Virtual Clipboard Initiative aims to ease check-in pain

A pilot project is under way to automate the patient intake process to make it more efficient and to improve patient satisfaction, with the initial design document just released.

The Virtual Clipboard Initiative is a collaboration among the Sullivan Institute for Healthcare Innovation, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). It was set up to to define a set of industry standards for exchanging and securing healthcare information within mobile applications used by patients and their advocates.

The first phase is to develop a blueprint for a "smart" mobile solution that will allow the provider's "clipboard" of patient information to be effectively disseminated electronically. This phase will cover demographic information and benefit coverage. A second phase will focus on medications and allergies.

The design envisions the patient having set up an account with the intake information, with the ability to send it to the provider facility before even leaving home.

More than 40 representatives from major health plans, providers, health IT vendors and government entities have joined the project, according to an announcement

So far, workgroups have been formed focusing on pilot design and adoption; the technical solution; privacy and security; and measuring success.

Participants foresee an ongoing governance structure for the evolution of standards and integration of technologies for patient-based mobile healthcare applications. A standards roadmap is expected to be published by the end of the year.

A survey published last year found the healthcare industry lagging behind retail and business services in mobile strategy and application development due to several issues, from regulatory to data security worries.

As for streamlining the check-in process, San Diego-based Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group has turned to self-service kiosks, while Kaiser Permanente is digitizing membership cards and creating express check-ins.

To learn more:
- here's the design document (.pdf)
- read the announcement