A previsit questionnaire helped decrease the number of electronic inbox messages associated with dermatology patient video visits, according to study findings published in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Researchers conducted a study to reduce the average number of weekly inbox messages for patient video visits by 100 messages from a baseline of 1285 messages. The primary intervention was a digital previsit patient questionnaire that was administered automatically to all patients who had a scheduled video visit.
The questionnaire was incorporated into the electronic check-in process with automated reminders at 24 and 3 hours prior to a scheduled video visit beginning in February 2022. Participants were prompted to select a reason for their appointment (ie, spot or growth of concern, facial rash or acne, rash on the body, hair loss, nail problem, darkening or lightening of the skin, or other). They were then asked to submit 3 photos (a close-up, one 12 to 18 inches away, and one 3 feet away) if they had checked “yes” to any of the concerns. The researchers then tracked the number of inbox messages before and after the previsit questionnaire was initiated.
A total of 4193 previsit questionnaires were administered, of which 40.1% (n=1680) were completed. Among the completed questionnaires, 2% were completed in the clinic (n=40), and 98% (n=1640) were completed within 24 hours before the scheduled video visit. Weekly messages decreased by an average of 11.6%, from 1285 to 1136 in 14 weeks. This decrease resulted in an estimated 15 minutes saved per week per clinical team who previously had to manually prompt patients to provide clinical photos, 525 minutes saved per week for the dermatology clinic, and 437.5 hours saved per year.
Limitations of the study include the inability to assess message subtype or type of associated visit to better understand the types of messages that were affected by the intervention.
“Our results provide a potential technology solution to mitigate a portion of electronic health record burden,” the study authors conclude. “While there are many facets to the provider electronic inbox burden, this project highlights the role that automation can play in reducing unnecessary clutter. Our intervention also highlights ongoing challenges to adapting technological solutions to clinical needs.”
Gomez J, Mazzoleni M, Calugar A, Pol-Rodriguez M, Ko JM, Bailey EE. Optimizing virtual visits and reducing inbox messages using a pre-visit questionnaire: a quality improvement project. J Am Acad Dermatol. Published online January 30, 2023. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2022.12.045