Today’s patients are very familiar with self-service check-in systems. So is it time for self-service patient check-in software at your clinic, hospital or private health practice?

More and more patients choose self-service

We’ve reached a new milestone in the adoption of self-service technologies. For the first time, studies show that a majority of people in need of a service will choose self-service kiosks instead of waiting in line to be helped. Generation Y, say hello!

Survey of self-service kiosk users

Survey of self-service kiosk users

Checkin with out assistanceHigh motivation means high adoption rates. Once a person is used to checking themselves in at the airport, checking in at the cinema, the fast food restaurant, the hotel and the health centre becomes second nature.

Case studies show more than 90% of patients are able to check themselves in without help from an assistant.

With savings in administration costs to be made, little wonder self-service kiosks are all the rage.

patient-check-in software

Investment intentions in the service sector (2014)

Prices are now affordable for all health centers

Pioneering health service providers needed six figure budgets for kiosk hardware, interface design and software integration.

But today the technology is affordable for all health services.

patient kiosk functions

Survey of patient kiosk functionality

Keep it simple

When starting out, experience shows its best to focus on doing one service well. Once you’ve made it to first base, you’ll have the experience and confidence needed to phase in additional services.

For many health centres, patient check-in is the best place to start. It’s easy to implement and easy for patients to use. This means fast adoption rates, manageable costs and a quick and visible return on investment.

Sending the check-in code to the patient

To check themselves in, patients receive an appointment code via email, SMS or mobile application. Send the code the day before the appointment. It will act as a reminder, reduce no-shows and provide a positive first experience for the patient. Patients with multiple appointments should be sent multiple codes so they can check-in for each appointment invididually.

Patient check-in flow

Patient check-in flow

If your Hospital Information System does not have an integrated check-in application, consider third party applications such as Tuotempo Patient CRM. Among the features you should look for in a Patient CRM:

  • Automatic generation and sending of patient codes by email and SMS
  • An integrated check-in application to install on your kiosk
  • Data synchronisation with your HIS so that check-in information is sent straight to your existing appointment diary.

The patient check-in software

The simplest approach is just one touch screen interface. Patients type in their code number, if it’s valid they are registered, if it’s invalid they receive an error message.

Patient check-in software

A simple appointment check-in screen

Simplicity brings great benefits:

  • The drain on human resources is reduced: patients won’t need helping with the kiosk
  • Fewer kiosks are needed: the faster the check-in, the quicker the flow through
  • Data security is not an issue: No personal information is shared

Choosing a Kiosk

Dedicated kiosk

Dedicated kiosk

Ipad stand

Ipad stand

Choose check-in hardware according to the needs of your health service. Clinics and hospitals wishing to integrate advanced services such as bill payment, queue management, wayfinding and patient registration will prefer a dedicated kiosk including a printer, large screen and dedicated keyboard (2000€ – 5000€)

For patient check-in an Ipad (350€) is sufficient. Professional Ipad stands are available in wall, desktop or free-standing versions (200€-300€). They give your kiosk a polished appearance and keep your equipment secure and powered.

Tips for a successful installation

  • Place your kiosk in a clearly visible location
  • Provide instructions in as many languages as is reasonably possible
  • Brand your kiosk to valorise the service you are providing
  • Provide an alternative for patients who prefer not to use the service

The risks?

The success rate for self-service patient check-in software implementations is high. User-satisfaction levels are typically 85% and more. Compared to other IT projects such as electronic health record, self-service patient check-in is easy to deploy and rapidly achieves high adoption rates. The initial investment is small, and the service can be deployed selectively to begin with.

More complex services such as self-service registration require a greater investment. The risk is that the complexity slows down the patient, so great care must be made to design the simplest user experience possible.

Don’t rely 100% on self-service check-in. A majority of patients will take to the service instinctively. But care must be taken to look after patients who are not at ease with technology, who do not have mobile phones or email, or who simply prefer to speak with staff. If you do want everyone to use the kiosks, then you should consider placing one member of your reception staff in your foyer to help patients who have difficulties.

Conclusion

The justification for implementing self-service check-in is two fold: improving patient service and reducing costs.

The experience of many health services is that self-service patient check-in software increases patient satisfaction and improves operational efficiency. It as an option every Patient Experience manager should consider.