Patient Kiosks are better when they are fast and easy!

The world of self service kiosks is growing at an exponential rate. Several reasons give rise to the technology including the public familiarity with touch screen technologies such a cell phones and the lowering cost of touch screen hardware. Combine these with everyone's desire to get faster service and the kiosks provide the ultimate do-it-yourself platform.

Patient Kiosks are one of the niche markets that the self service kiosks fit well. From simple medical check in systems to fully integrated kiosks, the market has grown ten fold in just the last 2 years. This also means there are many different styles and price points to choose from.

Integrated Patient Kiosks

Having a fully integrated kiosk matched to an EMR software can be very attractive on the surface. The premise is that the kiosk will divert some of the office duties to the patient for data entry, demographic verification and payments. The question arrives later as to return on investment. Will the kiosk significantly reduce overhead or make time for more patients?

If you are still thinking this is the answer to all your problems, take a minute to think just what you are asking of the patient. Someone who has never seen your software is now asked to take 10 minutes to work at a stand up touch screen and enter all their data. They don't feel good already. They find their insurance card but do they put the correct group number in? Truth is they do not know the software or medical billing like your receptionist or billing clerk does. Then your system takes a minute to verify their insurance and then asks for the co-pay. Sounds easy but are you sure they are paying the right co-pay for this visit? If any of the information is incorrect, your staff will still have to take the time to manually correct it. In the end, while it may seem fun to the patient to use a new technology, is it really making your office faster?

The cost of an integrated system can be extreme. One kiosk will not handle more than ten or twelve patients an hour so count on multiple kiosks and a large lobby. At $10,000 minimum per unit, your office can expect to spend $25,000 or more plus the maintenance of several thousand per year for updates and support. Are you really going to recover $50k with a kiosk? Are you really going to reduce by two employees?

Simple Patient Kiosks

On the positive side, there are kiosks that can improve the office without the heavy costs. Simple kiosks allow the patient to sign in and give a reason for their visit. The advantages are more than you may first think. Start with legible names and accurate time stamps. Just these two improve accuracy of your staff. Sorting the patient needs on the fly allows departments to respond faster and more direct to the patient. Keep in mind, sign in time is only seconds meaning you will only need one kiosk. The cost of a simple patient kiosk is less than $1000 including hardware and you won't have to expand your lobby.

The return on investment for a simple kiosk is also short and easy. If you can save 2 minutes per patient, you gain 2 hours per day on just 60 patients. Two hours at $15 is $30 per day labor cost. $1000 divided by 30 is just 34 business days ROI.

Try the easy one first!

Check In Systems is the developer of Medical Check In, a simple kiosk that has served hundreds of healthcare facilities since 2005. Medical Check In can be setup in minutes using an Apple iPad, Android tablet or PC touchscreen. www.medicalcheckin.com