New check-in procedure for appointments helps screen for disease

Starting today, people will answer a new question when they arrive at Carle for their appointments.

Under new Centers from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, each patient checking in will be asked if he or she has traveled outside of the United States or to Florida in the past 21 days.

"Zika, which is now present in South Florida, threatens more travelers today than Ebola. So, per CDC recommendations, Carle is updating its patient check-in to screen for travel and symptoms when patients come in," said Robert Healy, MD, chief medical quality officer.  

If a person indicates he or she has traveled, the individual will be asked to list specific symptoms. Those who meet criteria may be moved to a private room or given a mask to wear. The information will go into the patient's record and will alert the provider to help make sure the patient gets appropriate care.

"This new procedure is not just to check for Zika and Ebola; we can change the question depending on disease threats, including adding new travel-related diseases that aren't even on our radar right now," said Dr. Healy. “It will also help to identify potential infectious outbreaks.”

People checking in at Carle’s kiosks will be asked their travel history, too. 

The change reflects the fact that more people in the area are mobile.

"People in east central Illinois are a day's plane ride to anyplace in the world. We must be vigilant to keep our patients safe and help prevent the spread of overseas disease at home," Healy said.