Connections for Success

 

12.23.13

Patient Kiosks May be the Wave of the Future
Danielle M. Gilbert

In the future, patients may never need to check in with a receptionist to begin a physician visit.  Instead, they will go to a computer station or pick up a tablet and check in electronically to verify their personal information, determine insurance eligibility and identify medication or allergy changes.  A kiosk can help streamline the front office, enhance clinical accuracy and reduce billing errors and denied claims when connected to Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and practice management systems.

In a 2012 survey by the consulting firm Accenture, 90% of the 1,100 patients questioned said that they wanted to embrace eHealth self-service options like scheduling visits and refilling prescriptions.  Similarly, a 2009 NCR U.S. Consumer Research white paper revealed that patients want self-service to manage health care interactions.  This paper cited a survey that NCR commissioned in which 37% of health care consumers said that they were “extremely” or “very” interested in using a self-service kiosk to check in for medical visits more quickly.  In addition, 43% said that they had chosen one medical provider over another because he or she offered some form of self-service.

Health kiosks can be used to deliver a wide range of personal health services as they enable patients to carry out administrative tasks themselves and have the functionality to dispense printed information or medications.  While many front-desks tasks can be handled by a full-function kiosk, it will not completely eliminate the need for staff.  Patients will still need to be assisted by personnel for some matters, while other patients will be unable or unwilling to use a kiosk at all.

What a Kiosk Can Offer

In addition to being integrated with the practice’s scheduling, registration and billing systems, a kiosk can offer the following:

  • Appointment viewing and scheduling;
  • Prescription refills;
  • Online statements and electronic payments;
  • Access to personal health records;
  • Access to educational materials and health care websites;
  • Consumer satisfaction surveys;
  • Information in multiple languages; and
  • The ability to electronically read and sign general consent, consumer rights and HIPAA privacy notices and Medicare utilization forms.

When installing patient kiosks in a practice setting there are a few legal concerns.  Kiosks must comply with HIPAA rules and incorporate safeguards that track who can enter and access data.  Thefts of identity, including medical and credit card information, are a serious threat in the health care industry.  There also are requirements with the American with Disabilities Act that must be observed. Other desirable features include support for branding or logos, printing capability for receipts and medical information and magnetic stripe and barcodes scanning for payments and patient authentication.  Early adoption of patient-friendly kiosk technology may attract both new patients and payers in a competitive marketplace for physician services.

If you have additional questions or would like to examine whether a patient kiosk is right for your practice, contact Danielle Gilbert at dgilbert@orba.com or 312.670.7444.

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