Earlier this year, our check-in kiosks surpassed 1 million patient check-ins across Australia. This is equivalent to over 6,000 check-ins per day. As utilisation of our kiosks continues to rise we thought we would dig into 5 of the biggest benefits of check-in kiosks for medical centres that go beyond improving patient flow and reducing clinical costs.
1. Free up reception staff time
The biggest benefit of a check-in kiosk, particularly for smaller clinics, is the ability to reduce the workload on reception staff without the need to take on additional receptionists. Of course, a check-in kiosk doesn’t circumvent the entire in-person check-in process. Many clinics pride themselves on being able to personally greet their patients. And so they should — this is how majority of patients still prefer to check-in — but what a check-in kiosk does do is allow a certain portion of patients to serve themselves.
How many patients exactly? Well, according to a 2017 survey, 1 in 3 patients prefer to self check-in. Imagine how much time your staff would save if 1 in 3 of your patients opted to use a self-service kiosk — not because they had to, but because they chose to.
If this sounds far fetched then imagine even 1 in 10. This would save your clinic hundreds of hours having to manually check-in patients, while actually improving the patient experience. How? Because you would be allowing patients to choose how they want to check-in.
Check-in kiosks also save staff time by reducing the amount of time staff spend manually updating patient details. This is because kiosks, like HotDoc’s Check-In Kiosk, automatically prompt patients to confirm or update their personal information. This might not sound like a lot of saved hours, but over months and years it’s an inordinate amount. For instance,
Across over 1 million check-ins on HotDoc Kiosks, patients have updated their personal details more than 63,000 times. This is equivalent to hundreds of staff hours saved.
2. More up-to-date patient data
Automatically prompting patients to confirm or update their personal information not only saves reception staff time but it also keeps patient data more up-to-date. The fact is, as much as we would like to think receptionists ask each and every patient who checks in whether their personal information is correct, we all know the front desk gets hectic. To expect staff to remember (and have the time) to check that a patient’s personal information is correct each and every time is simply unrealistic. Perhaps it is a standard to strive for, but we all know that when the rush is on it is an unfair expectation.
Self check-in removes the need for staff to have to do these checks with those who check themselves in. This means they can not only rest assured that every patient using a check-in kiosk is confirming the accuracy of their personal information, but it also frees staff up so they can be more thorough with the patients they are checking in in-person.
3. Less data errors
Following on from the above point, encouraging patients to update their own personal information also improves the quality of patient data by reducing the chances of misspelled names and numbers being added to the patient file.
Sure, medical receptionists read names and numbers back to patients to do their best to ensure the details are not misspelled, but this is hardly infallible. Mistakes happen and, the fact is, the more hands information passes through the greater the chances of mistakes occurring. And when mistakes happen in the medical sector it can be disastrous. Even one wrong number in a phone number can be detrimental if you need to contact a patient in an emergency.
4. Educate patients on additional services
Self check-in kiosks, like HotDoc’s Check-In Kiosk, also provide you with a great way to educate patients on additional services available at your clinic. These non-intrusive messages appear only after the patient has successfully completed check-in and can be tailored to a patient’s age and gender.
For instance, if a patient is female and between 25-74 years old, a message can be set to ask if they are due for a cervical screening test and want to learn more. Or, if a patient is over 64 years old, a message can be set to ask if they are worried about having a fall and would like to learn more about fall prevention.
Patients who view these messages can choose to find out more by clicking a button that directs them to the front desk or they can simply ignore the message.
We have over 20 campaigns to choose from, which include promotions for skin checks, flu clinics, bowel cancer screenings, physiotherapists, psychologists, travel immunisations, dieticians, asthma checks, diabetes risk checks etc.
5. Improved patient experience
Another, sometimes overlooked, benefit to self check-in kiosks is improving the patient experience. How? By giving patients choice. Like we mentioned at the beginning of this article, having a check-in kiosk in your medical centre doesn’t mean patients can’t go to the reception desk to check-in. It simply gives patients the choice to skip the line when they choose.
For the 1 in 3 Australians who prefer self check-in this can vastly improve their first impression of a clinic. Of course, this is not typically going to be your senior patients. Seniors tend to want a personal greeting. But think about those younger patients you have who are often face down looking at their phones in the waiting room.
Based on our survey results*, 42% of those under 35 years old prefer to check-in digitally. And these numbers are only going up as we all get more familiar with self check-in at airports, grocery stores, even hospitals.
Sure, self check-in is not for everyone. Perhaps, it will never be for everyone. But when was a product or service ever for everyone? The bottom line is that having a check-in kiosk doesn’t diminish the patient experience. All it does is allow patients to be served the way they want to be served.
To find out more about the difference a HotDoc Check-In Kiosk can make to your medical centre, call 1300 468 362 or email [email protected].
*HotDoc Patient Survey, 2017 (1,140 patients surveyed)