Kingston Health Sciences Centre launches tool to expedite COVID screening for outpatients

News / General
By Gary Buffett

Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) has launched a tool that will give patients coming for outpatient services the option to complete their COVID screening online immediately prior to arriving for their scheduled appointment.

The mobile screening tool, available in English and French, only takes a few minutes to complete and patients will receive an email with confirmation to bring with them, along with their appointment slip, to the hospital in printed form or on their mobile device. “These are the very same questions we would ask in person,” said project lead Danielle Corbin.  “Just like in-person visits, we rely on people to be honest in order to help keep our patients and staff safe.

“The mobile screen is only valid for four hours so it is important to complete the screening no more than four hours before you arrive at hospital or you will need to re-do the mobile screening or be screened in person by a screener when you arrive. The four-hour window has been established to ensure that the information about symptoms is accurate and to allow enough time for someone driving from out of town to complete this from home before they depart.”

Screening staff will scan the code embedded in the email confirmation at entry and the patient will be able to go directly to their scheduled appointment. “With the exception of caregivers for children, this screening tool is for patients only and does not give family members or caregivers an option to pre-screen because we must continue to restrict family presence for outpatients at KHSC in order to maintain physical distancing,” said Deanna Abbott-McNeil, Director of Ambulatory Care Services at KHSC.

“The mobile screening tool is one more way that KHSC is ensuring patient and staff safety when coming to hospital for appointments,” said Abbott-McNeil.  “As full partners in innovation, quality improvement, and design initiatives, patient advisors provided input into the development of the mobile screening tool to ensure it is clear and easy to use for patients.”

In addition to the new screening tool, a number of other enhanced protocols remain in place at KHSC to ensure patient and staff safety including limiting family presence in the hospitals, reducing in-person outpatient volumes in order to ensure physical distancing, universal masking for all staff and patients, increased cleaning and sanitizing, and physical distancing in waiting rooms and lobbies.

“We recognize that some of these changes at KHSC may make scheduled care feel quite different for patients and their loved ones,” said Abbott-McNeil. “If you have an appointment booked, it means that your care team has decided it is important to see you in person instead of postponing or scheduling a virtual appointment.  Any patient whose appointment or procedure is being changed or delivered differently than usual will receive direct communication from their doctor or healthcare team. As always, if you have concerns, including worsening symptoms, please reach out to your care team directly.”

Complete the screen in English

Complete the screen in French