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Patient Check-In Technologies Cut Cost, Wait Times

Anna Webster, for HealthLeaders Media, February 28, 2011
Pros and cons

Patient check-in technologies such as MediKiosk require an upfront cost for installation. But Slawin says now that his practice has made the investment, Vanguard can open new offices with amplified savings in labor costs---ranked by healthcare executives as the No. 2 cost driver for healthcare organizations according to the 2011 HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey. The cost of the technology is offset reduced number of clerical staff needed to maintain new office branch.

"On the employee side it is less difficult, when I add more doctors I don't have to add more employees," Slawin says.

However, the process of adopting an electronic check-in process does not come with an end date, he adds. Two potential roadblocks include:

1. Interface synergy. "Adopting the system was difficult at first, the main kinks were trying connect check-in software with the practice management software…even with standard interfaces it requires someone to organize all these teams," Slawin says. Vanguard has a project manager in charge of implementing interfaces and keeping healthcare information secure.

2. ROI outcomes. Check-in technology may be beneficial and reduce costs for larger practices, but smaller practices may have more difficulties, Slawin warns.

"Since we're a growing group practice and we're dependent on IT, there were enough strategic benefits to adoption. Once you have two-five physicians I think it warrants it within a practice," he says. "Solo practitioners would not be likely to succeed because it's expensive and we had to build a lot of [the interfaces] ourselves. Most physicians would not have time because they are overworked and overwhelmed."

For practices looking to adopt a program like MediKiosk to monitor the patient check-in process, Slawin recommends the following three strategies:

  1. Adopting electronic health records
  2. Selecting a kiosk or web portal
  3. Hiring an information technology point person to design the interface to your practice's needs

 


Anna Webster is Online Content Coordinator at HealthLeaders Media. She can be reached at awebster@hcpro.com.

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1 comments on "Patient Check-In Technologies Cut Cost, Wait Times"


Patrick Pichette (2/28/2011 at 1:41 PM)
Great post Anna! I am glad that you highlighted the fact that patient self-service technologies can create measurable efficiencies for hospitals, as is evident with the Vanguard story. We have a similar success story in Canada. Southlake, a hospital near Toronto, was able to redistribute 12 FTEs from their registration area to other sections of the hospital, and saved $400K in annual operations costs with a process redesign and by using patient online registration and check-in kiosk. Case study can be found here: http://bit.ly/egwb9b