What's the first thing you want patients do when they walk into your office? This isn't a multiple choice question because there really is only one answer: You want them to go to the receptionist window and sign in, right? How else are you supposed to know they've arrived? Not to mention, you may have a lot of information to collect from them if they're new patients or haven't been in recently for a visit.
Patient check-in is the starting point for every exam you perform. It is the exact moment your patient interaction begins. Making sure it goes right can mean the difference between staying on schedule and falling behind before you even begin. It's also your opportunity to make a good first impression on many patients. You could show them a scribbled-on sign-in clipboard tied to your counter, or you could show them this:
Check-in kiosks (Source: Olea)
Patient registration kiosks are becoming more and more popular as a replacement for handwritten sign-in sheets, but that's not all they do. In this buyer's guide, we'll go over what exactly these check-in kiosks are and what they can do for you. Here's what we'll cover:
Patient registration kiosks are made up of two major components: hardware and software.
The hardware comes in the form of interactive, self-service terminals where patients can take care of specific tasks such as checking in, completing insurance forms and providing medical history information. They can be freestanding, wall-mounted or countertop modules as well as tablets, or other mobile devices.
These terminals are often customized to accommodate specific needs. For example, you could opt for keypads or touchscreens, card scanners or chip readers or signature or fingerprint pads, all depending on what kind of information you want to collect during your check-in process.
The software serves to power these physical devices by integrating information from other sources, such as electronic medical records (EMR), to streamline the check-in process. Like hardware, kiosk software can be tailored to meet a wide variety of needs, including scheduling, billing, wayfinding and data gathering. Check-in kiosks can help you reduce, organize and simplify record keeping.
It's important to note that the vendor landscape for patient check-in kiosks is varied: some exclusively provide hardware, others are focused on software and there are those that offer both hardware and software in a single integrated unit. Those exclusive vendors may offer integrations for their counterparts, or they may not. Your best bet will be to rely on vendor representatives to help inform your research on combining hardware and software. Still, this tends to make price calculations a little more complex. We'll get into that a little later, but first, let's talk about what functions to look for in your check-in kiosks.
When considering all of the features available to you in kiosk hardware or software, it's important to remember that most vendors allow you to customize your equipment according to your needs. It's a great way to make sure you're getting exactly what you want without paying extra for features you have no use for. That said, here are some of the most widely-adopted functions of patient check-in kiosks:
|Check-in||Enables patients to enter their names to alert you of their presence. These systems also automatically queue patients according to scheduled appointments and times of arrival to help manage your time.|
|Records||Provides patients with access to medical history forms so they can either fill them out for the first time or update them. Some kiosks can also link to your existing EMR software to pull records when patients check in and have them ready to access.|
|Photos||Take patient headshots for more robust identification and file keeping.|
|Reason for visit confirmation||Patients can write in their reason for visiting or select it from a preset, often customized list.|
|Billing||Card or chip readers can accept payments from patients.|
|Printing||Includes both standard size or receipt printers. Most commonly paired with kiosks that include billing functionality.|
|Image scanning||Allows patients to scan any documents you want to keep on file, such as identification or insurance information.|
|Wayfinding||Offers a map of your facilities to help patients get their bearings.|
|Patient surveys||Provides patient satisfaction surveys or other questionnaires.|
|Check-out||Manages appointment wrap-up tasks, such as payments and next appointment scheduling, as well.|
Did you know that doctors spend more than two-thirds of their time on paperwork? Trouble with physical files and medical records is the number one reason EMRs are becoming not just the norm, but the requirement. It stands to reason, then, that automating your information collection processes will make record keeping all the more reliable. That's certainly not the only benefit, though. Check-in kiosks provide the following advantages:
These are some of the general advantages of check-in kiosks, but your practice may enjoy additional benefits depending on the specific setup you opt to implement. Before you start your research, make a list of the bottlenecks or issues you'd like to address within your own waiting room, and then look for kiosk solutions that fix those problems.
Now that we've talked about all the great things check-in kiosks can do for you, let's address the cost of this handy tech. You already know that hardware and software are often sold by separate vendors, but it's useful to have a price range in mind for both.
Hardware: Depending on the model you choose and the different components you opt to include, you might spend anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 on a single, software-agnostic unit.
Software: It's difficult to pin down a range for software due to the sheer number of options available for customization. Additionally, some vendors offer perpetual license software that requires a one-time payment, while others house their software on the cloud and require monthly or yearly payments. For the former, you may be looking at anywhere from $1,000 for very basic software to $100,000 for all the bells and whistles. Subscription software runs anywhere from $50 to $500 a month, depending on factors such as the number of kiosk locations, software tier and features you select.
As you can probably tell from those price ranges, your budget will be defined by your practice's particular needs. While that might not seem ideal, the bright side is you have much more control over how much you spend, and you can enjoy the freedom to cherry-pick which features you want to use and pay for on your own terms.
If you're interested speaking to someone with experience in medical software, you can start your research with a 15-minute consultation with our advisors by calling (844) 687-6771. After answering a few questions about your practice, our team will provide a tailored list of vendors that meet your requirements.
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