to 200 of the most common prescriptions at a rate of 180 scripts per hour. This is tied to a pharmacy management software program operating on all of the pharmacy computers so that prescription wait times have been reduced from one day to under 20 minutes.

Overhead paging in a large facility can be a disturbing factor for patients, as well as staff. It is also inefficient for staff to locate a phone in order to contact someone in the building. To facilitate staff communication, another technology is being utilized that reduces noise pollution and improves staff to staff contact. Staff wear a 2 oz personal intercom, Vocera badge that allows for instant, hands-free voice communication with other staff. It also stores messages if the person being called is unavailable. Staff are all trained on how to use these badges in a manner that protects patient privacy. The badges can also be used to broadcast to small groups or to all staff in the case of an emergency. Persons out of range can be reached through this same software on their smart phones.

Since opening its new clinic in May 2015, Ravenswood’s use of technology to enhance health care has resulted in greatly improved patient satisfaction. 91% of patients who responded to a recent survey indicated that they had a positive experience, including great customer service; professional, helpful, and friendly staff; and efficient service. Similarly, 96% of patients surveyed indicated that they would recommend their family or friends to Ravenswood. This positive feedback motivates Ravenswood to continue to advance and to improve the patient experience.


This article is a reprint of the article with the same title that appears in the May - June 2016 edition of the East Palo Alto Today newspaper. See the online files of the issue at www.epatoday.org/current.org