The purple paper problem

The current patient flow at COS involves a paper chart and paper encounter form. It is on this form that the M.D. writes his or her orders for the next visit, as well as when that visit should be. On the way out, the patient hands the scheduler the piece of paper and makes their next appointment.

A piece of paper in hand is a strong reminder that the patient’s visit is not yet complete; they still have an obligation to the office.

What will happen then, when we have a totally electronic system? When there is no purple paper to prompt proper procedure?  I’m sure some patients will be sure to check out when their visit is complete, but what about those whose memory is not the sharpest? They will fail to check out.

This means that there will have to be a phone call to the patient from the scheduling office in the next few days (or that day) in order to schedule the next appointment. How do we value the tradeoff of electronic patient tracking and scheduling against the (theoretical) increase in scheduling phone calls?

Maybe we can keep the purple sheet, but just put a smiley face on it.

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