Airport style check-in for patients

United Kingdom - Next year, patients arriving at a new 1,200-bed hospital opened by the new University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) will be able to register their details in self-service kiosks that are being integrated with the NHS NPfIT (National Programme for IT) Patient Administration System (PAS) by operational software provider Blue Prism. These will be the first self-administration kiosks to be installed in a NHS Trust hospital using the NPfIT PAS.

Patrick Geary
Patrick Geary

Patrick Geary, Blue Prism’s chief marketing officer, explained that the kiosks will be positioned in the new hospital’s main reception area much like those for airport check-in. ‘Patients walk up to the touchscreen and enter their meeting details, which are then checked against the Patient Administration System. The system then tells the patient where and when to report for their appointments, just like getting a boarding pass for the e-check in at the airport.’
A fully operational kiosk was tested in Selly Oak hospital for two months, with its supporting system running from the Trust’s IT data centre. So far, it has shown a 50% improvement in staff efficiency with 51% of patients registering via the kiosk.
Patient flow is twice as fast for self-registration versus the traditional reception approach, Patrick Geary pointed out. ‘The patients have been very positive with over half choosing the self service check-in and over 80% said the process was simple and more convenient. The main driver was to reduce queuing times and improve the patient’s experience.’ Patients rated the self-registration process easy to understand, with no queuing.
If a patient’s details are not correct at the kiosk, they are referred to a receptionist, who can make changes on the core PAS.
With reception areas at the new 625 million euros hospital having to handle hundreds of people hourly, the Trust really needs the kiosks. ‘The alternative would have been employing 20 or 30 receptionists in each area,’ Patrick Geary explained.
Steve Chilton, the trust’s deputy director of IT services, agreed. He and his team had soon decided that they would need self-service kiosks, which have been successfully used in other industries. A project team from Blue Prism built the kiosks and supporting systems, while the Trust’s own IT Services built the user interface and self-registration software. The new system adheres to the NPfIT security policy and IT Standards.
Blue Prism reports that there has been interest from other hospitals in the self-service kiosk concept and also the ability to integrate with the NPfIT PAS.
Report: Mark Nicholls

01.03.2009

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