(Brian Bujdos writes for Phoenix Kiosk, a provider of customized healthcare solutions.)
As healthcare providers continue to search for ways to contain their costs and improve efficiency, kiosks continue to be a popular choice. Due to the vast amount of applications that kiosks can accommodate, they are utilized in a number of healthcare environments. Following are several ways that healthcare kiosks can be utilized:
Patient check-in/electronic health records/meaningful use
Instead of using an old-fashioned clipboard, patients are able to provide their personal and payment information through an interactive kiosk. Insurance information is easily gathered, as well as forms such as consent to receive care, HIPAA, etc.
(This column is from Brian Bujdos, a writer with Phoenix Kiosk, a one-stop shop that provides standard and custom-projects to all size businesses.)
Patient check-in/electronic health records/meaningful use (continued) Patient check-in kiosks can also be tailored to manage Electronic Health Records (EHRs). These capabilities may enable providers to meet Meaningful Use standards. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services provides a Meaningful Use incentive program and certification process for healthcare providers to integrate Electronic Health Records by 2011.
Track, trend & manage (biometrics)
Kiosks can be built to include devices such as blood pressure cuffs, weight scales, pulse oximeters, spirometers, BMI calculators and others. The measurements obtained by the devices are made available to the provider, expediting the delivery of care. This data can also be saved to the patient’s EHR in many cases, allowing the patient to actively monitor and manage their health. Kiosks and their related technology empower patients to make informed decisions about their well being.
Some kiosks allow patients to interact with a remote doctor through electronic means (through video, or by phone) — defined as telemedicine. Telemedicine kiosks may include HD cameras and various devices that allow doctors to efficiently and accurately diagnose certain conditions. Telemedicine kiosks save time and travel costs, and patients begin their recovery earlier. Telemedicine kiosks are particularly beneficial to patients, doctors, and specialists who are located in rural areas, or in remote locations.
Many healthcare facilities utilize kiosks to efficiently manage the flow of patient and visitor traffic. Directory kiosks offer many benefits compared to standard directories, such as the ability to provide directions, as well as the opportunity for advertising and sponsored messaging.
Many healthcare facilities are faced with the challenge of controlling the flow of vendors and pharmaceutical representatives. The administrative effort that’s involved can be costly, and check-in kiosks can help by streamlining the processing of vendors and reps. The kiosks can be equipped to print badges and other information, and they provide an effective way to track vendor traffic.
Additional healthcare kiosk applications include:
• Human Resources – Companies in the healthcare industry can provide all employees with access to commonly used forms, benefit and insurance information, important company communications, and more.
• Virtual Receptionist – Healthcare companies can save administrative costs and provide visitors with access to a company/phone directory through a virtual receptionist kiosk.
• Promote Health & Wellness Initiatives – The display monitors on healthcare kiosks provide an excellent outlet for many types of messaging, including health & wellness programs, disease prevention, sponsored health coupons, additional branding and more.
In the current economic climate, healthcare companies and facilities constantly explore their cost-saving options. Patients and vendors, on the other hand, continue to realize the efficiencies of kiosks, as well as their ease of use. These two trends are likely to continue, and therefore, it seems fair to expect that kiosks will continue to transform the healthcare experience in a variety of settings.