box10.gif (1299 bytes)







Patient flow

Hotel Dieu Hospital launches touch-screen kiosks

KINGSTON, Ont. – Easy-to-use electronic kiosks are now part of the everyday patient care experience at Hotel Dieu Hospital, speeding up the registration process across the hospital’s specialized outpatient clinics.

The 18 standalone kiosks each feature a 17-inch LCD monitor angled slightly to protect confidentiality and programmed to display large print. Patients arriving for an OHIP-covered clinic visit can register in seconds: they just swipe their health card and then answer a series of simple YES/NO questions.

If the answers are uniformly YES, the person is invited to take a seat while an electronic message alerts the registration clerk to activate the visit. If a NO is entered at any point, the person is directed to the clerk for further assistance. Down the line, patients will also have access to a hotline that will link them directly with Central Registration if they experience problems with the swipe system.

In addition, patients are asked to indicate whether they have a new or worsening cough, questions designed to screen for the H1N1 flu virus. According to their response, they could be instructed to use nearby hand sanitizer, don a surgical mask and report their symptoms to the nurse.

“These new kiosks cut down the time patients have to stand in line waiting for a clerk, especially good news if you’re elderly or not feeling well,” says Barb Nayler, director of patient records and registration at Hotel Dieu and Kingston General Hospital. “Patients can also be confident we know they’re here for their appointment. Staff can activate visits faster and have more time to help anyone with special registration needs.”

Hotel Dieu is launching the kiosks hospital-wide after successfully piloting the units in three of the hospital’s busiest outpatient clinics. About 75 to 80 percent of patients used the pilot kiosks on a regular basis, says Nayler.

“That kind of response bodes well for expanding the kiosks into other clinic areas,” she says, “When you consider that we book, on average, up to 1,000 clinic visits each day, then it only makes sense to speed up the registration process and cut down on the queues. That has benefits for patient and staff alike.”

As the kiosks “go live” at Hotel Dieu, registration staff will be on hand to help orient patients to the world of electronic check-in, says Nayler. She is confident the kiosks will do a brisk business.

“Touch-screen technology is a fact of life in our society, so people are pretty comfortable with it,” she says. “I think they’ll appreciate having it help them move through our health care system a little faster.”

Hotel Dieu Hospital is the ambulatory care teaching hospital for Kingston and Southeastern Ontario, providing expert care to more than 500,000 people in the region. Our specialized services include outpatient pediatrics, ophthalmology, diabetes education, breast assessment, day surgery, urgent care and mental health programs. Affiliated with Queen’s University, we are partners within Kingston’s university hospitals, delivering quality health care, leading innovative research and training the health care professionals of tomorrow.

Posted October 8, 2009