7 Best Practices for Hospital Visitor Management
With hospitals focusing more on the patient and visitor experience, visitor management solutions are being adopted to enhance the overall check in process and keep staff and patients safe. Hospitals and healthcare facilities want to be able to pre-schedule visitors, check in walk-up guests, screen visitors against watch lists—including criminal background and ex-employees—notify staff of arriving visitors, and print badges that make visitors easily identifiable. With the wealth of data and reporting options available to hospitals, it can be difficult to know how to plan for and implement new technology, so we’ve put together a list of seven best practices your hospital can use to get your visitor management system up and running optimally.
1. Secure unmanned entrances.
Paper check in books are bulky, costly, don’t provide visibility into your hospital’s visitor trends, and can cause congestion at your reception or receiving desk. Using self-registration kiosks at your unmanned entrances provides a streamlined way to manage visitor and patient entry while keeping your reception area clear and moving quickly. In a matter of seconds, visitors can scan their driver’s license or other ID, or enter details into the kiosk to register their visit. When placed at points of access, kiosks can become the hub for visitor information and registration, relieving the burden on your receiving staff and providing an improved experience for your visitors.
2. Identify and secure sensitive areas.
If your hospital has sensitive areas—maternity, children’s wing, etc.—creating custom workflows can help better manage access. If your hospital has different levels of access, you can customize the solution for each point of access. For example, you may only need a name and room number for general users, but need birthdate and phone number for visitors to the children’s wing. Customizing your workflows helps keep track of visitors within your hospital, deterring unwanted traffic in sensitive and restricted areas.
3. Make visitors easy to identify with badges.
Printed badges let your staff easily recognize visitors and verify they are in the correct area of the hospital. Badges can be customized to suit your needs and include information such as hospital floor, room number, visitor name, date and more. Pictures can be printed on badges for quick identification verification and expiring and color-coding badges help staff quickly identify hospital visitors who may be lost or in an unauthorized area.
4. Train your staff and visitors on check in procedures.
The biggest struggle in implementing a new visitor management system can be adopted. You need to have a training plan in place for your staff and visitors to make the transition to digital check in seamless. Staff should know how to use the visitor management solution, as well as the procedure if a visitor appears on a watch list or in an unauthorized area of the hospital. For visitors, there should be clear signage directing them toward the registration area as well as printed instructions on how to register their visit. Proper training will ensure that your visitor management solution is adopted quickly with minimal impact on staff and visitors.
5. Pre-register regular visitors and outpatient.
If your hospital sees a lot of regular visitors or outpatient procedures, pre-registration is a must. Pre-registration allows patients and visitors to schedule their upcoming visit to expedite the check in process. Upon pre-registering, patients and visitors should receive a notification, calendar invite, and individualized barcode. When checking in to the hospital, the patient or visitor simply needs to scan the barcode and their information will auto-populate, reducing check-in time to an average of 6 seconds per visitor and reducing the need for staff at reception desks.
6. Screen visitors against watch lists.
With news of hospital security incidents becoming more prevalent, it has become necessary to screen visitors to ensure the safety of everyone in the hospital. In addition to standard terrorist and other watch lists, your hospital should assess its individual security needs. You should also create custom watch lists that are specific to your hospital. These lists may include visitors that have a history of violence, ex-employees who should no longer be allowed to access the facility. No matter which list you use, vetting your visitors prior to admittance is a step you should be taking to protect your staff and patients.
7. Use visitor data to increase outreach.
Keeping tabs on visitors and collecting their data gives you insight into your hospital’s activity and lets you increase patient and visitor communication. Look at visitor trends to identify busy times, regular patients and visitors and those patients who haven’t received visitors. You can also increase your outreach effort to send text messages and emails to patients and visitors that can include important information, surveys, and marketing communications.
Choosing a Visitor Management Solution
There are many variables to consider when selecting a visitor management solution. Cost, capabilities, platform, and UI can all be considerations when comparing products. The individual needs of your hospital will be the ultimate deciding factor, but incorporating the best practices above will help your hospital implement and adopt a visitor management solution successfully.
Veristream has been providing visitor management solutions since 2008. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, universities, hospitals and research facilities. To learn more about we can help streamline visitor management for your hospital or healthcare facility, schedule a demo at veristream.com.