Introduction: In 2010, we introduced an express sexually transmitted infection/HIV testing service at a large metropolitan sexual health clinic, which significantly increased clinical service capacity. However, it also increased reception staff workload and caused backlogs of patients waiting to register or check in for appointments. We therefore implemented a new electronic self-registration and appointment self-arrival system in March 2012 to increase administrative efficiency and reduce waiting time for patients.
Methods: We compared the median processing time overall and for each step of the registration and arrival process as well as the completeness of patient contact information recorded, in a 1-week period before and after the redesign of the registration system. χ2 Test and rank sum tests were used.
Results: Before the redesign, the median processing time was 8.33 minutes (interquartile range [IQR], 6.82–15.43), decreasing by 30% to 5.83 minutes (IQR, 4.75–7.42) when the new electronic self-registration and appointment self-arrival system was introduced (P < 0.001). The largest gain in efficiency was in the time taken to prepare the medical record for the clinician, reducing from a median of 5.31 minutes (IQR, 4.02–8.29) to 0.57 minutes (IQR, 0.38–1) in the 2 periods. Before implementation, 20% of patients provided a postal address and 31% an e-mail address, increasing to 60% and 70% post redesign, respectively (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Our evaluation shows that an electronic patient self-registration and appointment self-arrival system can improve clinic efficiency and save patient time. Systems like this one could be used by any outpatient service with large patient volumes as an integrated part of the electronic patient management system or as a standalone feature.