Before health and aged care operator Calvary Health Care implemented its digital COVID-19 screening solution, there were lines of people queued out the door and satisfaction was down.
But after a process to introduce the automated Zipline sign-in, temperature checks and questionnaire system, visitors can enter the facilities within seconds.
At Calvary’s private hospital in Launceston, staff are now entering in as quickly as eight seconds while visitors take less than 30 seconds, leaps and bounds below average check-in times in the industry.
Calvary Care Project Manager Jarrod Page said the system had sped up and improved the check-in process overall while reducing the need for manual checks from dedicated around-the-clock screening staff.
“It boosted confidence from our people at the site that people had in fact gone through that screening process,” he said.
“It’s helped us create a more efficient screening system while maintaining the same screening standards.
“The absolute goal is to make sure people are well and not displaying symptoms as they come in the door, and we’ve been able to achieve that.”
The Australian healthcare and aged care operator has 14 public and private hospitals, 17 retirement and aged care centres and community care facilities around the country, and was last year required to start COVID-19 screening processes, in line with Australian requirements.
This meant they were employing clinically trained professionals to ask the questions, take temperatures and assist with check-ins.
“To employ dedicated screening staff across every single site at all times was a pretty expensive process,” Mr Page said.
And when there were lines of visitors and staff snaking out the doors to get in, both on-site workers and head office representatives recognised there was scope for a better, digital system.
There were also concerns about the manual processing and paper trail storage to meet the government requirements.
So Calvary worked with Zipline on a trial to streamline their systems.
An initial trial of four sites – two private hospitals, one public hospital and one aged care home – used the Zipline system to come up with a way to speed up the process while maintaining quality assurance.
“It was a genuine partnership and still is, to bring it to a level where it is now,” Mr Page said. “We think these things will continue to improve and evolve.”
A recent upgrade in the system means there are now sign-in sticker labels that emerge from the screening system, which act as a clear signal to staff that the visitor has gone through the process.
“That’s the safeguard,” Mr Page said. “You go through the screening station and you’re good to go, and you get a sticker.
“That’s the check and balance. So if you’re the general manager or if you’re on the floor in one of our age care facilities or hospitals and you see a visitor walking down the corridor without a sticker, that’s the time to step in.”
He said the digital management system also improved compliance, with the computer records managing the information more easily.
“There is an ability to extract that information out of the portal very, very easily,” he said. “Within minutes of an outbreak being known we can access that data.”
Now Calvary Care, which has a history that stretches back to the late 1800s in Australia, is seeking to roll out the digital system across its network of care sites and some hospitals.
A blended model where administration staff support the automated system in peak times means the organisation can effectively maintain its screening while reducing its costs and delays.
“It doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all solution and we don’t have to remove all screening, but it can support the process,” Mr Page said.
“If we can, at a busy hospital, have a bank of screening stations that handle the low-volume systems, that is great, you might just have a screening staff for peak periods.”
The Zipline visitor booking system won the Consumer Experience category in the 2020 Future of Ageing awards.
Sponsored by Zipline