VA launches new virtual check-in feature


shadow

VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) across the country are expanding services now that onsite patient care can safely resume. To ensure the protection of both patients and staff, VA’s Office of Information and Technology (OIT) worked with VHA to launch “I am Here,” a new VEText virtual check-in feature.

The new feature allows VA facilities to check in patients remotely while ensuring physical distancing. To use the feature, Veterans at participating facilities can simply text a message to 53079 stating, “Here,” once they arrive in the parking lot of the facility where they have a scheduled appointment.

This text notifies the care team that the patient has arrived at the facility and is waiting to be called inside for their appointment. The Veteran will then receive an auto-response with a message acknowledging their check-in and an additional response directing them to await further instruction. Finally, the patient will receive a text message once their provider is ready to see them and it is okay to proceed to the appointment.

Based on user feedback

Designed in partnership with Veterans and medical center leadership, and incorporating feedback from user testing, the feature helps reduce wait times, ease stress, and lower exposure risk while addressing both Veterans’ and VA employees’ needs. It allows Veterans to gain confidence in the new reality of increased digital interactions as part of their VA health care experience.

Some of the tool’s features include:

  • Text appointment confirmation and reminder.
  • Remote check-in.
  • Digital, pre-entry COVID-19 screening registration.
  • Remote patient tracking.
  • Pre-registration by phone.
  • Support for Spanish-language messaging.
  • Support for non-scheduled appointments.

Charles Worthington, VA’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), applauded the designers, developers and partners across VA who collaborated to bring this innovative digital solution to nationwide deployment. “I continue to be impressed by the speed with which VA teams have quickly developed creative solutions to help VA respond to the pandemic. These innovations are a testament to the ingenuity and commitment of the public servants who work at VA to support our Veterans through this unprecedented situation.”

Across the country

The “I am Here” check-in feature is actively in use at 30 sites across the country. As usage of the tool continues to grow, the Office of the CTO will monitor performance and feedback, and then update the tool’s features as needed. The development and launch of the “I am Here” virtual check-in tool is one example of OIT’s investment in digital transformation, innovation and collaboration. With this tool — alongside our COVID-19 chatbot and COVID-19 Digital Pre-entry screening tool — we’re responding quickly to urgent needs to protect and support Veterans and VA employees during COVID-19.


Submitted by VA’s Office of Information and Technology. 

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. James Douglas White    

    Will community based outpatient clinics use this technology ?

  2. Morris Hooper    

    I had an appointment on July 7. On July 5th and July 6th I received a text asking me to confirm my appointment, which I did. I then received a text telling me to text “I am here” upon my arrival, which I did. I then received a text telling me to remain in my vehicle awaiting further instructions. 40 minutes later I finally went up to the door where I was greeted by an orderly who informed me that “ that system is crap”. Not exactly the response I wanted to hear after waiting so long in my car. We went inside to the receptionist, who said we don’t look at those because nobody knows how to use the system. Then I was informed that because they call my name and I didn’t respond they considered me a no show. I was sitting in my car ! By now it is 11:45am, my appointment was at 11am. I was told that the person I needed to see had left, and could I return at 1pm and they would try and work me in. When I arrived back I went inside and was checked in. As I was waiting to be called another man came in and said “I have been waiting in my car for half an hour “
    I think the idea is great, but they rolled it out before everyone was instructed how to use it. Look forward to the debugged version.

  3. Curtis A Warrick    

    I will be pissed if this action put an auto tracker on my phone without my being notified

  4. Rolf Buchner    

    so how does this work for non scheduled labs? some of my labs need to be done without an actual appointment anywhere from 3 days before doctor appointment to the morning of the appointment.

  5. Al Hamblet    

    So what does “Remote patient tracking.” mean?

  6. Bill Harrison    

    Great!! Except . . . no cell phone cause there is no signal.

  7. SW    

    I don’t use text messaging. Can I still walk in to the hospital for my appointment and check in with the secretary??? Why are you forcing veterans to sit in the parking lot until the provider gets done his patient or his nurse and then deciding he’ll see the veteran?????
    If the provider is running late will the veteran be informed of this? If not, how does the veteran contact their clinic and ask?????
    I’m sitting there in my car waiting to “allowed” in for my appointment, I have to pee, can I come inside and use the restroom or should I pee my pants instead?

    This is another way of PUSHING THE VETERANS OUT of the va instead of the government following through on it’s promise to “care for those who served…” and yes, which 30???

  8. Roger Ahrens 7024    

    What VAMC hospitals are using VETEXT for patient check in?

    1. Kat Bailey    

      VA Bedford Healthcare System in Bedford, Mass is using the mobile check in!

      1. Susan    

        I know the eye clinic at James A haley in Tampa uses it and it worked fine—I much preferred waiting in my car than sitting in a waiting room with so many sick looking people

Comments are closed.