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Patient self-service kiosks are being used with growing frequency in hospital ambulatory settings and emergency departments. These interactive computer stations, which come in a variety of designs, perform self-service tasks such as patient check-in, collection of copayments, and wayfinding. In a hospital waiting area, they can speed the process for patients and take some of the workload from registration personnel, who are then freed up to help patients with more complicated registration or payment needs.
Compared to other technologies such as electronic medical records or clinical systems, patient kiosks are relatively easy to implement, require a small investment, and can be deployed selectively to the departments that are likely to benefit from their use. Kiosks can be freestanding (like those at the airport), wall-mounted (like bank ATMs), placed on a countertop, or they can be mobile (like a tablet PC). In addition to the relatively simple functions of check-in and copayments, kiosks can be designed to facilitate language translation, the signing of patient consent forms, the gathering of demographic and clinical information for triage, and the administration of satisfaction questionnaires.
The experiences of leading hospitals have shown that kiosks can increase patient satisfaction by reducing waiting times and offering greater convenience and privacy. Many organizations also achieve significant operational benefits, including increased patient throughput and improved accuracy of demographic data in patient records.
Although less than 10% of health delivery organizations have implemented patient kiosks, the experiences of early adopters show that kiosks can be effective tools for improving service and efficiency and for meeting rising consumer expectations.
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